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Student who made racist comments in video that sparked protest issues apology to newspaper

Photo by Omar Waheed.

Audrey Godlewski, the UW-Madison student seen in a social media video making racist comments about Black people — wishing for a return to slavery, among other harmful remarks — has issued an apology through The Daily Cardinal student newspaper.

The BLK PWR Coalition, a group of Black students that protested the video and what they saw as the administration’s inadequate response, said in a response that they appreciate the apology, but note that Godlewski did not apologize directly to those impacted by her statements.

The Daily Cardinal reported late Monday that Godlewski had emailed them a statement expressing regret for the remarks captured in a video that went viral on social media in early May.

“To the University of Wisconsin–Madison student body, faculty and community, I sincerely apologize for the harmful actions and comments I made towards African American individuals,” Godlewski wrote, according to the newspaper. “My words were utterly disgusting and unacceptable, whether in public or private.”

In response, the BLK PWR Coalition wrote, in part, “Although The Coalition is glad that she recognizes the harm that she caused our community, we are disappointed that she didn’t directly apologize to us — the BLK PWR Coalition, and UW-Madison’s Black population. Instead, she chose to release her apology to campus media before consulting with the people whom her comments directly impacted. The Coalition knows that white supremacy is bigger than her comments; What she ignited is the foundation on which this university stands.”

The coalition marched on Bascom Hall May 4 and 5 after they felt the administration’s response was slow and inadequate. Even though constitutional law experts said the First Amendment protected Godlewski from discipline or expulsion, her expulsion was one of nine demands presented by the BLK PWR Coalition. Other demands included better mental health and academic support for Black students.