UW President responds to anti-Semitic group at UW-Whitewater

A video captured by students Sunday night at UW-Whitewater showed a group of masked people shouting and projecting anti-Semitic slurs. 
Posted at 1:01 PM, Jan 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-24 17:02:38-05

MILWAUKEE — Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman spoke at the Milwaukee Press Club’s Newsmaker Luncheon Tuesday. 

Among many topics the UW System leader touched on was the recent video coming out of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s campus on Sunday night.

That video, captured by students, showed a group of masked people shouting and projecting anti-Semitic slurs. 

“What happened in Whitewater is appalling and deploring and should be condemned by everyone in our society,” Rothman said. 

“We are enhancing police security and ensuring if students want access from campus police to be walked home, they have that.”

This is not the first time something like this has happened. In November, an eerily similar group of people were seen walking on UW-Madison's campus, also shouting anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Reporter Kaylee Staral asked Rothman if he was concerned that similar incidents might happen at other UW-campuses.

“We don’t control what that group does, but I just look at it and think it should not be and is not acceptable. Whether it happens at our universities or in our businesses or anywhere else,” Rothman shared.

A statement on UW-Whitewater's website said in part:

"The actions of the group last night are abhorrent and go against our core values. The actions of the individuals are consistent with a group that has been visiting other campuses, and has no affiliation with UW-Whitewater."

At the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) campus, students voiced concerns about the recent anti-semitic incidents.

“It’s starting to feel almost trendy. It started in one place and now moving to another. It’s gross. It’s shouldn’t be happening,” Samantha Mckee, a junior at UWM, said.

Some students agreed, saying they wouldn’t be surprised if it happened in Milwaukee.

“There’s like a story on Snapchat for UWM students and I’ve seen some stuff on there that’s similar,” Ayat Abdalsattar, a first-year at UWM, said.

Other students like Dominique Smith explained it’s not about what happens, but what the community can do to stop it.

“We can’t really control where it is but we have to be prepared as a community to fight against it with unity. I feel hopeful because what’s around me is a lot of people standing up and making the community a good place for everyone,” Smith shared.