The Advance-Titan

Titan community gathers to address hatred, bias on campus

Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and other administration members addressed instances of hatred and bias on UW Oshkosh’s campus and discussed ways in which UWO can support, learn and positively impact society at the Titan Community Gathering on Oct. 4.

Leavitt said it is important to not only regroup as a community but to formulate a plan of action so that this campus can be a welcoming environment.

“We are striving to be a safe and inclusive place to work,” Leavitt said. “If it’s not, then we encourage you to reach out to directors or anyone here on campus so that we can fix and correct whatever is happening.”

Graduate student Kade Waldhard said the campus needs to focus on the students and the staff to make it more of an inclusive community.

“I think the best way to address bias and hatred on the campus is to have community events and address them,” Waldhard said.

Junior Imani Ware said during her freshman year she was the only African-American in class, and at times she felt left out.

“I confronted my professor about how I felt left out by the others in the class, and he was very kind and helped me out a lot,” Ware said.

Ware said her professor handled racism very well and made her feel more included in class discussions.

“All it took was me telling my professor what was happening and what my feelings were, and he made me feel more welcomed in the class,” Ware said.

Leavitt said the campus has some wonderful student leadership that can help make a positive impact on the community and student’s lives.

The UWO campus has had some issues with student safety, and in those tragic instances where somebody attacked a number of students, a bystander spoke up and was able to prevent a more serious instance from occurring, Leavitt said.

“That’s what it means to me about being a human being and first and foremost a Titan, is that we have to look out for one another and help one another,” Leavitt said.

UWO as an institution is working hard to have as much of an inclusive and welcoming environment as they can, Leavitt said.

“We will never arrive at that perfect state but we can sure try,” Leavitt said.

Black Student Union President Kevin Cathey said the campus has an obligation to make sure that everyone works together collectively to build an inclusive and supportive institutional environment.

“Each and every student, faculty member and administrator’s duty is to ensure academic success and safety and well-being of all students on this campus,” Cathey said.

Cathey said he believes people can make a difference if their voices are heard, and they can ultimately say that the University does not stand for and has zero tolerance for these violent actions.

“I believe that we can all agree that this is something that needs to be done immediately and it’s nobody’s intention to hide these types of things,” Cathey said.

Cathey said on campus there are a lot of resources that students can utilize to help build a supportive institutional environment.

“As colleagues, our main goal is to educate our students and help move them forward on to the next level,” Cathey said.

The campus needs to put all of its efforts in so that it can prevent hatred and bias issues from happening, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Art Munin said.

“The strongest thing we have to combat these issues is us and our community,” Munin said, “It’s powerful to see our community come together in a positive manner and say this is not what we expect from our campus and not what we expect to be a Titan.”

According to a handout given out at the Titan Community Gathering, students can get involved in a student organization, volunteer and attend a bystander intervention training to make a more supportive community.

Munin said he urges students to take advantage of the resources that campus provides.

“Places like the Counseling Center, Academic Support for Excellence, Equal Opportunity and Access Office and Academic Affairs are all welcoming places for everyone,” Munin said.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Titan community gathers to address hatred, bias on campus