Wisconsin revises stadium policy after offensive costume

Wisconsin Badgers helmet

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The University of Wisconsin will prohibit nooses and ropes from home athletic events as part of revised standards being put in place after a fan wore an offensive costume to a football game.

The school said Wednesday in a statement that nooses and ropes will be treated as weapons that “constitute a threat to safety.”

The fan behavior, carry-in and ticket policies were revised to read, in part, that “Any person who engages in violent, threatening, abusive or otherwise disorderly conduct which tends to provoke a disturbance or incite violence will be ejected from our events.”

A fan wore what appeared to be a President Barack Obama mask with a noose around its neck to the Badgers’ game on Oct. 29 against Nebraska. Security officers asked the man to remove the noose in the first but a photo taken later shows him wearing the noose again.

The changes will go into effect starting this weekend, including the seventh-ranked Badgers’ game on Saturday against Illinois. The revisions were made after meetings between athletic department staff and community leaders.

“What happened at Camp Randall two weeks ago goes against everything we stand for,” athletic director Barry Alvarez said. “I am very pleased that we all were able to work together to improve our policies. … It is great to be able to talk, and even more satisfying that we took action.”

University officials had defended security staff’s decision not to throw the man out given freedom of speech concerns.

The school was criticized by student leaders who called the costume hate speech. Nigel Hayes, an outspoken forward on the basketball team, posted a statement on Twitter that asked officials at Wisconsin and universities across the country to address issues of how minority students are treated.

Wisconsin’s revised policy will stress that the athletic department “promotes a welcoming atmosphere in its venues and that disrespectful conduct toward others may lead to ejection from the venue. Racist and other offensive behavior is not appropriate for our venues.”

Said Chancellor Rebecca Blank: “This policy change is an important step in ensuring that our sporting events are free from offensive conduct that has the potential to create a disturbance.”

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Full statement from the Wisconsin athletic department: http://www.uwbadgers.com/news/2016/11/9/general-uw-athletics-amends-venue-policies.aspx

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