Interview with Chancellor Debra Ford
In regards to the recent event noose incident and the death threat hoax The Ranger News staff decided to speak with Chancellor Debra Ford. In researching other campus hate crimes, it has often been noted how little the administration does in response of the assault. Reports of past racial crimes from University of Wisconsin -latteville, for example, argued that students were not even notified by their professors or administration; instead it was left in the hands of the of the students themselves to organize any initial efforts of awareness. Not so in our case however. Chancellor Ford immediately sprang into action to notify staff to inform students, organized the public meetings, and continues the investigation into the noose incident. From her words, here are some of the questions she was happy to answer.
Q: We would like to hear from you on how you handled this fearful event on campus.
A: The campus response to the activities on campus last week exemplifies the definition of teamwork. Representatives from all areas of campus, along with some of our valued community partners, worked to ensure the health, safety and well being of the entire UW-Parkside campus community. When unfortunate events such as this take place, part of the challenge is to quickly assess the situation and — to the best of your ability — put an effective response plan into action. I’m proud of the many individuals who came forward to assist the university.
Q: Are investigations still taking place for the initial noose incident, or is that an issue overshadowed by the subsequent actions?
A: The investigation by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, with cooperation from the UW-Parkside Police Department, continues.
Q: How do you feel the students responded to the campus meetings you held Friday, February 3rd?
A: As I have said many times, I am extremely proud of our students. The response to the events last week and the participation in the campus-wide meetings Thursday afternoon and evening reinforced my confidence in the ability of our students to deal with challenges we sometimes face in today’s society. And I appreciate the candor of many students who shared their feelings concerning their educational experience here at UW-Parkside.
Q: Was there anything note worthy or remarkable about our students and or staff while handling this incident?
A: Teamwork: The students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners came together to address the issues. We saw a campus community, not just individuals, respond in a very positive manner.
Q: And do you have anything to comment on about the student who turned herself in?
A: As chancellor, I am concerned for the health, safety and well being of all our students.
Q: And do you think there is a lesson to be learned from all of this?
A: We learned that the hallmarks of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, student success, academic excellence, diversity and inclusiveness, and community engagement — and particularly diversity and inclusiveness, and community engagement — enabled us to respond to the challenges in a positive way and showed us the true value of community. What we do here, living and learning in a very diverse environment, works. We will continue to learn as we complete after-action reviews and engage in continuing dialogues with you, our students.