In addition to spending up to $200,000 on new so-called “cultural competency training” for incoming students, the University of Wisconsin Madison is also weighing more than 100 student and staff proposals to improve the “campus climate”.
Since May, a 15-person committee has been reviewing a total of 107 proposals submitted by students and staff, and it will eventually make recommendations to the university’s chancellor.
They’re quite the grab-bag of ideas, Heat Street’s review found.
One student calls for an overhaul of the curriculum, complaining that it is too focused on “white elite male authors and intellectuals.”
In another, a student and a staffer begin their submission with, “My proposal is to create a space to reflect on the root of many problems: masculinity.”
Meanwhile, a faculty member suggested a “cheesy, informal and fun” new publication called the “Stall Seat Journal,” hung above urinals and in bathroom stalls. Its articles would focus on microaggressions, diversity, campus climate, drinking and drugs and other issues.
Another proposal demands, among other things, an opening ceremony that “addresses the fact that this campus has a history of racism, classism, sexism and other –isms that will not be tolerated.”
It also calls for the “establishment of safe spaces for Black students, Latinx students, Native American students, and other students of racial and ethnic minorities,” claiming that “it is a travesty that they do not exist at UW-Madison.”
Several of the proposals call for the university to mandate new courses on race and diversity, preferably taught by minority faculty.
“Not sure where the money would come from, but I do know our faculty is passionate about reform and I think would be interested in helping run this course,” one proposal says.
Yet another proposal, submitted by the Multicultural Student Coalition, suggests that the university fund what it dubs BADGER LOVE, “a semester of creative, interesting, fun, informative, and stomach-filling events to attend” so that “students will feel a sense of belonging and community.” Among its suggested events: a graffiti workshop, as well as something the proposal describes only as “Sex Out Loud.”
UW Madison solicited the proposals in March. In an open letter to the campus, the chancellor, Rebecca Blank, wrote that the university had “seen a troubling string of incidents reported through our hate & bias reporting system that have directly affected and hurt members of our diverse community.”
Tensions continued throughout spring semester, culminating in protests, a walk-out from classes, and a lengthy list of demands issued by student activists.
At the time, Chancellor Blank said many of the protestors’ demands were “[not] reasonable, or even lawful, for me to take.”
Good luck with those proposals.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.