Home > UW-La Crosse Works to Reduce Hate Crimes on Campus
UW-La Crosse Works to Reduce Hate Crimes on Campus
By Maureen McCollum
Thursday, August 23, 2012, 5:15pm
As the school year approaches, UW-La Crosse faculty and staff are gearing up to cut back on the number of hate crimes and incidents on campus.
Last school year, UWL officials reported 48 hate and bias incidents on campus. That is more than double the number from the previous year. UWL Associate Dean for Campus Climate and Diversity Barbara Stewart says there are two main reasons for the upswing, "We're in very interesting times right now as a society, very polarized. I think that some of that reflects the way we treat each other as individuals, and certainly not that I'm saying people are doing a lot of that, but there are incidents where people are very deliberately hateful and hurtful and we want to know about that."
Stewart says the other reason hate incident numbers are up is because students and staff have been more encouraged to report them. UWL has an online reporting form that can be submitted anonymously. A Hate Response Team then reviews it immediately.
Shane Windmeyer is the Executive Director of Campus Pride, which runs the national program Stop the Hate. He trained UWL faculty and staff this week on how to combat incidents before they become a hate crime. Windmeyer says it comes down to speaking up when someone says something hurtful. "It's not about political correctness; it's about holding people accountable for their language. It's about ultimately, at the end of the day, creating understanding and creating a safe learning environment for all students so they can learn, live and grow on the campus community."
Windmeyer says UWL is leading the way in Wisconsin when it comes to hate crime prevention.