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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, July 02, 2022

National spotlight skews image of UW

Can you feel it yet? That ""it"" is a spotlight honed in on Madison from the national media as a result of recent events that have taken place at the university. 


It is bigger and brighter than ever and is starting to garner attention from people inside and outside our university.  


Instead of watching ESPN and hearing about the No. 17, 7-1, and now bowl-eligible Badger football team, we are hearing that the dirty, behind-the-scenes, ugly traditions of the UW Marching Band are not myths after all. 


Instead of picking up The New York Times or the Chicago Tribune and reading about the diverse community of students, we read opinion articles on Kevin Barrett and how Madison is viewed as a hotbed for radical beliefs. We are also told at the national level these radical beliefs are commonplace at Madison. 


Rather than debating who led us down this path, we all ought to embrace this spotlight as an opportunity to change it. These are crucial times for UW-Madison because if we choose inaction instead of dealing with the band incident or UW-Madison's ""reputation"" as a radical university, these incidents will just reappear in the future. 


If our fellow classmates are able to demoralize other students in front of their friends in truly vile ways and get away with just a slap on the wrist, what kind of signals are we sending to alumni, parents and the rest of the UW-Madison community? What kind of signals are we sending to the victims of this hazing?  


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An apology by the marching band attached with a promise that such incidents will never happen again is just not enough. Strict questioning of every band member should be conducted, and if no one steps forward for a known crime that occurred or if band directors feel as though some issue was not brought to light then, unfortunately, every marching band member has to be punished. 


The same goes for UW-Madison's devolving reputation, however false, as a radical leftist university. We must acknowledge now that diversity is so much more than a percentage or a ratio, and that it is more than skin deep.  


Diversity is a crucial ingredient in our college education as well as our life education here at Madison. If we eliminated all opposing viewpoints and let Madison become a home to mediocrity and subservience, our educations would be incomplete, and we would be ill prepared for life after college. 


Consider the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: ""Critics are our friends. They point out our flaws.""  


In other words, diversity creates these clashes of new ideas and opposing beliefs, and these clashes open us to introspection and new beliefs. 


Some of the most valuable lessons in life are taught without a book or a professor—instead, they occur by just interacting with the people around us. We must show those inside and outside Madison that the university's environment is truly diverse and not just filled with radicals. As a result, Wisconsin students are getting a unique but complete education that is anything but singular.  


The decisions we make today will decide the future of Bucky and the cardinal and white. If we falter now, the allure of Camp Randall will fade. The stories and memories of Ameche and Dayne? Forgotten. The singing voices of ""Varsity""? Silenced until UW-Madison has faded into obscurity. 


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