Professors express student support in tough times


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University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Professors and Staff march and hold signs outside of Winther Hall, showing that they are standing in uniformity with students, after hearing fears from students and other staff following the election.

Emily Lepkowski , News Editor

Associate Professor Julie Minikel-Lacocque and Professor Pilar Melero collaborated a small action with a big idea after an intense and long presidential election.

Both professors felt they needed to do something to help students who were feeling vulnerable on campus. Minikel-Lacocque recalled meeting with a student who told her ‘we’re [students] crying, where are our professors?’

The professors experienced the fear in students expressing their concerns the day after the election in their classrooms.

That was when she decided to make posters in support of students while Melero worked with the College of Letters and Sciences Inclusive Committee to draft a statement saying they support all students on campus.

“I think now more than ever we need to come together and support each other and I think faculty and staff are good people to help that happen,” Minikel-Lacocque said.

Faculty and staff took a picture with their signs. Melero read the statement aloud ahead of the Unity March that took place on Monday, Nov. 14. The statement has received more than one hundred signatures in support
of unity.

“This is not political, we are not trying to take sides in an election, we just want to make sure students get support and know that their faculty and staff support them,” Melero said.

Part of their efforts are also to model to students that “it is possible to be committed to interrupting oppression and not be politically inflammatory.”

Melero and Minikel-Lacocque developed a set of guidelines to help people talk about tough issues where there might be differences in opinion while being able to maintain productive conversations.

Since then, Melero has had students reach out to her about wanting to help with these guidelines.

Melero is currently planning a statement to make UW-Whitewater a sanctuary campus.

“We are working on a statement moving forward, we are working with students here, but also students who have graduated and who are teachers,” Melero said.