WHITEWATER -- A group of students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus meet on Friday, February 19th with the schools vice chancellor. This, after a pair of incidents with racial undertones. Before that meeting, the vice chancellor sat down with FOX6 News. "There's nothing that states it's illegal or against the law to make a racist video and post it out there," said UW-Whitewater Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Tom Rios.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Vice Chancellor Tom Rios, says it isn't easy for the university to discipline two students over a video -- no matter how offensive the content may be. "They may be distasteful, they may be things we don't want happening in our community but we also have to attend to the first amendment rights of people," said Rios. UW-Whitewater's Black Student Union says the university must respond strongly to a video posted on social media of two students repeatedly using the n-word.
The university says staff has met with both young women with mixed results. "One of them was considerably remorseful for the behavior and recognized that behavior was wrong," said Rios. "There's one girl who doesn't feel like it's wrong at all and there's on girl who really wants to let everyone know that she's sincerely sorry," said UW-Whitewater Black Student Union Vice President, Kyree Brooks. Brooks says he opposes anyone using the n-word but adds its presence in pop culture doesn't excuse the girls' actions. "It still doesn’t make it fine," he said, "We know what you’re referring to; it’s not cool for it to come out your mouth. Period." Brooks says the video is far worse than a picture showing two students wearing what they say are cosmetic masks. Some black students felt it was similar to black face.
Rios says the students in the picture took it upon themselves to meet with the Black Student Union and record an apology. "They tried to handle it at the peer-to-peer level and that's part of what we want," said Rios. Brooks says he hopes to meet with the one girl in the video who wants to apologize. He still wants the university to make clear there will be repercussions. "We're hoping things take off because we're definitely tired of seeing what we have been seeing in the last 24-48 hours," said Brooks. For context, there are 10,584 undergrad students enrolled at UW-Whitewater for the Fall 2015 semester; 9,118 are white while 472 are black. The university chancellor will hold another meeting with students on Tuesday, to create action plans going forward.