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UWEC chancellor: “We must do more” to prevent racism on campus

Chancellor Schmidt
UWEC Chancellor James Schmidt at Monday's presser

Eau Claire (WQOW) - UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt says he is taking aggressive measures to reduce racism at the university.

During a press conference on Monday, Schmidt said he has built a task force and given the members an aggressive timeframe to come up with specific and immediate actions the university can take to minimize racism.

This comes roughly three weeks after racist messages were allegedly sent between five members of the UWEC football team.

More: UWEC suspends 5 football players over racist messages

The Rapid Action Task Force for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is made up of three co-chairs, seven staff/faculty members and six students. Those names are detailed below.

In addition to the task force, the chancellor is calling for a 3rd party review of the athletic programs.

"We must do more," Schmidt said.

Schmidt said racism happens on every campus every day and that UWEC is a reflection of a society.

“Racism continues to be an endemic problem in our country, and college campuses are not immune to this reality,” Schmidt said. “This rapid action task force is a cross-section of our campus community, people who are dedicated to creating an inclusive environment and finding solutions to problems. I look forward to reviewing their recommendations put forth in the next few months.”

Athletic Director Dan Schumacher said it has been a difficult couple of weeks for the athletic department and university, adding racism is not consistent with UWEC's values.

"We are ready to embrace this program review," Schumacher said.

Late last week, Chancellor Schmidt announced disciplinary sanctions for the football players involved. Schmidt said he legally cannot disclose what the sanctions are. During Monday's press conference, Schmidt said it is frustrating he cannot have full transparency but the school's lawyers have advised against releasing further details.

EDI Rapid Action Task Force Members

  • Jan Larson, Communication and Journalism
  • Yousra Bentaalla, Student
  • Kim Wudi, Athletics
  • Silviana Amethyst, Mathematics
  • Peter Hart-Brinson, Sociology
  • Stacey Jackson, Psychology
  • David Jones, English
  • Ben Bechle, Housing and Residence Life
  • Khong Meng Her, Blugold Beginnings
  • Jenni Sterling, University Centers
  • Stephanie Hoeksema      
  • Erika Nguyen
  • Aja St. Germaine
  • Miranda Ricci, UW-Eau Claire – Barron County
  • Aruwin Santherasegaren
  • Annie Titus

Clint Berge

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