What the University of Utah has to say after 2 female students wore body paint as tops to football game
Violators of child lewdness statute will be denied entry or ejected from stadium, university warns
After two young women entered the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium during last weekend’s football game wearing body paint as tops, the university issued a statement Wednesday that said anyone in violation of Utah’s state statute on lewdness involving a child will not be allowed entrance or will be ejected from the stadium.
“The university follows state law at all athletic events,” according to the statement.
It goes on to say “All visitors to the stadium are asked to follow the fan guidelines which are available online and emphasize behavior that fosters a family-friendly atmosphere.”
Utah Code states in part that a person is guilty of lewdness involving a child if they “intentionally or knowingly ... exposes his or her genitals, the female breast below the top of the areola, the buttocks, the anus, or the pubic area.”
The university’s statement also refers to its “A-Z Fan Guide,” which is guidance for everything from fan behavior to baby changing stations during events at its stadiums.
The tab on fan behavior states in part, “Anyone who engages in unsafe or inappropriate conduct will be removed from the premises, may lose all privileges and access for future events held at Rice-Eccles Stadium and The Huntsman Center and could be reported to law enforcement.”
The university has received multiple media inquiries about a dress code policy for its athletics events, according to the statement. The academic campus has no dress code and the fan guide is silent on such a policy.
Photos of the women who attended the game on Sept. 10 showed body paint apparently applied to depict tank tops adorned with a red “U.”
Witnesses said the young women were allowed entry into the stadium and walked past a police officer.
They were later approached by a police officer who asked them to put on shirts and they complied, according to an earlier statement from the university.
A police investigation into the incident is ongoing. The university’s Dean of Students is also reviewing the events for “potential noncriminal sanctions,” according to a university spokesman.
One fan who saw the young women enter the stadium ahead of her family said she and her husband shielded their children’s view and raised concerns with stadium staff and police.
The fan, YouTube influencer Melea Johnson, said she also texted FANUP to report what she had seen to the athletic department.
She later issued a statement that said in part: “As a Christian mother, I felt like I needed to create awareness of this issue so a permanent change is made to the university’s policy immediately.
“Mothers need safe places for their children to attend without fear they will see something lewd or involving nudity of any kind … visuals that are typically only deemed appropriate for those over age 18.”
The university’s next home football game is Saturday night when the Utes host San Diego State University.