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UW-Madison responds to social media video containing racial slurs

University officials said the video — which depicts a UW-Madison student issuing racial slurs and references towards the Black community — did not reflect the university’s values in a statement Monday.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison student was recorded in a recent video using racial slurs and racist references directed at the Black community.

The video gained traction after being posted to multiple social media platforms Monday. In the video, the student in question issued multiple racial slurs and racist comments targeted at the Black community, and other people can be heard laughing in response. It is unclear when this video was first posted to social media.

UW-Madison issued a statement Monday evening regarding the video.

“The university is aware of a video recently posted to social media that contains deeply harmful and offensive racist slurs and references,” the statement read. “The Dean of Students Office is gathering additional information, collecting bias reports and offering support to affected students and employees.”

Student and employee content posted on private social media accounts is not subject to regulation by the university, according to UW-Madison. The university cannot take actions against posts that are not unlawful, but the university added that racial slurs “do not represent or reflect UW-Madison values.”

The video gathered considerable attention from other UW-Madison students on social media Monday. Outgoing Associated Students of Madison Chair Ndemazea Fonkem released a letter via Instagram story addressed to the alleged student from the video. 

“Did you know that the Black student population at UW-Madison barely breaks two percent? Did you know that this campus is a venue for the continued marginalization of Black students?” Fonkem’s letter read. “What’s it going to take for you to learn?”

The African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (AHANA-MAPS) made an Instagram post in response to the video. In the post, AHANA-MAPS alleges the student who made the comments works as a certified nursing assistant.

“It is truly disturbing and saddening to know that there are current healthcare workers who share disgusting, overly dangerous, and racist views about Black human beings,” the post said.

“AHANA-MAPS, alongside other organizations on campus, stand against racism and white supremacy of this nature within healthcare and beyond,” the post continued. “We hope to continue to create competent, empathetic and well-rounded future healthcare professionals. Together, we must work toward eliminating harmful rhetoric and stereotypes surrounding Black individuals.” 

Resources: The Dean of Students Office (608-263-5700) and the University Health Services’ Crisis Line (608-265-5600 — option nine) are available resources. Other support resources are included in the university's statement, which can be found here

Editor's note: This is a developing story. This story was last updated on Tuesday, May 2 at 12:28 p.m.

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Ian Wilder

Ian Wilder is a senior staff writer and current men’s hockey beat reporter for The Daily Cardinal. He’s a former state politics and features reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @IanWWilder.


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