University investigates inappropriate Halloween costume

James Vaughn

A strength and conditioning trainer for USI’s softball team is under fire after photos surfaced of her dressed as Adolf Hitler with a swastika on her arm.

The trainer, Chrissy Fowler, works with the university’s athletic program which hires independent contractors from time to time. She is not considered a university employee.

Two photos, one of Fowler standing in front of a University of Southern Indiana All-Americans sign in the Physical Activities Center and another of her posing with the team, were posted to the unofficial USI Eagles Softball Fan Page Halloween morning.

The photos have since been removed.

Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications Kindra Strupp said the university became aware of the incident that evening when 14 News reached out to Media Relations Specialist Wendy Bredhold about the photos, which someone sent to the local NBC affiliate.

Provost Ron Rochon said civil discourse is his mantra, and he plans to take this opportunity to educate the USI community.

“We will learn a lesson from this,” he said. “Our core values will not be negotiated.”

Rochon said he does not want the softball team to be the highlight of this.

“This will hopefully lead to some proactive, progressive and productive change,” he said. “Something like this that causes people pain concerns me. We have to be sensitive to our community.”

Ashley Oglesby said she is not offended by Fowler’s costume.

“I give points for creativity,” she said. “How many other people are you going to see dressed up as Hitler?”

The junior criminal justice major said she is not prejudiced, and there is a place to draw the line when it comes to Halloween costumes.

“Playing out the victim of cruel acts, in my opinion, is drawing the line,” she said.

A story out of Michigan about a woman who dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim offends her more.

“The key factor is recency,” Oglesby said. “The more current the event is, the more offensive it becomes.”

She doesn’t think a big deal would have been made if the costume was portraying a holocaust victim.

“There are so few victims left to be hurt by it,” she said.

Fowler had not responded to The Shield’s inquiry as of  Wednesday morning.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.