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Statement on Sellery Hall incident

February 18, 2016

Dear UW-Madison Community,

One of the fundamental values of our campus community is to ensure that every person feels safe, welcomed, valued, and supported. The important work of ensuring true freedom and equality for all requires building a culture of humility where acts of intolerance are addressed.

On Jan. 26, printouts of swastikas and Hitler’s face were taped on the door of a student room in Sellery Residence Hall. University Housing and the Division of Student Life responded to this incident immediately, providing support to the targeted students and identifying the perpetrator. After investigating, we notified the Sellery Hall community via email and organized a discussion and support group, in keeping with the context of the situation and appropriate protocols.

When a bias incident occurs, our first priority is to respond immediately to the community most directly affected. We communicate more broadly as appropriate based on the nature of the incident. All incidents are tracked but not all of them result in a campus-wide notification.

The issues that drive this incident and others are unfortunately not unique to our campus or other campuses – they permeate our society. Addressing them requires the support of everyone in our community. We invite you to attend a Town Hall on Anti-Semitism on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Gordon Dining & Event Center as we discuss actions that will continue to address intolerance and hate.

As we move forward we should all be aware of the plentiful resources we have to support and educate ourselves. UW–Madison provides several places to gain support or to discuss incidents of bias and hate.

If you become aware of any incident that compromises the values of our community, please seek assistance from campus resources:

We call upon you, our faculty, academic and university staff, and students, to do this work – to recognize the profound impact when a few individuals bring hate and intolerance into our community, to intervene when you can, and report situations.


Lori Berquam, Vice Provost and Dean of Students

Joshua Johnson, Director, Multicultural Student Center

Jeff Novak, Director, University Housing

Patrick Sims, Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer