UW-Eau Claire professor talks moving forward after racist incident

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- UW-Eau Claire officials say there are no new updates into the investigation involving a group of football players accused of sending a series of racist social media messages.

Nearly two weeks after the players were suspended from the team, the incident continues to impact the campus. UW-Eau Claire History Professor Ducksworth-Lawton says the incident was “racialized bullying”.

"I was shocked but not surprised. We have a national problem right now with these incidents,” she said. Several campus organizations have spoken out against racism and discrimination of any kind at UW-Eau Claire. Ducksworth-Lawton says there have been other incidents over the years targeting other groups.

In the past two week meetings have been held between students, faculty, and staff to address concerns.
Ducksworth-Lawton says the difference this time is the campus is being proactive about how it is responding to it.

From discussions of amending the faculty and staff handbook to training on how to deal with issues like this. Monday the Chancellor’s office sent out a memo to the campus announcing the intent to form a Rapid Action Task Force. The group will be made up of 11 to 13 members of students and staff to come up with immediate solutions.

Professor Ducksworth-Lawton says the most important thing to note is the campus is working together to come up with solutions. "I think Chancellor Jim is moving in the right direction and I’m very grateful for his leadership in that regard," she said.

She says moving forward will require acknowledgement of wrongdoing from those involved.