Sep 13, 2022 - News

University of Utah police are cracking down on two topless, female fans

University of Utah fans are topless and have the letters U & T painted on their chests.
Two topless Utes fans may face criminal charges because they're women. But topless men are celebrated in official University of Utah publications. This photo appears in a university branding pamphlet. Image via the David Eccles School of Business.

The University of Utah is investigating two women for potential criminal charges because they attended Saturday's football game topless, with body paint on their torsos.

What happened: An officer asked the two women to cover up, and they complied, according to a university statement Monday.

  • Detectives are screening potential charges against the women this week, and the students may be disciplined by the school.

Between the lines: Utah law bans women from exposing bare breasts in public is one of just three states with a statewide law banning women from exposing bare breasts, according to the advocacy group Go Topless.

  • The federal court of appeals over Utah has said such laws likely violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment because they treat men and women differently.

Context: The same university twice in the past two years has admitted its police mishandled domestic violence cases that ended with the murders of women students.

What they're saying: The U.'s statement quoted the university's president and athletic director condemning "profanity, public intoxication, rude and disrespectful behavior, racial and derogatory comments or verbal attacks directed at individuals or groups" — apparently equating the women's toplessness to racism and other attacks.

  • The statement links to the U's fan code of conduct, which does not specifically cite apparel or lack thereof as a violation.
  • Of note: Images of male topless Ute fans abound online, including on the university's own websites and official branding materials.

Remember when: In 2020, a West Valley City woman was charged with lewdness in her own home after her stepchildren walked in on her while she had removed her shirt while installing insulation that irritated her skin.

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