Several Wisconsin Student-Athletes Call for Annual Scholarship Fund to Assist Students of Color

Jake Kocorowski

On Monday, several Wisconsin student-athletes released a message via social media calling on the university and its athletic department to establish "a $2 million annual fund" to assist students of color.

According to the statement, "this fund would raise money to provide scholarships for, but not limited to tuition, books, fees, room and board, and living cost for students of color who qualify through admissions to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison but financially may not be able to afford to attend."

Here is the statement in full:

BLM UW-Madison 2nd Demand

On behalf of the student athlete body, both current and former, we'd like to extend our thanks to UW-Madison's athletic department for accepting the adornment of the UW-Madison crest to Black on all athletic uniforms/helmets.

As we continue to move forward, we are requesting that the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW Athletic Department create a $2 million annual fund. This fund would raise money to provide scholarships for, but not limited to tuition, books, fees, room and board, and living cost for students of color who qualify through admissions to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison but financially may not be able to afford to attend. The idea behind the creation of a fund is to rapidly increase the numbers of diverse student enrollment, while removing barriers of entry for students of color who are qualifiers through admissions but lack financial support.

This fund would allow for at minimum 40 additional black students per year to attend the university, and has the potential of adding at least 200 students over the course of 5 years. The request of a fund of this nature directly addresses a topic that has been a constant issue at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; increasing the black student body that represents less than 2% of the overall student population. We ask that this fund is established and in place to disperse within the next two years, as we understand the financial stress caused by COVID-19.

Some student-athletes who have shared it on social media include:

In mid-July, Wisconsin's athletic department announced via press release that it “will include a university crest logo with a black ‘W’” on its teams' uniforms as "a show of support, inclusion and unity from Badger student-athletes, the UW Athletic Department and UW-Madison as a whole." 

UW approved that first request from a group of student-athletes who previously asked to have the crest added to their uniforms with the recommended modification via a Google form petition in June.