Friday, May 2, 2014

Racism on campus: Let's talk

I applaud the recent efforts of many UW-Eau Claire students to start conversations about privilege and prejudice through the “Identity” and “I Too Am Eau Claire" campaigns. I am deeply sorry that part of the reaction to one of these creative and thought-provoking campaigns was an anonymous racist posting. 

Our students are justifiably angry about this posting. I stand with our students and support their initiatives to raise awareness of the demeaning behaviors to which they are routinely subjected — something many majority students have never experienced. I am committed to creating an inclusive and equitable community for all students — one where acts of racism, sexism and homophobia, as well as efforts to stifle discourse, are not welcome. 

I will work for positive change on a personal level and will collaborate with faculty, staff and students to make progress at the institutional level. Accordingly, I will take steps to implement ongoing public campus conversations about equity, diversity and inclusivity at UW-Eau Claire. I invite you to participate in a Chancellor’s Roundtable discussion at noon on Thursday, May 8, in the Council Oak Room of Davies Center to discuss recent incidents, the current state of our campus climate and what we can do together to improve it.

I hope you will join me in this important discussion.