Racist Snapchat conversation emerges between members of Blugold football team

Dennis Beale, the founder of Black Male Empowerment, says he is ‘appalled’ by the interactions between student football players on social media

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

Photo by Submitted

This image of a Snapchat group chat depicts a racist interaction between UW-Eau Claire football players that was released in November 2019.

On Tuesday, members of UW-Eau Claire’s Black Male Empowerment organization released images of a Snapchat message chain featuring members of the Blugold football team mocking the BME using racially-charged imagery and references.

Anthony Rauch, a third-year student, allegedly sent a photo of a burning cross and members of the Ku Klux Klan to the chat with the caption: 

“For all who can’t make the BME meeting, Bryson and I are holding WME (White Male Empowerment) tonight at 7.”

The photo indicates Conrad Bolz, a third-year student; Jeremiah Crisostomo; Oscar Gonzalez, a third-year student and Jack Drake, a third-year student followed with additional comments. 

“Bryson is the grand wizard,” Drake said. 

A grand wizard is a title given to a national leader of the KKK.

“I’ll be there like 5 mins late,” Bolz said in a response. “Think the cross will still be burning? Don’t want to miss that again.”

Crisostomo then contributed to the chain by asking why they were “wasting wood” burning a cross. Gonzalez then said the group should burn a person who doesn’t share their views or who “looks a little different.”

After the message chain was shared on Facebook and Twitter, Dennis Beale, the founder of BME, addressed the issue via the BME Facebook page.

“I am appalled about what I have seen on social media,” Beale said. “This group was designed to help change the perception of African American Males on a predominantly white campus. Along with exemplifying the black excellence that these young men display on a daily basis. It is very disturbing to see the backlash we get from the people in our own backyard.”

Shortly after the message chain was shared, Chancellor James C. Schmidt addressed the issue in a statement that was released across media platforms.

“Our campus will not tolerate this racist action,” Schmidt said. “I have asked the Dean of Students Office to investigate and take appropriate action.”

 More updates to follow.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected].