Friday morning, two protestors at the corner of Park Street and University Avenue wore nooses to raise awareness for climate change.
The University of Wisconsin Police Department, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement, and the Division of Student Life responded at the site of the protest. The office of Chancellor Rebecca Blank released a statement on the implications of nooses as a means of protest.
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“Nooses are a hateful symbol, with deep impacts to our students, faculty, staff and community,” Blank’s statement said. “Their use to amplify any issue is misguided, hurtful and contrary to UW–Madison’s values of civility, respect and inclusion.”
UW staff remained on the scene to support community members witnessing the protest, as well as urge the protesters to reconsider their message.
The protestors removed the nooses and left.
Later Friday afternoon, UW Communications Director Meredith McGlone sent The Badger Herald a statement from the protestors. In the statement, they expressed regret for their choices and said they didn’t think about the wider historical context the noose symbol has in the United States.
The protestors said they were inspired by a European protest where activists stood on melting ice blocks with nooses around their necks.
The protestors said they are taking action through a restorative justice process.
“We would like the people we hurt to know that while we can’t truly understand the emotions you are feeling, we realize and are ashamed of the harm we have caused,” the protestors’ statement said. “Again, we are sorry and want you to know we are learning from this.”
Update Friday afternoon: This article has been updated to include information from a statement sent to the Badger Herald expressing the views of the protestors.