A Wisconsin school scholar on the middle of a racial controversy involving a video wherein she advised Black folks to “choose…cotton within the fields…till they die” has apologized after her antics sparked university-wide protests.
“To the College of Wisconsin–Madison scholar physique, college and neighborhood, I sincerely apologize for the dangerous actions and feedback I made in direction of African American people,” Audrey Godlewski stated Monday in an e mail to the College of Wisconsin–Madison student-run newspaper The Each day Cardinal. “My phrases have been totally disgusting and unacceptable, whether or not in public or personal. That is fully inexcusable, and I settle for full accountability for the ache and anger that I’ve induced throughout campus. Furthermore, I do know that no phrases can undo the harm I’ve induced all through the neighborhood, and for that I’m deeply sorry. I commit myself to additional reflection and studying to make sure I don’t trigger related harm sooner or later. Lastly, I want to apologize to the family and friends in my life that have been immediately affected by my decisions.”
The apology comes after practically a month of protests and calls for by Black college students for the college administration to acknowledge racial inequities, and after a web based petition was launched demanding Godlewski be expelled.
Within the video, which went viral at the start of Might, Godlewski was filmed dropping racial slurs whereas sitting in a room with pals.
“Fuck you. I’m going to kill myself,” she stated. “I hope everybody fucking misses me as a result of I’m going to return and hang-out each fucking little n—– who fucking did me improper. I actually hate all of them. I’ll make them choose fucking cotton within the fields all day lengthy till they fucking die of thirst. Their our bodies are going to dry out due to how a lot cotton they’re selecting for me.”
The speech ended as Godlewski and a buddy laughed collectively. It’s unclear what led to the rant or the way it ended up on-line.
Neither Godlewski, her household, nor a buddy accused of filming the spiel instantly responded to The Each day Beast’s requests for feedback Tuesday. Godlewski graduated from West Salem Excessive College in 2021, based on a web based yearbook, and had plans to main in nursing on the UW-Madison.
The video induced widespread furor on the College of Wisconsin-Madison, the place Godlewski is a sophomore.
“We won’t stand for this nor condone this habits and we have to take a stand,” UW-Madison scholar Darius Lassiter wrote in a Change.org petition on Might 1. “We have to set an instance for the long run college students to return and for the scholars who’ve executed the identical, however haven’t been caught.”
As of Tuesday, the petition had greater than 65,000 signatures.
UW-Madison Deputy Vice Chancellor for Range and Inclusion LaVar Charleston stated in a press release that Godlewski’s “sentiments are usually not in keeping with UW-Madison values.”
“Fairly merely, this isn’t who we’re: A couple of don’t converse for the entire,” Charleston wrote Might 2. “I, together with the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Scholar Affairs and all the UW–Madison management group, strongly and unequivocally condemn the racist sentiments expressed on this video.
“Hate in all its varieties has no place on our campus. We should reject racism and discrimination. On the identical time, as a public establishment, we’re sure by the First Modification, which protects an individual’s proper to say very offensive and hateful issues. Some have known as for the speaker of those racist phrases to be expelled. Some have known as for worse. Merely acknowledged, the regulation doesn’t enable the college to take punitive motion for phrases like these spoken in personal areas, even when these phrases are racist and hateful.”
Charleston’s assertion seemingly did nothing to quell the frustration of scholars, and UW-Madison scholar group BLK PWR Coalition was created inside 24 hours of Godlewski’s video gaining traction, The Each day Cardinal reported. The group rapidly organized a Black scholar city corridor on Might 2 and a collection of demonstrations thereafter.
On Might 3, a whole lot of scholars staged a sit-in exterior UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin’s workplace with an inventory of calls for, The Each day Cardinal beforehand reported. The calls for included the expulsion of Godlewski, a public apology from faculty officers in regards to the hurt induced, an acknowledgment from directors that systemic racism within the educational neighborhood has ensuing emotional results, and extra funding for protected areas and numerous scholar teams. BLK PWR Coalition additionally made a push for the college’s range, fairness, and inclusion departments to be re-evaluated, for a zero-tolerance coverage for hate speech, and for elevated psychological well being providers.
Later that day, college students packed right into a college corridor to debate the video, with many chastising the college’s response, or lack thereof. In keeping with The Each day Cardinal, college students criticized Dean of College students Christina Olstad for showing to brush off the scenario by handing out ice cream coupons on the Black Cultural Heart.
In a Might 4 letter to the college neighborhood, Mnookin addressed BLK PWR Coalition’s calls for however claimed the college couldn’t punish Godlewski as a result of her rant was protected by free speech legal guidelines.
“I need to once more clearly state that I, and my management group, strongly and unequivocally condemn racism, together with the blatantly racist slurs and sentiments expressed within the video,” she wrote. “[However,] there are quite a few authorized constraints each on what we will say and what we will do as a public college, although the video is each hateful and dangerous.”
The BLK PWR Coalition met once more with college directors and likewise introduced up the racist incident in the course of the faculty’s commencement ceremony, The Each day Cardinal reported.
In a press release shared with The Each day Beast, the Coalition addressed Godlewski’s apology and “white supremacist remarks.”
“Though The Coalition is glad that she acknowledges the hurt that she induced our neighborhood, we’re disenchanted that she didn’t immediately apologize to us — the BLK PWR Coalition, and UW-Madison’s Black inhabitants,” the group wrote. “As an alternative, she selected to launch her apology to campus media earlier than consulting with the folks whom her feedback immediately impacted. The Coalition is aware of that white supremacy is greater than her feedback; What she ignited is the muse on which this college stands.
“We hope that she and all white college students, college, employees, and directors rid themselves of white supremacist ideologies and microaggressions. We hope that they be part of Black college students as we proceed to demand and conjure systematic change for ourselves and future generations.”
The College of Wisconsin-Madison didn’t instantly reply to The Each day Beast’s requests for remark Tuesday.