Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Student-of-color groups segregate campus

I wonder what would happen if a UW student started a club for white students.

Let’s say Johnny wants to start a club celebrating white culture. The Italian Renaissance. The contributions of European men to science. Roman architecture. The club: the Caucasian Culture Club.

Would there be outrage on campus?

Or what if a student wanted to start the White Student Union? Is there anything wrong with that, given that several years ago there existed a Black Student Union?

Clubs like these seem to point more toward a self-segregation of sorts at UW than an increase in diversity.

Why is there such a difference between black and white at Madison?

Students in Madison seem to be caught up in increasing “diversity,” but the word is being perverted to mean, “a liberal, politically correct point of view skewed toward serving non-white students.” What of that student who disagrees with current efforts to increase “diversity?” I highly doubt his diverse views are being heard or represented with student fees.

Let’s consider another student, Timmy. Timmy feels that recent efforts to increase “diversity” by increasing minority enrollment at UW are ludicrous and that real diversity has less to do with race than with viewpoints.

He wants to create a new student organization to oppose directed efforts to increase minority enrollment at UW. He’d like the groups to create special services for white students – and he would like to use student money to further his cause.

Timmy sets up his organization and gets it legitimized as a registered student organization, another hypothetical Caucasian Culture Club, or CCC for short. He applies for funding with a well-thought-out budget.

A well-thought-out, already-existing budget. Timmy doesn’t even need to write it. He simply submits a budget identical to the MCSC’s recent budget proposal, explaining his reasoning as the opposite of that of the MCSC. It would provide special services for white students that feel victimized and special tutoring for white students.

Basically, for every action the MCSC takes, Timmy wants the CCC to take the equal action – for white students.

It seems unlikely that SSFC would grant the CCC some $550,000 — because it would be racist to provide services only to white students. But why, then, is it “diverse” to provide services specifically for students of color?

Because here at UW-Madison we are more worried about being labeled racist than we are concerned about creating a truly open dialogue about race and freedom of expression on campus, and the Student Services Finance Committee is leading the charge.

The SSFC can claim all they want that the CCC would receive as much funding as the MCSC did, but I wouldn’t believe them. Actually, I should say I hope they claim that, because according to the Supreme Court, SSFC is obliged to be viewpoint-neutral.

In theory, SSFC must consider a group’s merits — not based on the group’s ideology, but only on its relevance and usefulness to students. Obviously, SSFC was not considering this when it funded Wunk Sheek with over $100,000, although fewer than 1 percent of UW-Madison students are Native American.

That said, the CCC could actually make a case that it should receive more funding than the MCSC did; since there are more white students on campus than there are minorities, the CCC would in theory serve more students than MCSC does.

Everyone knows, though, that it wouldn’t work this way. If SSFC funded a Caucasian Culture Club, SSFC would be blasted as racist from all sides, even though SSFC would be doing nothing more than providing funding in a viewpoint-neutral manner as stipulated by the Supreme Court.

SSFC is missing the spirit of the diversity charge. The solution to the lack of diversity on campus is not to throw money at groups that only serve one subset of students. Timmy’s CCC should not be funded by student fees. And neither should the MCSC.

If students on this campus are going to overcome the highly racialized atmosphere at Madison, then all students have to recognize that diversity comes in many forms, not just in non-white-student form.

As long as students continue to segregate themselves with groups like the MCSC, there will never be racial harmony on campus.

Only by recognizing the diversity in all students will we overcome the racist view that only students of color are entitled to special privileges.

Jamie Seiberlich is a junior majoring in journalism and English. She in no way endorses the formation of a Caucasian Culture Club.

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