Remember the brouhaha over a video made by the University of Wisconsin Homecoming Committee — that it didn’t adequately represent the racial diversity of the school?
That led to the creation of a new student group called the Student Inclusion Coalition (which made its own “homecoming” video), and now a set of student demands as well.
According to its Instagram page, the SIC wants
— Public recognition of the sacrifices of “past students of color.” This includes the bestowing of “four honorary degrees” to the quartet involved in a 1969 protest whose “academic funding” was cut off.
— “Recognition of the educational value of marginalized identity-based student affinity groups.” This means the “re-establishment of the Multicultural Finance Committee” which is to have no less than a $5 million budget.
— Better “support systems” for marginalized students including funding for “all cultural centers” on campus with “full-time professional staff.”
— The restructuring of the Homecoming Committee to better reflect diversity.
— Creation of a “coordinated infrastructure to respond to acts of structural oppression.” This includes mandatory “diversity and inclusivity training” for virtually anyone connected to the university.
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On Friday, UW students took the campus’s Bascom Hill to show solidarity with the SIC. According to The Badger Herald, “protestors wore all black and posted signs with their demands at the bottom [of Bascom].”
— The Badger Herald (@BadgerHerald) October 25, 2019
SIC member and UW junior Israel Oby addressed the crowd.
“If we can all come together, we can really make something happen,” Oby said. “But it’s going to take everybody.”
Students chanted “We are sick of UW” while marching, a reference to SIC’s hashtag #WeareSICofUW.
SIC member and junior Kingsley-Reigne Pissang told protestors to reach out to their professors and administrators and voice their concerns in order to help fulfill their demands.
“We have a lot of allies on this campus, even though it may not feel like it,” Pissang said. “There are a lot of resources on this campus that we may or may not know about.”
Dean of students Christina Olstad attended the protest, and Pissang told students Olstad wants to help them fulfill their five demands. Pissang encouraged protestors to come to Olstad’s office hours, posted on her website, to check in and offer feedback.
Oby told those assembled to “take the fight beyond the protest” until UW officials meet their demands. “We need everybody to keep pushing,” he said. “We need to keep applying pressure until our demands are met.”
IMAGE: dzaky murad / Shutterstock.com