Bias team sought Halloween crackdown over '3 Blind Mice' costumes

A member of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Bias Incident Team accused three students of mocking people with disabilities for donning “three blind mice” Halloween costumes.

The Bias Incident Team (BIT) records obtained by Heat Street suggest that the offense was made after the students posted pictures of themselves wearing the costumes on Facebook.

A member of the BIT reported the incident saying she was concerned “about their choice as it makes fun of a disability,” the meeting minutes revealed.

The students, who were also university staffers, were reprimanded for wearing the “offensive” costumes and informed that “this incident is being considered a personnel issue in Residence Life.”

[RELATED: Oregon releases list of bias incidents]

After the incident, the photos of the students wearing the “three blind mice” costumes were removed from social media outlets, though it remains unclear whether the removal of the photos was a direct result of the team’s intervention.

According to the BIT’s meeting minutes, administrators had on two previous occasions discussed the need for campus intervention with regard to Halloween costumes, stating that the administration should “be proactive next year before Halloween about choosing an appropriate Halloween costume.”

[RELATED: Wesleyan provides checklist to help students avoid ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes]

During the meeting, it was also suggested that “we may do an ‘inappropriate costumes’ de-briefing such as a news media article or overview.”

[RELATED: Colby College logs absurd bias incidents on website]

UW-Platteville Director of Communications Paul Erickson, however, told Campus Reform that the incident was never officially reported and was taken out of context, though he did acknowledge that the topic was discussed by BIT members during one of their meetings.

According to Erickson, the three students wore these costumes to a residence hall staff meeting, where they were confronted by a staff member who serves on the BIT, who asked, “don’t you think [your costumes] could be offensive?”

Following the altercation, Erickson maintained that the students concluded that their costumes were, in fact, offensive and removed their Facebook post.

[RELATED: Rapid growth of Bias Response Teams generates backlash]

“It was never a report made by the response team,” Erickson explained. “It was just a mention about something that happened at a residence staff meeting, not a report.”

At the BIT meeting, the members discussed options for alternatives to “offensive” costumes, but according to Erickson, nothing was decided, only briefly mentioned because the university currently does not have a policy that restricts offensive Halloween costumes.

“It looks on paper like it’s something big, but it was just a response about ‘do we currently have anything about Halloween costumes,” Erickson said.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @morgan_walker95