It’s not just Sarah Palin hanging around for Halloween.
Police are investigating the discovery of an effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama dangling from a tree this morning at the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington.
“I am personally offended and deeply embarrassed by this disgusting episode,” said Lee Todd, president of the university in a campus-wide e-mail. “This is not reasonable political expression; it is just malicious. And it is unacceptable.”
Todd plans to apologize to the Obama family on behalf of the school, which immediately removed the life-sized dummy said to be outfitted with an Obama Halloween mask, a suit jacket and sweat pants.
“I feel outraged and hurt. I am outraged because we work very hard, every day, to build bridges across the divides,” said Todd. “Diversity and inclusion are among our most precious core values. Episodes like this serve only to erode our confidence in and respect for one another.”
He said those found responsible will be “subject to the full force of university, state, and federal rules and regulations.”
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear called the incident “embarrassing” and “deeply offensive.”
“This was not political speech. It was simply hate,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
The effigy of Obama comes on the heels of a high-profile hanging depiction of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in West Hollywood, Calif.
While some local residents are outraged, others, including display creator Chad Michael Morrissette, are defending it, calling it Halloween-related fun.
“It should be seen as art, and it should be seen as, within the month of October, it is Halloween. It is time to be scary. It is time to be spooky,” he told the CBS-TV affiliate in Los Angeles.
Local authorities have said the Palin effigy is not a hate crime.
“I’m not defending this; I’m not criticizing it. It doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime,” Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told the Los Angeles Times. “Now, if there was a crime against bad taste … . “
AOL News blogger Liza Porteus Viana notes if Obama were hanged in effigy on the West Coast, “The NAACP, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton likely would march on West Hollywood demanding it be taken down.”
After learning of both hanging figures, WND reader Karen Carullo noted: “Tell the guy at Kentucky U., ‘Don’t get too upset. It’s just art!'”
William and Robin Frazier commented: “We fail to see how the hanging of Palin is ‘fun’ and the hanging of Obama ‘not.’ They are both disrespectful. The one [person] who said it’s fun for Palin to be hanged ought to be hanged.”