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Statement Against Racism and Hate

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to providing inclusive, equitable and accessible opportunities and environments to students, stakeholders, partners, staff and faculty from all backgrounds. We aim to build a college free from exclusion, discrimination, hate and racism in our academics, research, outreach, administration and the life of the college.

Racism, hate, colonialism and discrimination show themselves in many forms, sometimes with malicious intent and often as unconscious bias. We acknowledge that their wide-ranging effects can come from actions or inactions of individuals, as well as from the policies and practices of institutions. In any form, these are harmful to individuals, our college, the university and society. Our goal is to establish systems and structures in CALS that protect against discrimination and build a welcoming community where everyone feels they belong.

As a college, we recognize our history of underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and other people of color in teaching, research and outreach in the agricultural and life sciences. Our classrooms, laboratories and research stations occupy the ancestral lands of the Native Nations of Wisconsin. Moreover, lands of Native peoples were violently taken by the U.S. government, and their redistribution created an early investment that funded land-grant universities, including ours. We commit to exploring our history and evaluating our current systems to identify and address any areas of inequity in the college.

We also expect members of our college community to commit to fighting racism and hate individually. We call on the college’s faculty, staff and students to engage in self-reflection and examine their own biases and prejudices, and to educate themselves about systems that have created inequalities and use their voices and actions to create change.

Members of underrepresented groups have shouldered the weight of anti-racist and anti-hate endeavors for years. It should not and cannot be the responsibility of those most affected to solve these issues; it is not the job of individuals from underrepresented groups to teach others. We must all be active participants in expecting and enabling meaningful change and creating an anti-racist culture.

As a college, we must individually and communally identify and confront bias, prejudice, racism, colonialism and hate and their impacts on our students, staff and faculty. As UW–Madison strives to advance its mission by “[embodying], through its policies and programs, respect for, and commitment to, the ideals of a pluralistic, multiracial, open and democratic society,” the college celebrates the diverse life experiences of all our community members.