As a way to make amends for America’s long, violent history of racial terror, slavery and Jim Crow, the University of Wisconsin-Madison student government drafted a resolution that would grant Black students free tuition and housing that would help level out centuries of racial inequities.
The Associated Students of Madison’s resolution proposes that Black students and former inmates be given free housing and pay no fees or tuition once accepted to the university, reported The Associated Press Thursday, Feb. 16.
“The university’s rhetoric suggests that it is committed to diversity and inclusion, so this legislation compels the university to move towards action — which is imperative,” the resolution’s author, ASM Student Council Rep. Tyriek Mack, said in a statement. “If no one challenges the university’s empty promises, then the racial composition will remain stagnant.”
UW has been rocked by a slew of racial incidents including a student who tried to start a white nationalist group on campus had pleaded guilty in the arson of two Black churches. Swastikas and racial slurs were spray-painted on a Jewish student’s door, an assailant spat at a Black student and other incidents prompted ASM members to act, according to the Associated Press.
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ASM Students want to use 10 percent of donations coming into the university to increase financial aid and study whether or not test-optional and geographically weighted admissions are feasible.
Critics of the resolution have recommended that ACT and SAT scores be considered with the students’ applications, but members of the student government believe that the scores restrict opportunities for the poor and uphold “white supremacy.”
After the proposal was announced, University spokesperson Meredith McGlone said the school supports the intent behind the resolution, but the administration isn’t clear whether its methods are legal. McGlone also said that university officials know the best way to implement it.