After two racist incidents on UW-Eau Claire’s campus this semester, Chancellor Schmidt said steps are being taken to review the cases.
The first incident was a racist graffiti post on a door of a Native American student’s residence hall and then a racist social media snap chat post which referenced the KKK sent between some members of the UWEC football team.
In a press conference Monday, Schmidt and the Athletic Director, Dan Schumacher, both addressed the incidents.
“No one is taking these incidents lightly,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt announced a Rapid Action Task Force for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. It involves 16 members including students, faculty, and staff. They met for the first time Monday afternoon.
“I expect that they will address not only new strategies that will support our goals, but also provide recommendations on how we can respond better to such incidents, improve our communications and strengthen accountability in the future,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt also announced that at the request of UWEC’s Director of Athletics, Dan Schumacher, the university will also have a third party to conduct an independent review of the athletics department and its programs.
“I agree with Chancellor Schmidt’s assessment that the racist imagery posted was reprehensible and not consistent with our values at all,” said Schumacher.
Schumacher said the past few weeks have been difficult for the athletic department. The football players involved were suspended from the team.
“This type of adversity makes us stronger,” said Schumacher. “We’re learning from it. We are in an educational setting and we’re going to learn from it.”
Schmidt hopes the situations can be turned into something positive.
“Racism happens on every campus every day,” said Schmidt. “We choose to put a bright spotlight on them. We believe they’re opportunities for learning. “