Investigation continues into racist messages at UWEC

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This week, a message depicting a Ku Klux Klan rally surfaced from a private Snapchat group involving some UW-Eau Claire football players.

The university immediately suspended five students from the team, and is currently conducting an investigation.

In a statement, Chancellor Jim Schmidt says in part,

"I want to personally condemn the social media posts. They were despicable and disgusting. The use of an image of a burning cross at an apparent Ku Klux Klan rally is especially disturbing."

Students were also taken aback by the post.

Lucas Liu is an international student from Malaysia.

"Why UWEC of all places. They promote about having equality and having all the other benefits without any racism or anything. So yeah, I'm quite shocked," said Liu.

Schmidt met with the Black Male Empowerment group on Wednesday, that's the group the message was directed at.

"It was pretty genuine from the Chancellor. It was just him and our advisers, that was the only faculty present. But I feel like it was pretty down to earth," said BME President Lewis Balom.

In addition to the suspensions from the team, the university announced all social media groups involving athletic teams are suspended unless they're monitored by athletics staff.

BME members want the university to do more.

"We see their slight actions, but we're not happy about that. Because they've done the same thing before," said Balom.

But students around campus are glad the university is responding, even in the beginning stages.

"I think it's good to take action and speak out," said UWEC Senior Jared Rogers.

"I'm not exactly sure what should happen. But I'm glad to see there's being actions taken," added UWEC Sophomore Tanner Troutt.

There was also an emergency meeting held among the football team to address the incident.

All players were informed that any racist behavior is not acceptable for anyone who represents UW-Eau Claire.

Schmidt says he is committed to finishing the investigation and deciding whether further action needs to be taken in a timely manner.

He expects to have an update before students leave for Thanksgiving break on Tuesday.