Wisconsin student-athletes took to Twitter on Monday night to share a statement asking for action from the university regarding racial discrimination on campus.
Below is the full statement, as seen in a tweet from men’s basketball forward Nigel Hayes:
A lengthy list of UW-Madison student-athletes who also shared the message on their Twitter accounts on Monday night is included at the bottom of this article.
UW-Madison has been at the forefront of a dialogue on race relations over the last couple of weeks after two fans wore a despicable set of costumes depicting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lynching Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama with a noose during the Badgers’ overtime win against Nebraska at Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 29. The fan complied with a request from stadium staff to remove the noose and was allowed to stay in his seat.
The university released the following statement immediately after the game:
During the first half of this evening’s Wisconsin football game against Nebraska, UW officials were made aware that an individual in the seating bowl had donned a highly insensitive and offensive costume. UW Athletics’ guest services staff were dispatched to the individual’s seating area where they asked him to remove the offensive components of the costume. He complied.
UW Athletics’ policy regarding admission into the stadium with a costume stipulates that no one may be wearing a mask upon entering the facility. Once inside, it is permissible to wear a mask. The costume, while repugnant AND COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech. The university also exercised its rights by asking the individual to remove the offensive parts of the costume.
UW-Madison is dedicated to promoting a campus environment where all people feel valued, safe and able to thrive. To that end, the university continues to encourage all of our community members to engage in discussion over vital issues in ways that promote greater understanding and respect for all persons.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez met with community leaders later in the week to discuss the university’s reaction to the incident.
On Monday, UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank addressed comments to the UW-Madison Faculty Senate, which included the news of the university revoking season tickets for the pair of individuals “related to the situation.”
“I am personally very sorry for the hurt that this incident and our response to it has caused. I have heard from students, faculty and community members who are dissatisfied with our response, and I understand why.
A noose is a symbol of some of the worst forms of racial hatred and intimidation in our country’s history. We understand this and we should have communicated this more forcefully from the beginning.
A noose displayed in this fashion has no place in Camp Randall.
I understand the deeply hurtful impact this has on our students and communities of color.
We are reviewing our carry in and ticket policies at Camp Randall, together with what our tickets and other information says about conduct at the stadium;
We are also reviewing facilities use and other policies to clarify conduct rules at all of our sports facilities.
Changes in our carry-in policy and ticket policies will be in place prior to the next football game this Saturday and announced later this week.
Other policy review will require input from the Athletic Board and other stakeholders and will occur over the next several months.
I’m limited in how much I can say today, but can announce that we’ve indefinitely revoked the season tickets of a pair of individuals related to this situation. We took this action because the person using the tickets brought a prohibited item into the stadium and failed to follow the direction of our event staff.
We are also in touch with our new community advisors group and are listening to them, along with everyone who has shared thoughts.
We have launched many new initiatives in the past year in an effort to improve our campus climate situation. Many of you are involved in them. This is a work in progress, and we are a long way from where we want to be. But with your advice and input of governance, we have invested time, energy and effort into things like the Our Wisconsin program aimed at incoming freshmen, a bias reporting system, a review of our ethnic studies curriculum, and a black cultural center.
We will learn from this incident and do better next time.”
Here are the UW-Madison athletes who joined Hayes in tweeting the statement as of Monday night:
- Running backs Corey Clement, Dare Ogunbowale, Chris James, Bradrick Shaw and Taiwan Deal
- Defensive linemen Chikwe Obasih and Alec James
- Safeties Arrington Farrar and D’Cota Dixon
- Linebackers Chris Orr and Keldric Preston
- Wide receivers Robert Wheelwright, George Rushing, A.J. Taylor and Reggie Love
- Cornerbacks Sojourn Shelton, Titus Booker, Lubern Figaro and Derrick Tindal
- Quarterback Kare Lyles
- Forward Charles Thomas