University Park, Pa. -- Penn State University Police are seeking leads in two Oct. 30 incidents involving spectators at Beaver Stadium during the Penn State football game against the University of Michigan.
Neither incident was reported to University Police during the event or immediately afterward. University Police, who learned of the incidents from various sources, have since made contact with victims of both incidents and are seeking witnesses and other individuals to come forward with additional accounts and further details.
During a game in which many fans were dressed in costume for Halloween, distinguishing attire of the victims and nearby spectators has been reported that may aid in each investigation. In the first incident, the victim -- a Michigan fan wearing a banana costume and seated in the vicinity of sections SA and SB (in the proximity of the Blue Band seating area) -- was verbally and physically assaulted. Multiple people are suspected to have been involved. The main perpetrator who assaulted the victim has been described as an Asian male with short black hair, wearing a white shirt.
A student who came to the aid of the victim also was assaulted and reported that to a police officer during the game.
The second incident occurred in section WF, in the vicinity of a male spectator wearing a large ninja turtle costume. The victims, two Michigan fans, were verbally and physically harassed by nearby Penn State spectators, who also directed racial comments and slurs at the female victim.
Anyone with any information regarding either incident is urged to call University Police at (814) 863-1111 or report information to officers this week on game day (Nov. 27) at the Beaver Stadium police station outside gate B.
"Behavior that interferes with other guests' ability to enjoy the events, including threatening and abusive language, is not tolerated at Penn State. Whenever necessary, appropriate measures will be taken to assure that the spirit and integrity of the University is upheld," said Steve Shelow, director of University Police. "Our objective is to provide a fun, safe atmosphere for everyone to enjoy the game and activities around the game."
Fans are reminded that several options are available to report objectionable behavior and other problems in and around Beaver Stadium:
-- Alert stadium ushers directly or visit the Beaver Stadium police station on ground level outside gate B.
-- Call the Penn State Athletics Customer Relations Center at (800) NITTANY (648-8269), the fan hot line at (814) 867-3267 (867-FANS) or University Police at (814) 863-1111 or 911.
-- Send a discreet text message to the Beaver Stadium fan text system, a new service this season that is also in use at other professional and college sports venues. Text to 69050 followed by the keyword "NITTANY" and a brief description of the issue (customer service, fan behavior, emergency) and its location. Fans will receive a response when the message has been received. Standard text-message rates apply.
While enjoying Penn State athletic events, including football, fans should be mindful of their behavior to make the game enjoyable for everyone, and honor Penn State's name and tradition by cheering on the team with respect for other fans.