University of Wisconsin-Madison administrators are facing pressure from students and community members to discipline a White student who was filmed during a racist rant, something the university says is protected by free speech.
In the video, the student — who has been identified as Audrey Godlewski — says that she wants to die so that she can haunt “every f–ing little [N-word] who f–ing did me wrong” and force them to “pick f–ing cotton” until they “dry out because of how much cotton they’re picking for me.”
The video has been widely condemned by students at the majority-White institution, who have called upon administrators to take punitive action against Godlewski. Administration acknowledged the video in a statement , saying that "racist slurs do not represent or reflect UW–Madison values around creating an inclusive community.”
“The university is aware of a video recently posted to social media that contains deeply harmful and offensive racist slurs and references,” they wrote. “The Dean of Students Office is gathering additional information, collecting bias reports and offering support to affected students and employees.”
However, the university added that no action would be taken against Godlewski, as "the university can’t limit what students and employees post to their personal social media accounts and can’t take action against posts that are not unlawful."
A petition has since been in circulation online, demanding Godlewski be expelled. While state law limits what actions can be taken to discipline a student for violating school policy, Godlewski's words could go against the student code of conduct agreed to when enrolling in the university.
“We will not stand for this nor condone this behavior and we need to take a stand,” the petition reads. “We need to set an example for the future students to come and for the students who have done the same, but have not been caught.”