UW-Eau Claire introduces a new center for racial and restorative justice

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Earlier this year, Dr. Warren Anderson, UW Eau Claire’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity, inclusion and student affairs, had visions to change the university in big ways.

Then, school leadership had to shift its focus to COVID-19 relief and safety.

Now, Dr. Anderson- along with many others, is excited to unveil plans for a new center on campus.

It’s a concept which has blossomed for leadership at UWEC.

“I went to executive staff and they were all about getting this done, I went to our foundation and they just went gang busters in raising money,” said Anderson.

The vice chancellor says the new center for racial and restorative justice is part of a plan to make the campus stand out as a source of discussion on race relations.

“This center is really meant to be a place that we can really openly discuss the concept of race. Openly discuss what it means in our everyday life, but more importantly look at ways in which no matter which race you identify with, we can all work together to create the strongest university that we possibly could.”

Dr. Anderson believes the new addition to the UWEC campus couldn’t have come at a better time.

“The concept of race is something that goes back many generations. And depending on what race you identify with it can be a painful reminder of the past, a lot of the things we are seeing today ... This is a concept most people run from, we want to take it head on. We want to tackle those difficult conversations, we want to make sure that as we do research it really focuses on how we can build a bridge.”

Building bridges - not only on campus and between students. But, also connecting with the greater Eau Claire area. Anderson told WEAU,

“This center while it’s at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, it really is meant to be a center piece of race and racial injustice for the entire region, so a lot of the things we are going to do in the center will be open for the public to be a part of, when it’s safe of course.”

Dr. Anderson wanted to have as much student and faculty feedback before officially starting the project. The hope is for the center to be completed by the end of 2020. But, will soon kick off in a virtual setting.

The center will hold its first monthly program - “Racing Towards Justice” - on September 29th. The event will also be made available to the public in addition to students and faculty.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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