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Student receives racist message in UWEC dorm

Eau Claire (WQOW) – A student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire said she found a racist message written outside her dorm room.

The student, Kayde Langer, who is Ojibwe posted a photo of the message on Twitter. That post has now gained the attention of social media and university officials.

On Sunday morning, Langer found the message on a sign outside her North Hall dorm, with the words “go back to the rez,” followed by racial slurs.

Langer said this is not the first time she’s received this sort of hate.

“Last year I had girls harass me [ when I was smudging]…RAs had to guard 30my door when I was doing it,” Langer said.

Smudging involves the burning of herbs, like sage, and is a symbolic practice in her Red Lake Ojibwe community. Langer said she took the incident to UWEC housing officials, but felt like they brushed her aside.

“Part of a problem too with how they address incidents of racism, because their big thing is education,” Langer said.

Assistant Chancellor for the university, Mike Rindo, said the solution is not simple.

“There is not a single thing, or probably one or two or three or four things that are going to result in the desired outcome,” Rindo said. “It has to be a multi-disciplinary approach. Education is certainly part of it, but so is discipline for people that are found to be in violation of our policies or the state statute governing student behavior.”

Langer said UWEC Chancellor James Schimdt reached out to her in a brief private message on Twitter.

Schmidt said in part in a release statement, “When a member of our Blugold family is targeted, we are all impacted to speak…this campus must act when hatred rears its ugly head.”

Now, Langer hopes that calling out the hate could help bring change to campus.

“I’m not glad it happened but I appreciate the fact that it’s getting attention,” Langer said. “Many times we’ve been ignored…so many times I’ve been ignored, and other students of color have been ignored on these issues. And now we’re actually finally having an open dialogue.”

McKenna Alexander

McKenna Alexander is the weekend anchor and a multimedia journalist for News 18. She started in June 2019. She was born in San Francisco, but spent the majority of her life growing up in Dallas.

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