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UW Town Hall Panel addresses the racist attack on Black History Month Zoom meeting

Classroom building, University of Wyoming
Classroom building, University of Wyoming(Mia Johnson)
Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:06 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Last night, the University of Wyoming held a Townhall virtual panel talking about the racist virtual attack during a Black History Month Zoom meeting held last Monday.

The panel consisted of the University President, Ed Seidel, and three leaders of the Black Studies Department: Jacquelyn Bridgeman, UW’s Kepler Professor of Law and director of the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice; Timberly Vogel, Black Studies Center director of community engagement; and Fredrick Douglass Dixon, Director of UW Black Studies Center.

The meeting briefly discussed the incident, but focused more on the ‘why’ it happened. The panelists responded to questions and concerns submitted by the UW community. Most of the questions seemed to have a similar theme in common: what happens next?

“It has highlighted this in a very public way that sort of is a call to action that I heard quite loud and clear and I am here to listen,” said Seidel.

The panelists confronted the University’s unpreparedness for this scenario, and talked about the need for situation-specific protocol.

“The University does not have clear reporting, immediate support or response mechanisms,” said Bridgeman.

The UW community urged leadership to follow through on their verbal commitments with an action plan.

“We really need to rehaul how we do a number of things, if in fact, we are going to make transformative, systemic change,” said Bridgeman.

President Seidel emphasized his intent to be accountable and take tangible steps toward allyship and equity within the University.

“This is another time in history that we can push very hard on, and I hope that we become not only a thought leader on this campus...but also a place that begins to take action,” said Seidel.

Pres. Seidel shared his desire to host more panels to discuss these important issues with his colleagues and the community.

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