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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

“You tokenize us for recruitment but ignore our contributions and yet claim to support diversity and inclusion,” one student in the video said. 

‘Home is where WI aren’t’ video highlights gaps in understanding, university action

The Student Inclusion Coalition of UW published a video yesterday evening titled “Home is where WI aren’t,” highlighting the experiences of underrepresented groups on campus.

The video features students of color holding messages aimed at garnering a better understanding of their contributions and experiences on campus while demanding substantive change from the university.

“Our home is each other. Our home is our joy. Our home is our history. Our home is our resilience,” the video says. “The University of Wisconsin-Madison did not provide a home for us, we had to create one ourselves.”

SICofUW also called out what they believe is the university’s disingenuous use of students of color in their admissions tactics.

“You tokenize us for recruitment but ignore our contributions and yet claim to support diversity and inclusion,” the video says. “Face the facts. Our contributions are acts of resistance that are repurposed to the university’s agenda.”

Classroom experiences of students of color were emphasized as well, calling out general education requirements.

“One semester of an ethnic studies course cannot summarize our lifelong experiences as people of color,” one student said in the video. “I’m here to pursue my education, not educate others.”

Various university officials have replied to the video including Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion Patrick Sims and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor.

“This video shares some hard truths, and I hope we can all commit to listening, learning, and taking meaningful action,” Reesor said in a tweet.

“I want @UWMadison to become a better place for all students — especially students of color,” Sims said in a tweet. “Watching this new video, it’s clear that we have much more work to do. We are all UW.”

The video also addresses the university’s recent push to recognize and remedy the effects of the forced removal of the Ho-Chunk Nation from land UW-Madison sits on.

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“To start, your home was built upon someone else’s home,” the video says. “Small plaques cannot fathom the trauma inflicted upon the indigenous communities specifically Ho-Chunk people this university has wronged.”

The video additionally pushed for the university to have more halal, kosher and vegetarian options in dining halls.

“Students with dietary restrictions can’t engage in traditions such as eating Babcock ice cream and grabbing a beer at the terrace,” the video says.

The Student Inclusion Coalition of UW’s stated goal is to “advocate for the social, academic and emotional wellness of all marginalized students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our goal is to be a catalyst for change by ensuring the proper representation, opportunities, and resources are afforded to each student,” according to the video. 

You can view the full video below.

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