Campus News

Nooses in climate change protest condemned by UW-Madison

UW-Madison students wearing nooses during climate change protest on campus triggered backlash from onlookers.

UW-Madison students wearing nooses during climate change protest on campus triggered backlash from onlookers.

Image By: Will Cioci

As students wrapped up their first week of class, climate change protestors gathered in front of the Humanities Building Friday morning, two of whom wore nooses as part of the demonstration. 

Staff from UWPD, Student Life, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement along with community members immediately responded to students that their actions could have unintended consequences. 

“We commend the university staff and members of our campus community who immediately intervened with the protesters and helped them understand the impact they were having,” Vice Chancellor Lori Reesor and Deputy Vice Chancellor Patrick Sims said in their email sent to the entire campus community.

After staff and community members engaged with the protestors, they willingly removed the nooses and left the sight of protest. 

The students apologized for their actions in a statement emailed to The Daily Cardinal from Meredith Mcglone, the communications director at UW-Madison. 

“We would like the people we hurt to know that while we can't truly understand the emotions you are feeling, we realize and are ashamed of the harm we have caused,” they wrote in the statement.

Though the students claimed the nooses were inspired by previous climate change demonstrations in Europe, they are considered a hateful symbol in the U.S., especially after lynchings conducted during the Civil War. 

“Regardless of whether the display of a hateful symbol is based on a lack of cultural understanding or an expressed intent to promote fear, the lingering legacies of what these symbols create visceral and painful reactions among many,” Reesor and Sims said. 

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