I went home for Spring Break and saw the difference in the space I filled. For a week or so, I felt that this time, my body was meant to be here. My experience at UW varies on how quickly I can make it from my dorm room to class. I no longer feel that I belong here. This isn’t an experience anymore. I feel that a part of me is only here to give this school a reason to use the word “diversity” on their website.

In reality, how can I call myself a Badger if I only feel like a brown boy who searches for spaces that can keep me safe? Shouldn’t this university be a safe space? Shouldn’t being of color and a scholar be a cohesive pair instead of a separate entity?

There is no possible way to address racism on this campus if those that are committing these discriminatory slurs remain anonymous. As weeks pass, midterms pass, finals on the way, I shouldn’t have to balance my mental and emotional health while amidst the racism that my friends and I encounter, every single day. I’ve been a witness to the hopeful students taking a tour of UW and I wonder if they know how this campus treats their students of color? I wonder if being of color is something they think about? Do you acknowledge us besides our music at the late night parties? Do you see us protesting our bodies on the streets instead of asking us how we can teach you how to twerk?

Being on this campus is a protest. Existing like I am today, brown, is a protest. I would consider this a rant, but if my voice is only heard if the incident is sent in an email the morning after, did it really happen? Would I matter more if I was white? Would I matter at all if my protest was only behind closed doors?

Tweeting to @UW-Madison on Twitter and receiving a response within minutes will not change the fact that UW can answer their students on social media, but cannot answer the real question that walks up and down Bascom: racism.

I don’t want another biased incident email. I know what it feels like to be the biased incident. I want a climate change that won’t keep putting people of color into the fire, and letting them burn.

-Francisco Velazquez