Student-athletes at the University of Wisconsin have requested the Badgers athletic department creates an annual $2 million fund to cover costs for students of color.
The request, made through social media, comes after student-athletes were successful in petitioning for a university crest with a black ‘W’ to be worn on athletic uniforms.
The 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,” according to the athletes’ statement.
The athletes’ statement says the fund’s creation would increase diversity among the student body and remove barriers of entry for students of color who otherwise might not have the financial support.
According to the statement, the fund would allow for “at minimum 40 additional black students per year to attend the university.”
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
UW athletic director Barry Alvarez told the State Journal last month that if the Badgers football season is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletic department faces a $100 million revenue loss. Alvarez also said it is “highly likely” that UW will have to use a reserve fund to cover losses this fiscal year after the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was canceled this March.
College student-athletes have been making their voices heard on social causes and issues they face during their careers. Athletes across the Pacific-12 Conference have released a list of demands that they claim must be met or they will boycott their 2020 seasons.
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