UW-Madison to test diversity program


Various incidents of racism occurred on the University of Wisconsin Madison’s campus last year and this year, administrators are taking steps to ensure a more welcoming campus for incoming freshmen.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

For many freshmen arriving at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall, it will be the first time they interact with students who don’t overwhelmingly look, love, experience and identify in the same way. Often that’s a mind-broadening experience.

But after a series of disturbing incidents last year — Swastikas taped to the dorm room door of a Jewish student; heckling of a Native American elder with “war cry sounds” during a healing circle and racial threats in an anonymous note to a student of color — the university is planning to give incoming freshmen more than just an academic education.

This fall, the campus will test a diversity program with up to 1,000 freshmen that officials hope will offer an opportunity for students to learn both about themselves, and about others.

“That’s what the collegiate experience is all about,” UW-Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam said. “Some of our students are joining us from small towns and they’re going to live in a residence hall that’s bigger.”

More than half of UW-Madison students — about 53% — are from Wisconsin, which was 87.6% white in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Some small communities in the state virtually consist of only one ethnic group.

For more, visit Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.