The Associated Students of Madison are the only governing body on campus that has not endorsed UW-Madison’s institutional statement on diversity, according to Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Patrick Sims.
Sims presented the institutional statement on diversity at the Student Council meeting Tuesday. He said he hopes ASM will support the resolution this time after the body did not take it up last year.
In the fall of 2016, Sims presented the resolution to the body and said that overall it was a “great conversation” and students seemed supportive.
However, after the presentation, many students were angry with administration’s reaction to the noose incident, saying that Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s statement was inappropriate. Although she called the costume offensive, Blank said free speech protected the person’s right to wear it.
Sims said after the noose incident it was clear to him that ASM would not support the resolution.
“Let me just say I did not go to that meeting nor do I think students were in the mood to try and endorse this statement on our student principles,” Sims said. “There was a bit of a disconnect. Some dissonance between what the statement suggested and what had played out over the last two or three days during that time period.”
Prior to the noose incident, former ASM Chair Carmen Goséy said she liked that shared governance groups were committing to diversity, but was critical of the resolution.
“It’s very easy to say that you’re committed to diversity and inclusion, but what are you doing to commit to that?” Goséy said.
ASM Chair Katrina Morrison said the noose incident was “one of many factors” for why the resolution wasn’t taken up. Although the body wanted to see action from administration, many saw it as just words, she said.
“I can say that we’ve learned our lesson,” Sims said. “I think people are listening more in ways that perhaps they weren’t before.”