We Need a Multicultural Space in the Wisconsin School of Business!

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As of Fall 2019, 8% of undergraduate students enrolled in the Wisconsin School of Business were underrepresented minorities. 56 African Americans, 34 Asian Americans, 25 Native Americans, and 150 Hispanic Americans. These numbers are out of a total of 3206 enrolled undergraduate students at the WSB. It might sound astonishing, but imagine experiencing its daily effects..

College is the foundation of life for many. It is a place we begin to discover who we are as a person. The people you meet, the classes you take, the orgs you join, can all have a lasting impact on the rest of your career. Well, so can your learning environment and the support of your institution.  It is important to be in an environment that assists you to excel. And for some people, the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and more specifically, the Wisconsin School of Business, does not offer them this same support and assistance as it does others.

After reflecting on my experience, as well as the other experiences of students of color in the School of Business, I’ve noticed the similarities in stories. Stories that say the WSB is dominated by “too many white males”. It often feels like a “cold” place to be in. It is “unwelcoming”. Many students of color get stared at. The list goes on and on. It is clear that when I, a black woman from a low socioeconomic status, comes into this building, I am made to feel as if I don’t belong here and it is not designed for my success. We are plastered all over the walls, and brochures of the WSB, but are not truly heard or prioritized. And as a student who demands to be heard and respected, I am pushing for a redesign. A redesign that models inclusivity. A redesign that models cultural competency. A redesign that listens to its students concerns and needs. A much-needed redesign.

I am petitioning to place a multicultural space within the Wisconsin School of Business. The intentionality is to cultivate a “safe space” for students, staff, and faculty of color. It will be used to study, network, lounge, or just be surrounded by other individuals that share similar backgrounds. It will also be used to create an open and collaborative environment for ideas, opportunities, and growth. It is NOT furthering segregation. It is the walk behind the talk of diversity and inclusion. It is the tangible proof that the Wisconsin School of Business cares about its students and the quality of their experience. It is the action behind the “exemplary learning environment” that the WSB is striving for, according to the WSB Diversity and Inclusion website. We, as a body of students of color, are ready to feel at home. And it starts here.  

- Nalah McWhorter

 

(Any questions/comments/concerns, I can be contacted at nmcwhorter@wisc.edu)