Yesterday’s student activism in response to the Center for Equal Opportunity’s “study” on affirmative action practices at UW-Madison was awe-inspiring. Students were articulate, passionate, and poised. They made their voices heard in powerful ways. They brought me to tears.
On the other hand, some observers of their actions were downright racist. Most notable among them was the Doubletree Hotel, site of the morning’s press conference. By evening, Madison newspapers were reporting that a Doubletree press release called the students a “mob.” Yes, a group of UW-Madison students, mostly students of color, was labeled by hotel management with a word meaning “disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. I was standing in the hotel lobby when the action began. The students were organized-not disorderly–and most definitely not intent on causing trouble or violence. They came to speak with Roger Clegg, who organized a public press conference, and let him hear the faces and voices students whom he claimed were admitted to Madison without proper qualifications.
There was no “mob” at the Doubletree Hotel yesterday. This local hotel, so often patronized by those associated with UW-Madison, should be ashamed of its employees who used such slander in describing Madison students. They witnessed vocal, spirited students of color and were afraid. That is appalling.
UW-Madison can choose to whom it gives University business. Until this issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the campus community, in my opinion it should boycott the Doubletree.