2 fans dressed up as Obama in a noose for the Wisconsin football game. They were allowed to stay.

School officers criticized the costume but said it was “free speech.”

Two fans at Saturday night’s University of Wisconsin football game put on an outfit featuring President Obama in a noose, with Donald Trump holding the rope.

One of them sported an Obama mask and had a noose around their neck. They also had a Hillary Clinton mask. The other person wore a Trump mask and held the noose to give the manifestation Trump was hanging either Obama or Clinton.

University officials became aware of the costume and asked the pair to get rid of the distasteful parts of it

But both of them weren’t kicked out of the game. As university officials constantly made clear on Twitter, they were allowed to stay since officials viewed the costume as “free speech.”

The University of Wisconsin afterward released a statement disapproving the costume as “counter to the values of the University and athletic department,” but reiterating that it constituted “an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech.”

Tinker v. Des Moines established that in order to justify the suppression of speech, a public school must be able to show that the speech in question would “materially and substantially interfere” with the learning environment. “Hate speech” — speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits, as the American Bar Association puts it — isn’t addressed by the Constitution, but is usually understood to be protected speech.

 

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