I am writing to complain about the deplorable behavior of some undergraduates before the Wisconsin vs. Purdue game. I grew up in Madison and am a University of Wisconsin alumna. I recently moved back to Madison after spending seven years on the East Coast, and I am currently enrolled here as a visiting graduate student.
Yesterday as I walked along the Southwest Commuter Path toward Camp Randall, a small group of intoxicated undergraduate women cut through the brush and began walking behind me. They remarked, “She’s SO not Wisconsin. FAIL!” and proceeded to critique my apparently offensive attire. (The rage-inducing apparel consisted of blue jeans, a white sweater, a red necklace, ballet flats and a green field jacket.)
At no point had I engaged with these women; their comments were unsolicited and unprovoked. They grew increasingly disgruntled as I ignored them. Finally, I turned around and announced that I could hear them. They responded, “We know, and we don’t care. Fuck you, bitch.” I ignored them and continued walking, but the encounter ruined my day and diminished my respect for this university and its student body. If these women found it necessary to be openly hostile to me, I can only imagine how they treated Purdue’s supporters yesterday.
I do not pretend to offer a simple solution. This sort of behavior results from the binge-drinking that is so deeply ingrained in the University of Wisconsin experience, and I know that the university’s efforts to change that culture have failed time and time again. I simply want to spread awareness because incidents like this undermine the University of Wisconsin’s reputation as a respectable institution and endanger the value of a Wisconsin degree. If this letter inspires even a handful of over served students to exhibit better decorum on game days, it will have been worth the effort.
Elizabeth Hill (email@example.com) is a visiting graduate student.