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University of Wisconsin Duluth-Superior Defends Writing 'Unfair' on White Students' Faces

| by Michael Allen

The University of Wisconsin Duluth-Superior is standing by a controversial campaign launched to increase public awareness about racial favoritism by writing “unfair” on white students’ faces.

Also written on white students' faces were a variety of grievances supposedly shared by minorities against Caucasians.

The University of Wisconsin Duluth-Superior released a statement last week defending the project:

The Duluth-Superior community's Unfair Campaign is a public awareness initiative conceived in 2011 and launched in 2012 by the Duluth YWCA and a local ad agency.  The goal is to promote racial justice and greater understanding about the thorny, persistent issues around racism.

Some misleading reports about this campaign have suggested UW-Superior is the sole sponsor. In fact, the campus is part of a coalition of 16 third-party community sponsors. That coalition includes a wide range of education, civic, religious, and service organizations. Other media accounts have implied that the UW-Superior used its classrooms and faculty to formally instruct students about the campaign. That too is false.  

The creative materials for the campaign's initial phase, launched in January 2012, were designed to be very provocative.  UW-Superior understood and expressed serious concern about the nature of these materials. However, rather than abandon a well-intentioned effort, UW-Superior chose to continue working with the other community partners to help refocus the campaign's future direction.

UW-Superior and the other community partners played a pivotal role in helping to reshape the message in ways that center the message on racism and disparities caused by racism, without alienating any single group in the process.

As a result, the Unfair Campaign's second phase, "Racism: Ignore It And It Won't Go Away," was launched summer of 2012. At a recent series of community meetings, residents of the community have already begun to chart its future course.

UW-Superior was proud to host diversity dialogues that took place throughout campus last year. They provided the campus community -- students, faculty, and staff alike -- an opportunity to engage in open, heartfelt discussions.

In keeping with its mission as a public university, UW-Superior convened these public events to demonstrate respect for diverse cultures. We have an obligation to engage in difficult conversations about complex, even controversial social issues, with a goal of finding workable solutions.

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Source: University of Wisconsin Duluth-Superior