The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Friday several actions it is taking in response to blowback they have been receiving from releasing a video with a theme titled “Home is Where WI are” that, according to the university, “did not properly represent Black students and other students of color as essential members of our campus community.”
The 98-second video, posted on social media Sunday evening and deleted Monday, features 25 shots of students around campus engaged in a variety of activities such as singing, biking, dancing, jumping from the Union Terrace into Lake Mendota, and giving a campus tour. All the students shown appear to be white.
“We stand with our students of color and hear their voices with a clear commitment to action, not only about the video, but their broader experiences of exclusion on campus,” the university said in a statement signed by UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion Patrick Sims and Wisconsin Alumni Association director Sarah Schutt. “While we have a number of efforts underway aimed at improving campus climate, this incident presents an important opportunity to reaffirm our commitments to bring about meaningful change.”
Senior leaders from the university and the Wisconsin Alumni Association (a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the university) have spent this week in discussion with a number of concerned students, the university said, and plan on taking initial actions in training, communications, WAA-sponsored student organizations, UW-Madison student organizations and advisors.
The university “will continue to advance our ongoing efforts in these areas, including those that build capacity to prevent and respond to exclusion and that prioritize recruiting and retaining more diverse students, faculty and staff,” the university said in a press release.