UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt says several students are suspended from the football team for their involvement in a racist Snapchat sent out this week.
The incident stems from a photo sent in a Snapchat group between several members of the football team. Snapshots of the message thread began to circulate around the campus this week.
The photo appears to show members of the KKK burning a cross. Students say the photo included a message referring to the university’s BME or Black Male Empowerment group.
Jalen Thomas, Vice President of BME and former UWEC football player says he knows the players involved in the incident.
“Our organization actually got the screenshots from a player…it was in a football group chat with juniors on the team,” said Thomas. He’s calling the incident hurtful. “These young men are adults. They’re juniors in college so they know right from wrong. I really don’t care if it’s a joke or not, there are a lot of sensitive things in our country’s history that you just don’t touch on.”
Scott Procter, former UWEC football quarterback and one of the founding members of Black Men Empowerment is responding. He says he’s disappointed.
“You can’t say things like that and accompany those words and remarks with photos of the KKK,” said Procter.
Procter played football all four years at UWEC and was a senior captain during the 2018 season. He says the suspended players are former teammates of his. He understands they may have been joking but says some jokes are simply not appropriate.
As a man of color, he says during his time at UWEC he never experienced any racism but personally knows students who have found themselves in uncomfortable situations regarding race.
Both Procter and Thomas say they don’t view UW-Eau Claire as a racist campus but say there’s still progress to be made in terms of the university’s racial climate to make all students feel comfortable.
An investigation is underway to determine if further punishment will be handed down to the suspended football players.