On October 29, at the UW-Nebraska football game, a UW fan wore a costume of President Barack Obama with a noose around his neck that symbolized the act of lynching.
Lynching was a terrible act of torture and murder used on African Americans in the Jim Crow South. Lynching is an inhumane act that should remain a part of the history books as some of America’s darkest hours.
The fact that someone, today, would think that this is a funny matter and do this at the expense of African Americans, the University of Wisconsin and its fans, is despicable.
The Chancellor and the University of Wisconsin have been making genuine efforts to change the campus culture. For a fan to do this in the name of “freedom of speech” flies in the face of the work that the university is doing to improve the campus climate.
What an awful way to mar a great victory. Many fans, myself included, will now remember this football game not as the one where we beat the undefeated Cornhuskers, but as the game where a “UW fan” mocked one of the most inhumane acts ever perpetrated upon a people.
As a usually proud alumni of the University of Wisconsin, and one who enjoys Badger football, I and many of my friends, family, and colleagues, are embarrassed and offended.
Certainly, there are freedom of speech rights, but to prompt the concept of lynching in the 21st Century is repulsive. I urge the university, including the athletics department, to take a strong stand against this type of “display” and to redouble their efforts to create a diverse, inclusive, welcoming climate on campus and in the community in which they operate.