Syracuse issues guidelines for reacting to creepy clowns

Syracuse University has put out a list of do’s and don’ts to help students respond to what has now become a national phenomenon of random clown sightings.

“This phenomenon has been reported around the country in social media, newspapers, and television, and most cases have been either pranks or false reports. We understand even unsubstantiated reports can make campus community members nervous or concern,” the memo from the Department of Puiblic Safety explains before presenting a Q&A on the clown phenomenon.

“What should I do if I actually see someone in a clown mask or costume?” one question asks, encouraging students to “stay away from the person and head in the opposite direction.”

The list then advises students on what not to do when spotting creepy clowns around campus, noting that “since wearing a costume is not a crime, any physical attack or harassment on such person could be a crime.”

The advisory also seeks to put the phenomenon into historical context, explaining that “there have been creepy clown scares before, in the mid 1980’s after some horror films featured clowns,” and surmising that recent “television shows and films depicting such clowns may have triggered the prank activities.”

It goes on to warn students against joining in on the prank, asking them to “think again” if they’re “thinking that putting on a clown mask and hanging around town might be a funny prank.”

Finally, Syracuse’s do’s and don’ts of clown-spotting concludes with a notice that Halloween is just around the corner, which means that “people will wear costumes for some of the events.”

“You should consider your costume carefully and use discretion in your choice, given the current national circumstances regarding clown costumes,” it adds.

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