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Badgers hold united march calling for diversity on campus

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WKOW (MADISON)- The UW athletes are continuing to use their platform calling for more diversity on campus. On Friday, they held a rally with more than 200 people from UW Athletics walking from Camp Randall to Bascom Hill pushing for change.

UW athletes Armoni Brown and Samad Qawi organized the rally.

"Sometimes people forget, before I am a student athlete, I am a black person," Track and Field Athlete Armoni Brown said. "When people see me, they don't see me as a student-athlete, they see the color of my skin."

"I just got on the team last year, my senior year, as a walk-on," Former UW Men's Basketball Player Samad Qawi said. "So I was a student for the first three years of my college experience, and yes I was very isolated, I felt alone. I was subject to a lot of racial and biased incidents so I always had this feeling that I had to do something when I had the power."

They want to see more students of color on campus. The athletes that spoke Friday said black students represent less than two percent of the UW student population, saying it's obvious walking around campus.

"No matter what corner you turn, what classroom you walk into, what place you go eat, you'll be surrounded by white people," UW Football Quarterback Jack Coan said.

"It's crazy to me that the United States is made up of so many different kinds of people, so many different races, so many different colors of people, but it seems like only one type of person is represented here."

The athletes met with administration on Thursday night saying they are listening and understanding, but they want to see the University address admissions and policies.

"We cannot directly affect change until people until people who are not directly affected by what's going on realize what is happening right now," UW Football Cornerback Faion Hicks said.

Shortly after the march ended, the athletic department announced a new diversity, equity, and inclusions strategic plan designed to establish a framework to help facilitate a diverse inclusive culture.

The athletic department has been working on the plan for months.

"I think it does start with infrastructure making sure we've got the appropriate talent in place and support systems available and resources dedicated for these efforts," Associate Athletic Director Mike Jackson said.

"Then, from there, it's making sure we've got sufficient programming in place so that the students see that we're pouring resources into them outside of what they do in their field of performance. Lastly, it really is centered around risk mitigation."

Karley Marotta

Weekend Sports Anchor

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