Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW ad-hoc study group to offer recommendations on improving Black experience on campus

Study group consists of UW students, staff, faculty, community members
Arushi Gupta

An ad-hoc study group was created over the summer to examine the Black experience at the University of Wisconsin, and is slated to deliver recommendations for improvement to Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin January 2024, according to a news release from UW.

The Ad-Hoc Study Group on the Black Community Experience, which is made up of UW students, faculty, staff along with Madison community members, is tasked with reviewing historical data on incidents affecting the Black community and UW’s responses, according to the news release.

Voting organizations celebrate National Voter Registration Day

It is expected to provide recommendations to Mnookin on how UW can improve the Black experience on campus and increase engagement with community partners.


“Black students, faculty and staff at UW-Madison have long experienced a campus climate and environment that can, at times, meaningfully inhibit a sense of belonging and the ability to flourish,” Mnookin said in the release.

The study group was formed under the direction of Mnookin following the circulation of a video in May 2023, in which a UW student used racist slurs and references. The incident resulted in the formation of the Blk Pwr Coalition who delivered demands, including requests for revaluation of UW’s diversity efforts, increased support for Black students and more, to the Office of the Chancellor shortly after the video was released.

Blk Power Coalition Operations Officer, First Wave Scholar and artist Kaleb Autman is one of three students participating in the ad-hoc study group. Autman said in order for the group’s recommendations to be successful, they must be experimental, concrete, tangible and responsive to the material conditions and culture of UW, per Mnookin’s advice.

“Most recently a video on social media last spring in which a UW–Madison student used vile, racist language had a significant and harmful impact on our Black campus community and beyond,” Mnookin said in the release. “While we have, over recent years, spearheaded a variety of efforts to support underrepresented minority members of our campus community, we recognize we still have much work to do.”

The study group has been meeting since Aug. 24 and is co-chaired by Rev. Dr. Alex Gee and Angela Byars-Winston. Rev. Dr. Alex Gee is the Center for Black Excellence and Culture founder, Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development president and founder and Fountain of Life Church lead pastor. Angela Byars-Winston is a UW professor in the Division of Internal Medicine and UW Institute for Diversity Research inaugural chair.

UW rises in latest college ranking

Associated Students of Madison Grant Allocation Committee chair and UW student Amaya Boman, who is a part of the study group, said since August, the group has been looking at historical events affecting the Black community and UW’s response to them.

“[We’ve been] going through past movements, past demands, looking at what’s been done or hasn’t been done, finding gaps,” Boman said. “Really kind of just starting from there.”

Boman said it is too early in the study to predict what kinds of recommendations the committee will give to Mnookin at the end of January 2024.

Autman said one of the group’s strengths is in its diverse body of members.

“The strength of this ad hoc committee is the vast experiences that each of the stakeholders brings to the table,” Autman said. “We do have faculty, we do have community members, we do have students, both undergrad and graduate students. And for me, personally, it has been a journey that will test the limits of both … our [the study group’s] collective ability to imagine, to ideate and also understand the … constraints of this institution.”

Autman said he hopes the study group’s recommendations are taken seriously by UW, eventually being implemented and institutionalized in the university.

Boman said the work being done by the study group over the course of the fall 2023 semester is important, but change will be made by holding UW accountable for implementing the recommendations they present.

“We’re being extremely, extremely thoughtful with what we’re asking for, how we’re going about our research process,” Boman said. “And her [Mnookin’s] response is gonna say a lot about how this university feels about the Black community.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *