By Nyesha Stone
Carmen Goséy wrote a letter to Rebecca Blank, the Chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and it went viral.
Goséy started her college career in 2014, and right away she noticed the students of color were treated differently.
“People of color don’t always feel welcomed [on campus],” Goséy said. She was the chair of Associated Students of Madison (ASM) from May 2015 to May 2016, and she decided to send her letter to Blank the night before the election for ASM. In her letter, she stated her dissatisfaction with her school’s lack of care for their students of color.
“This institution perpetuates and suppresses the voices that are most vulnerable…I am no longer content with the University’s actions and active silencing of students of color on this campus,” Goséy wrote in her letter.
She didn’t plan on the letter going viral, but she’s glad it did. Goséy hopes when people read her letter that they try to understand where she’s coming from. She specifically doesn’t want white people to take her saying “all white people are racist,” and miss the bigger meaning of the letter.
Goséy had no problem telling her truth within this letter. She stated twice at the end of the letter “this institution doesn’t care about people of color,” because of her own experiences. Although she held a powerful positon as a young black woman, she never felt her voice was being heard. According to Goséy, her letter was a small version of how students of color feel about attending any UW school.
“I didn’t always feel safe,” said Goséy.
The Dean of students has checked in with Goséy a few times since the sending of the letter, but the Chancellor has yet to respond. Goséy says she’s not surprised about Blank not responding because she usually doesn’t. But Goséy wasn’t look for a response because Blank’s replies, “aren’t comforting and aren’t what students are looking for.”
Goséy is scheduled to graduate in spring of 2018, and before she leaves Goséy would like to see change. She wants the administration to talk to students of color more, and make them feel as welcomed as the white students do.
UW-Madison recently opened a black cultural center, but she’d like to see more of these around the campus. She doesn’t just want to acknowledge and celebrate the black culture, but all cultures because the UW systems’ staff and student body is predominately white.
As the chair of ASM, Goséy felt like the spokesperson for all people of color. According to Goséy, it takes more than just one person to do the job right.
She knows the change she’s looking for won’t happen overnight, but that won’t stop her from standing up for what’s right.