A message to our community

Members of the Campus Community,

In recent days, incidents at Mizzou and other universities have sparked a national conversation about equity and inclusion in higher education.

Here in Madison, last night’s Black Out March brought together hundreds of Badgers of all races and ethnicities. It was a powerful example of our community uniting to support those at Mizzou, fighting to end racism and pressing for improvements in our own institutional efforts.

At UW-Madison, we are proud of our long history of activism and dedication to equity for marginalized groups. It is part of who we are and we have accomplished much through the hard work of many.

But at the same time, we recognize that there is much more work to be done. We seek to address these inequities in a partnership with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

Our campus has not been immune to incidents and threats that have surfaced elsewhere. While individuals are always free to express their own beliefs, no one is entitled to express them in ways that diminish others, or that devalues the presence of anyone that is part of our Badger community.

We must work together to ensure that this is a community where people can live, work and learn. To that end, we have also launched the implementation of our Diversity Framework, via our Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate, to pursue major goals and develop accountability measures.

As part of the implementation framework, we’re developing a campus climate survey to better understand and benchmark how faculty, staff and students experience UW and guide future improvement. Even in tight budget times, we are continuing to make diversity a core priority.

These efforts are important and we will continue to press ahead with them in collaboration with our community. It’s our goal to inspire everyone to think about how they might contribute to building a better university.

We look forward to talking—and listening—more in the days to come.

— To learn more about the Diversity Framework implementation, visit http://diversityframework.wisc.edu/

— To report an incident of hate or bias, visit http://go.wisc.edu/reporting

— To learn more about the Office for Equity and Diversity, visit http://oed.wisc.edu/

Chancellor Rebecca Blank

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf

Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate Patrick Sims

Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Life Lori Berquam

Associated Students of Madison Chair Madison Laning

Updated by Chancellor Blank, Monday, Nov. 16: “By long tradition, the university supports the protections for free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. The message sent to the campus community on November 13 was intended as an appeal for civility and respect in how we deal with each other as a community.  It was not meant to imply a limitation on individual speech. We embrace the mission of a public university to foster the expression of differing views,  but always encourage a dialogue in which all sides listen to the arguments and concerns of others.”