Student Senate responds to racist Snapchat messages allegedly between members of Blugold football team

The Equity in Student Matters Commission is drafting legislation addressing the issue, which will be presented at Monday’s Student Senate meeting

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Rebecca Mennecke

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Student Senate responds to racist Snapchat messages allegedly between members of Blugold football team

A photo from The Spectator archives of Student Senate. Student Senate will be voting on a new piece of legislation, which addresses the racially charged Snapchat conversation between Blugold football players, on Monday.

A photo from The Spectator archives of Student Senate. Student Senate will be voting on a new piece of legislation, which addresses the racially charged Snapchat conversation between Blugold football players, on Monday.

Photo by Robin Armagost

A photo from The Spectator archives of Student Senate. Student Senate will be voting on a new piece of legislation, which addresses the racially charged Snapchat conversation between Blugold football players, on Monday.

Photo by Robin Armagost

Photo by Robin Armagost

A photo from The Spectator archives of Student Senate. Student Senate will be voting on a new piece of legislation, which addresses the racially charged Snapchat conversation between Blugold football players, on Monday.

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Student Senate is currently drafting legislation to address the racist Snapchat conversation allegedly between Blugold football players, according to Charlie Johnson, the student body president of UW-Eau Claire, in a statement on behalf of Student Senate via email last night. 

This legislation will be presented at Monday’s Student Senate meeting at 6 p.m. in the Dakota Ballroom of the Davies Center.

“When I first learned of the incident involving members of the UW-Eau Claire football team, it became my immediate goal to make sure administration was aware of the events and had all of the pertinent information,” Johnson said. “I learned very quickly they were already aware and had begun to take the necessary steps to properly address the situation.” 

Johnson said his top priority at this time is to ensure students of marginalized groups feel safe while pursuing their studies at UW-Eau Claire. 

“It is no longer acceptable to simply denounce these acts of racism,” Johnson said. “We hold true the belief that change will only be brought about by tangible acts on behalf of administration.”

Stephanie Hoeksema, the director of the Equity in Student Matters Commission, said she is the main author of the resolution, which condemns the racist rhetoric of the players on the Blugold football team, Hoeksema said. She said although the messages targeted BME, they “hold weight” for other students — particularly for students of color. 

“Obviously we condemn the incident and all other forms of oppression,” Hoeksema said. “We want the administration to show exemplary behavior for dealing with this and other bias incidents, want expectations set for people that choose to enter the campus community, and want the highest disciplinary taken towards the perpetrators.” 

Johnson said currently Student Senate has not planned any open forums to discuss the incident. 

He said the Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting an event called “Deconstructing Racism at UWEC.” The event will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Nov. 21) in Centennial Hall 1108. 

According to the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Facebook page, OMA will be “offering space for Students of Color to deconstruct racism at UWEC and to develop a list of demands and concerns they would like to convey to higher administration. We will always highlight the amazing accomplishments of Students of Color but we will always recognize that Students of Color are complex, unique individuals and we want to highlight all of their experiences. We want to amplify the voices of our students and to give them space to express their concerns and work together in solidarity.” 

Mary Stoutenberg, a student senator, addressed the racist Snapchat exchange on her personal Facebook page. 

“Jokes about historical violence towards marginalized identities are wrong,” Stoutenberg said. “This is racist, plain and simple. UWEC needs to make specific, actionable steps towards being a more inclusive environment.” 

Johnson said the new legislation will “condemn these acts of hate, as well as make specific calls to action.” 

“This incident will not be swept under the rug,” Johnson said. “Until proper action is taken this will be at the forefront of our list of priorities.” 

Johnson said at this point, he is not in the position to share any further details regarding the situation. 

This is part of an ongoing story. More updates to come.

(Note: Charlie Johnson spoke on behalf of Student Senate. Each of the other senators named as a part of this story speak on their own behalf and not on behalf of Student Senate as a whole.)

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected]

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