At the University of Wisconsin weekend football game against Nebraska, a fan wore a President Barack Obama mask and a noose around his neck.
The fan took off the noose when asked by Camp Randall Stadium staff.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank says that once the noose was removed, the rest of the costume fell within the stadium’s costume policies.
Blank and athletic director Barry Alvare have issued this statement on the incident:
To the Badger community,
What we saw Saturday night at Camp Randall was despicable and caused an immense amount of pain throughout our community. And it should have, as a noose is a symbol of one of the vilest forms of racial hatred and intimidation in our country’s history.
As many have noted, thousands of African-Americans were lynched in the United States from 1882-1968. We can’t ignore the significance of this history and we can’t underestimate the symbolism of a noose to all those who see that image today.
A noose displayed in this fashion has no place on campus. Together, the Athletics Department and the University’s Office of Legal Affairs are initiating a review of stadium policies with the goal of ensuring that symbols of this type are not displayed in our stadium again.
We have work to do at UW-Madison on campus climate issues, and an incident like this only deepens the divides across campus. Both the University administration and Athletics Department are committed to doing this hard work, while being acutely aware that we are a long way from where we want to be.
To those who have spoken out about this, we hear you and we thank you for your feedback and concern. Together, we will continue to strive to make UW-Madison a place where all Badgers can thrive.
Rebecca Blank, Chancellor
Barry Alvarez, Athletic Director
A University of Wisconsin-Madison student already accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment this month has been charged with sexually assaulting four other women since early 2015.
Alec Cook, 20, of Edina, Minnesota, faces seven counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of strangulation, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.
The complaint prosecutors filed Thursday accuses Cook of assaults dating back to March 2015. Prosecutors said one of the women was assaulted multiple times during a ballroom dancing class she was attending with Cook this past spring. Cook also is accused of assaulting a woman he met at a party in March 2015; a woman he met in a human sexuality class in February; and a woman he met during a psychology class experiment in August.
Cook was charged last week with assaulting a woman in his apartment the night of Oct. 12 after the two studied together.
Media apeports of those charges have driven dozens of women to report to police their encounters with Cook.
Officers searching Cook’s apartment found a black book listing women he’d met and documenting his “sexual desires” and including the word “kill” without explanation, authorities said.
Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner Brian Asmus set Cook’s bail at $200,000 cash during a brief hearing. Cook made no statement at the hearing.
His attorneys, Jessa Nicholson and Chris Van Wagner, told reporters after the proceeding that they believe the ballroom assaults never happened. The rest of the encounters, they claimed, were consensual.
Van Wagner showed reporters a page from Cook’s book with the word “Killed?” written at the top and said it’s unclear what it means.
He said Cook has been vilified on social media but the prosecution’s case is “just dust.” Women are coming forward because they’ve seen social media postings about Cook and have become frightened, he said.
“He’s been painted as the face of evil,” Van Wagner said. “That’s wrong.”
According to the complaint, the accuser from the Oct. 12 incident says she went to his apartment after studying with him at a campus library. She said he assaulted her for 2 1/2 hours, maintaining what she described as a “death grip” on her arm or body.
Another woman came forward two days after charges were filed in that case. She said she met Cook at her friend’s birthday party in March 2015. Two weeks later she visited his apartment, where he began kissing her forcefully, then sexually assaulted her.
The same day that Cook was charged with the Oct. 12 assault, two other women reported being assaulted by him.
One woman told police she was in a ballroom dance class with Cook during the spring 2016 semester. She accused him of repeatedly touching her while they were dancing despite her telling him to stop. The touching occurred 15 to 20 times over the semester, she said.
The class instructor told investigators she got an email from the woman saying she was uncomfortable with how Cook touched her. The instructor responded by speaking to the class about appropriate contact during dances. Another woman told police that she met Cook during a human sexuality class and began dating him in January, the complaint said. She said he assaulted her at his apartment in February.
Another woman told police that she met Cook during a psychology class experiment. They had consensual sex at his apartment in August, the woman said, during which he tried to choke her. After taking a break to smoke marijuana, Cook tried to have sex with her again, this time slapping her and leaving bruises.
Two University of Wisconsin-Madison students were hospitalized with meningococcal disease this week, with one case being identified as serogroup B. Both students are currently recovering.
Additional details are not being disclosed out of respect for the medical privacy of the students and their families.
University Health Services is coordinating with officials from the state and Public Health Madison & Dane County and will continue to monitor the situation.
UHS has reached out to individuals who have been in close contact with the patients.
“We are still investigating whether these cases are related. Depending on that determination, a vaccine recommendation from UHS may be forthcoming,” said Dr. William Kinsey, director of medical services at UHS. “We are taking this situation seriously and responding based on guidance from public health officials. We will share more information as it is made available.”
Meningococcal disease most often causes meningitis, an inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It’s very rare, often comes on suddenly, and can progress rapidly.
Symptoms include high fever (greater than 101 degrees F), accompanied by severe headache, neck stiffness and confusion.
Vomiting or rashes may also occur.
Anyone with these symptoms should contact a health care provider or go to an emergency room immediately.
Meningococcal disease is typically treated with antibiotics.
Most students are immunized against serogroup ACYW but not against serogroup B. Serogroup B vaccine has only recently become available.
Meningococcal bacteria are spread through close contact with an infected person’s oral or nasal secretions, such as by sharing cups.
The UHS website has additional information about meningococcal disease. Additional updates will be shared as they are available next week.
Questions from the campus community can be directed to .
Students who are concerned or have questions about their health or are in need of counseling or support are encouraged to contact UHS at 608-265-5600. For students experiencing symptoms over the weekend, the UHS nurse line is available at 608-265-5600, option 1.
The Wisconsin Immunization Registry contains records for children and adults who were vaccinated in the state.