The Associated Students of Madison chair addressed an anonymous complaint about a Black Lives Matter sign mounted on the window of the ASM office in a meeting Wednesday.
Chair Carmen Goséy said the student who filed the complaint found it offensive because ASM is a nonpartisan body and the sign is a political statement.
“Vice Chair Coker put that up and we have no intention of taking it down,” Goséy said.
Goséy, Coker and the Student Activities Center Governing Board Chair Katrina Morrison offered to speak to the student who complained.
Morrison said according to SAC policy, offices are not supposed to display offensive material, but she said she doesn’t believe Black Lives Matter is offensive or a political statement.
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Rep. Tyriek Mack said in some cases “Black Lives Matter” could be a political statement. He questioned whether ASM is endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement or just stating that black lives matter. Goséy said personally, she stands with Black Lives Matter.
“Is it a political statement? Sure, it is, but it’s a good one,” Goséy said. “It represents the work that we all strive to do.”
Coker said Black Lives Matter is not a political statement because it is common knowledge that blacks are being disproportionally killed by police. She said she put it up after the Wisconsin Union Directorate president displayed “Black Lives Matter” on all of the Unions’ TV screens and wanted to follow that momentum.
An incident in which a football game attendee dressed as President Barack Obama with a noose around his neck at Camp Randall also inspired Coker to display the sign. ASM asked University of Wisconsin Athletics to put out a statement saying black lives matter, but since they didn’t, Coker said they decided to do it themselves.
Representatives also discussed Thursday’s Day of Action event some representatives are hosting to call state legislators to voice opposition to a potential bill that would prohibit UW System schools from banning concealed carry of firearms in campus buildings.
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Rep. Katherine Kerwin said during a meeting with Dean Lori Berquam, there seems to be a lot of support, possibly enough to pass the legislation, which was proposed but didn’t receive a vote last year.
“I know I’m really afraid of the prospect of firearms in classrooms and I would hope that a lot of people in this room also really afraid, opposed to such legislation,” Kerwin said.
Kerwin said students are going to be at various locations around campus calling Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, to tell him their concerns with campus carry. She said there will be a script and number provided at the locations.
Kerwin said she wants to promote awareness and inform students that there is a chance for the legislation to pass.
Student council also passed legislation calling on students, faculty and staff to participate in a call-in day Friday demanding congresspeople advocate for Syrian people. The representatives are asking each person to call at least three times as a way to voice their concerns on the genocide in Syria.
In addition to the call-in day, the Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair Ali Khan said they are selling sweatshirts and all profits are going to a charity benefiting Syria.
Student activist Brooke Evans was also elected to student council.
— Brooke A. Evans (@iambrookeaevans) December 14, 2016