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UWEC task force announces recommendations to combat campus racism

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - In wake of a pair of racist incidents at UW-Eau Claire, campus leaders have a plan to ensure it doesn't happen again.

More: UWEC suspends 5 football players over racist messages

More: Student receives racist message on dorm door

Ahead of a press conference on Wednesday, the university released nine recommendations developed by a task force made up of faculty, staff and students.

Those recommendations are:

  • Develop and implement a Restorative Justice Program.
  • Encourage a culture of reporting and responding to hate and bias incidents through a variety of measures to improve the bias incident reporting process.
  • Review, update and expand existing crisis communication plans to better inform and protect the campus community.
  • Expand and enhance EDI training for students, faculty and staff.
  • Take proactive measures to bolster recruitment and retention efforts for diverse international and domestic students, faculty and staff.
  • Update and redesign the EDI website to be easier to navigate and provide improved access to information and resources.
  • Develop and publicize mechanisms to support students, faculty and staff in the aftermath of a bias/hate incident.
  • Engage campus stakeholders in a process to review and update codes of conduct, handbooks, etc., to reflect the university’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusivity.
  • Create regular and ongoing opportunities for connection among campus and community members to engage with each other on topics of equity, diversity and inclusivity.

“The Rapid Action Task Force report reflects the extraordinary effort of the committee members who have given so generously of their time over the past few weeks to provide the campus community with thoughtful and challenging recommendations,” said Chancellor James Schmidt. “We aspire to be an inclusive, supportive and antiracist university and the new report will assure that we can take immediate and effective steps to move closer to that goal. I look forward to the upcoming campus conversations and to working with our faculty, staff and students to enhance our accountability, communication and campus culture in support of EDI.”

According to the university, the task force prioritizes actions that can be implemented by the end of the semester.

“The EDI Task Force report recommendations cannot end racism, bias or hate on this or any other campus,” said co-chair Jan Larson. “The recommendations can help us better articulate our values and expectations as a campus community. They can help us support people who are targeted when incidents do occur.  They can help us hold accountable the people who engage in such behavior while providing opportunities for change, growth and healing. And, they can help us further develop a climate and culture that thrives because of its equitable, diverse and inclusive nature.”

The university has a press conference scheduled at 10:30 a.m. to further discuss the recommendations. We will bring you highlights of that tonight on News 18.

You can read the entire report completed by the task force below.

One UWEC student, Kayde Langer, was the victim of a racist incident last September, when a racist sign was left outside her dorm. Langer said the university is not doing enough to prevent racism.

"It's an excuse, that's what it really is," Langer said. "This university, a lot of times, is just covering for themselves. The more [students] learn that they can get away with that, the more it increases."

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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