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UWEC students reflect on reinstatement of football players

Football-Racist-Message-11-20-19

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Five UW-Eau Claire football players are being allowed to play again after some controversial Snapchats sent last November were determined to not be in violation of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.

But some UWEC students are unhappy with the decision and the way the investigation was handled.

A statement was issued Tuesday evening that said the five football players in question did not engage in misconduct. This came from a panel of faculty, staff and students. University Chancellor Jim Schmidt said in the statement he accepted the panel's decision but still found the behavior unacceptable.

Students have expressed concern that not enough action has been taken against the allegedly racist posts and that if more input from fellow players was considered, the investigation would have had a different outcome.

"Administration isn't listening to the football players," said UWEC student Luke Seidel. "If this was a closed room meeting with the football team, this would be resolved with those players not back on the team. But, the administration has kicked the door down and has decided for the football players, what's best."

Another student said the panel's decision does not reflect the culture of UWEC, adding this is not in line with what is trying to be accomplished with the new Center for Restorative Justice, which was announced this week as a space to educate students on racial and social justice.

"When we see a weak response of that from our systems of power, it's sending a message it's creating a model at the individual level for other people to not take that seriously also," said UWEC student Stephanie Hoeksema.

UW-Eau Claire Athletic Director Dan Schumacher said in the statement the players actions were destructive, but they must move forward and learn from the incident.

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Felicity Bosk

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