Reports of racial vandalism post election at UWSP
Just days after the election, a UWSP student is the target of racist vandalism. Now he's speaking out about the problems students of color are facing on campus.
Jerron Baldwin, or Bubba as he's known, is a second semester junior at UW-Stevens Point from Kenosha.
He's been on campus since his freshman year and has recently felt unsafe. Baldwin explained, "I'm a big dude I don't think anyone would mess with me. But now I don't feel comfortable half the time walking on campus"
He's a theater major and works as a C.A. at one of the halls on campus. On Thursday Baldwin found a racial slur written on his door. With the words 'Trump 4 Prez' written in permanent black marker. "I was upset for a good five or ten minutes. But it is sad to say you just get numb to it because you just expect it now. No one should have to feel like that," said Baldwin.
Friday morning the university administration sent out an email to staff and students condemning racial actions.
It went on to say, "We welcome and value diversity, including diversity of opinions. Pointers disagree agreeably and respect other points of view."
When asked about the recent election and if it could be behind the recent incidents, Chancellor Bernie Patterson had this to say. "Maybe some people feel more embolden to speak out. And speaking out is one thing but when it turns to racial slurs and making people feel intimidated that's something else and that's what we intend to address."
Students like Baldwin and senior Rasheeda Bryant say an email is not enough. Bryant said, "I'd like faculty to be trained. For faculty to be trained to stand up for students who are attacked in class and for a curriculum to fit diversity students."
Patterson said the University has seen a hike in racial incidents since last spring and has taken steps toward amending the problems. Patterson said UWSP is looking at providing classes for staff and faculty to help students cope with adversity.
After reports of students being harassed by white males in trucks on campus yelling racial slurs, the University said it has increased campus patrols with the Stevens Point Police Department.
The Chancellor went on to say he hopes to fill open positions and hire more students for campus security.
"We want everyone to feel safe. This is a number one priority and so we are paying attention," said the Patterson on campus safety.
But for Baldwin, he wants respectful conversations. "I really challenge people to have conversations and come up with solutions before people get hurt," said Baldwin.
On Monday the university will hold a campus meeting with the chancellor. Giving students a direct opportunity to state their concerns with administration.
Next Thursday the community will hold a unity discussion where members of the community are invited to voice concerns and have a safe conversation.
University Wisconsin Stevens Point has more than 900 American diversity students on campus.