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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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UW-Madison administration responds to ‘UWNotFair’ legal challenge

The University of Wisconsin-Madison administration responded this week to the recent “UWNotFair” campaign.

Project on Fair Representation, a Virginia-based legal group, announced Monday it is seeking applicants who believe they were rejected admission to UW-Madison because of their race.

Patrick Sims, interim vice provost and chief diversity officer, and Dean of Students Lori Berquam released a statement Wednesday supporting the university’s policies and disagreeing with the legal challenge.

“Every student offered a place at this university is judged to be capable of success,” Sims and Berquam said in the release. “Every one of you has the ability to succeed and contribute something special to our student body.”

Berquam and Sims said the university considers academic credentials the most important factor in student admissions, while also factoring in applicants’ entire records. They also encouraged students to continue posting their stories to #ITooAmUWMadison.

Associate Dean of Students Argyle Wade said in an interview he did not agree with UWNotFair campaign’s perspective.

“That perspective only uses one dimension and is trying to apply that onto our process, which is not one-dimensional,” Wade said. “They fire us back into that one-dimensional conversation.”

Sims, Berquam and Wade all spoke of defending the process in 2007 and 2011 and said they are willing to defend it again. Wade also said he is not sure it is entirely appropriate for outside parties to judge the university’s criteria when they are not part of the process, although they are welcome to ask questions.

“We look at students as more than just the race they are or their GPA, or the hometown they grew up in,” Wade said. “Race is important, but race isn’t the only lens.”

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