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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Nigel Hayes and the rest of the Badgers will look to improve from three-point range tonight. 

Nigel Hayes and the rest of the Badgers will look to improve from three-point range tonight. 

Student-athletes of color demand change from UW-Madison via social media

UW-Madison student-athletes of color voiced their demands for university changes following recent occurrences of racial injustice on campus through Twitter Monday.

Athletes, including UW-Madison Men’s Basketball player Nigel Hayes, changed their Twitter profile pictures to red squares. They also tweeted a statement that listed changes they request from UW-Madison.

These tweets follow an incident that occurred at a Badger football game Oct. 29 at which a spectator wore a President Barack Obama mask with a noose around his neck. UW-Madison received backlash for their handling of the situation because they said that the costume was an act of free speech in an initial statement.

After receiving these criticisms, Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez committed to reviewing Camp Randall policies regarding costumes. Monday UW-Madison revoked the tickets of the individual wearing the costume and the person that joined them at the game.

The athletes’ statement said UW-Madison student-athletes are negatively affected by acts of racial injustice just as much as other students of color on campus are.

“We are loved during competition, but then subjected to racial discrimination in our everyday lives too,” the statement said. “It is painful that someone in our community would show up to an athletic event with a mask of our sitting president, who happens to look like us, with a noose around his neck.”

The statement said student-athletes are often assumed to only be able to attend UW-Madison because of their athletic abilities and not their merit. It recognized that this is a national issue, and called upon UW-Madison to change the climate on campus.

“So in solidarity with other students on this campus, we implore Chancellor Rebecca Blank and her cabinet to take action, be visible, leave your ivory tower and speak to the students. Please create real programs, initiate meaningful change and understand that students of color deserve to thrive in this institution just like our peers.”

Director of UW Athletic Communications Brian Lucas did not immediately respond to request for comment. 

Alvarez addressed the campaign through a statement released Tuesday.

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“I could not be more proud of our student-athletes who have the courage of their convictions to speak out about their experiences and about societal issues that are important not only on our campus but all across our country," Alvarez said. "I look forward to meeting with our student-athletes in the hope that, together, we can take action to create positive change.”

UPDATE Nov. 8, 4:26 p.m. This story was updated to include the statement from Athletic Director Barry Alvarez.

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