Campus commitment to diversity continues

By Rebecca Blank, Chancellor & Patrick Sims, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, UW-Madison 

Welcome to 2020. The beginning of a new year offers an opportunity to create new resolutions and renew commitments we’ve made in the past. Last fall, a teachable moment around the student-produced Homecoming video reminded us that we must remain diligent to make diversity and inclusion a conscious decision in order to create a welcoming campus climate. At UW-Madison we are fortunate that our students, faculty and staff are rarely afraid to speak out and keep us honest on our progress toward the goals we’ve set and the values we espouse.

Last week, the New York Times covered the issues raised on the UW campus by the Homecoming video. We continue to acknowledge how much work we have to do on these issues and the pain and frustration the video has caused to our community. We are committed to improving the experiences of all our students, especially our students from underrepresented groups. But we would be less than honest if we didn’t share our level of disappointment with this most recent coverage, which lacked context and nuance.

The story overlooked both the ways we have responded to the video and made no mention of the multiple efforts we have undertaken in recent years to make campus a more welcoming and diverse place. It also did not recognize the fact that these issues are prevalent on campuses across the country and that UW is not alone in struggling with the differential experiences of underrepresented students on campus and in our community. Read more …