University responds to Langdon incident

June 9, 2011 By John Lucas

University of Wisconsin–Madison staff from the Division of Student Life and the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate responded Thursday to reports of a life-sized Spider Man character doll hanging from a balcony on Langdon Street.

After being notified of the doll by concerned students and pedestrians, associate dean Kevin Helmkamp and Vice Provost Damon Williams contacted landlords of the building and the apartment residents. The residents themselves had already taken down the doll.

“The horrible images of lynching that this doll evoked were disturbing and inconsistent with university values and those of the entire Madison community,” Helmkamp says.

Helmkamp is in the process of meeting with the residents of the building to learn more, but upon being notified of campus concerns, residents were apologetic and cooperative. The incident took place off campus, but at least two of the tenants are believed to be UW–Madison students.

Helmkamp challenged all students, both on and off-campus, to be respectful of other members of the community and to be thoughtful about the potential impact of their actions.

“This is a teachable moment, and we hope others will learn from what appears to be a disturbing, though unintentional act,” he adds.

If anyone is interested in speaking with the Division of Student Life related to this incident, call the Division of Student Life at (608) 263-5700.