Racism Accounts Raise Questions
Kyle Florence
kflor654@uwsp.edu

On Friday, March 8, a student heading to the Dreyfus University Center was targeted and harassed by a group of students because of her ethnicity. The incident left students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point shocked.

“A student was walking to the DUC late at night, and as a group of people passed her, they started saying racial slurs and throwing snowballs at her,” said Mark Moua, Student Government Association’s Inclusivity Director. “She felt unsafe, so she went into the back of the UC, and later a group of friends walked her to her car, which was in a different parking lot.”

The following week, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Al Thompson reached out to both students and faculty via email, urging those with any information on the incident to come forward. Thompson also went on to clarify “this situation should not happen on our campus and will not be tolerated by the university.”

Moua said he thinks UWSP is doing a good job of addressing this issue.

“We are trying to find out who the five students are, and the more information we can get, the better,” said Moua.

According to Moua, though incidences such as these are rare, they often go unreported.

“You don’t hear people talking about it because a lot of students feel that nothing will get done. I’m very happy that this student decided to report this incident because if she hadn’t, nothing would change,” said Moua.

It would seem that many students feel the same way. Maurice Nicholson, a freshman, believes that even though racism may not always be apparent, it is still a matter that needs to be addressed.

“I don’t know if it’s a huge issue, but I think it is an issue that still happens here on campus,” said Nicholson. “I think informing and just letting people know that it’s okay to report these things is the best thing to do. Students need to be able to speak out and not be scared to speak out.”

Senior Michelle Nieuwenhuis agrees that though racism may not always be a pressing issue, it is still present.

“I have not seen any actual acts of racism, but I’ve heard stories,” Nieuwenhuis said. “I don’t think it’s too common, but I think there are a lot of people who are racist without even knowing it.”

Regardless of frequency, Moua encourages students to take action against racist accounts similar to this one.

“It is still happening, unfortunately, but with proper training and cooperation between students and the university, I feel that it is definitely an issue that we could eliminate,” said Moua. “All it takes is one person to stand up and do what’s right, and that’s what a lot of students here on campus need to do.”

Moua also stressed that students who have been a victim of or witness to a racist incident on campus can report it by filling out a Bias Report Form, which can be found on the university website.

“There’s good people looking at those reports, and though they’re not submitted often, when they are, they’re taken very seriously,” Moua said.