First BSU Forum packs houseBy Ryan Broege • October 28, 2010 • Category: Uncategorized
In the wake of the latest racist incidents on campus, the UW-Platteville Black Student Union hosted a Stand Up to Hate forum, held in the Doudna Theater on the evening of Oct. 25. The panel was hosted by BSU and featured a panel invited to discuss the recent spate of racial incidents on campus.
The panel was comprised of the following individuals: political science professor Rosalyn Broussard, Chancellor Dennis Shields, 49th Assembly District representative Phil Garthwaite, ethnic studies professor Carl Allsup, Bradford, assistant chancellor for student affairs Mick Viney and McCormick. An estimated crowd of 160 people meant that the Lundeen Lecture Hall in Doudna was standing-room-only.
Steve Washington, a sophomore communication technologies major, spoke to the significance of the forum for students of color at UW-P. “After this forum, I believe students will stay to see how this turns out,” he said. “If it doesn’t improve, they will start looking at different schools.
The two-hour discussion was rife with condemnations of racism at UW-P, but two other issues also arose with a fair amount of frequency. First, a call for more dialogue about race at UW-P, inside and outside of the classroom, was echoed and reiterated by audience members and panelists alike. A common concern voiced was that faculty members, citing time constraints and irrelevancy to course materials, had been neglecting to address the racial incidents in the classroom. “If your faculty haven’t discussed this life-threatening graffiti, ask ‘Why haven’t they?’” said Allsup. “This is a moment to educate.”
The other fairly frequent theme that emerged from the forum was a curiosity about what measures, reactive and proactive, the administration was undertaking in response to the racism on campus. Shields said that he was open to considering the installation of security cameras around residence halls, in particular Dobson, which he sees as particularly troubled by racist vandalism this semester. He also said that he will not stop working until he finds a method that will effectively improve the diversity of faculty and students on campus.
Bradford called on white students to take a proactive role in repudiating the racism. “We’re always the first ones to address this [racism],” Bradford said. “This is not our job to let other people know that we’re human.”
There were also repeated assertions that, “There is no such thing as a silent anti-racist.” Allsup informed the audience that the maxim is attributed to Carl Wesley, the director of the Multicultural Educational Resource Center.
As the forum came to a close, Dupree said that there will be at least one BSU Stand Up to Racism forum held each month. The next one is set to take place in two weeks.