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Minority students respond to racial posters on UW-Madison campus

MADISON (WKOW) — UW-Madison officials say a series of posters placed around campus overnight are part of ongoing racial concerns at the university.

University officials say the signs were part of a protest campaign calling attention to experiences of under-represented students.

This comes just weeks after the university took down a controversial homecoming video that many felt didn’t represent the entire campus community.

“There was a sign posted on Science Hall that said that ‘UW is 4 white people’,” said Glenn Harris, a junior at UW and student of color.

Students initially felt targeted by the statements, but as soon as they learned about the protests, they felt that it would start a discussion on the issue of racial discrimination on campus.

“A lot of people are upset about how they went about it but the issues and conversations about race on campus is something that many people say needs to happen,” Jeremy Sanford, a sophomore, said.

He says he understands why the sign was put up.

“I do feel like I am a minority on campus”, Sanford said. “As a black man, it’s something that I constantly have to think about and have in the back of my mind and I don’t feel entirely welcome here. This is a foreign place.”

For Sanford, and many other underrepresented students, that statement wasn’t a threat.

“I think that the statement is really felt by students of color and really asserted some of the feelings that we have but aren’t heard,” Harris said.

He says the campus feels like it’s a turbulent atmosphere in terms of discrimination and racial issues.

For him, there is only one way to try and move past it.

“All of this lies around having those difficult conversations to move us forward,” Harris said.

Sanford says he’s glad this incident is getting so much attention.

“I think the protest is a net positive, even though it may have upset some people initially, I think the conversation that it’s starting up is important,” he said.

Victoria Saha

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