In the midst of campus P.C. culture run amok, at least one school administration is getting it right. Well, kind of.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank shot down a proposal by the student government this week demanding a plaque be placed next to a campus statue of Abraham Lincoln, which would have called out the 16th president for his alleged part in the slaughter of Native Americans.
Apparently, some students are all tied up in knots over Lincoln’s role in the 1862 execution of a few dozen Sioux prisoners who’d been convicted of murder and rape of white settlers in Minnesota. While more than 260 men were charged in the crime, Lincoln commuted the death sentence of all but 38 (for those who stink at math, that means he saved 222).
Despite the fact that Lincoln personally intervened and spared the lives of the vast majority of those charged, UW students are now upset, 150 years later, because at least some of those who were killed are now believed to have been innocent.
Associated Students of Madison Chair Katrina Morrison, who’d already helped pass a new rule last October calling for the school to recognize “Indigenous Peoples Day” in place of Columbus Day, said the school should install a plaque near Lincoln’s statue acknowledging his “brutality towards indigenous peoples.”
“I think that [not putting a plaque on the statue] is a mistake, and I think that the history is irrefutable. It is clear that he played a huge role in the massacre and was killing innocent people for no reason,” she told the Daily Cardinal, UW’s student newspaper.
Laughably, Mariah Skenandore, co-president of the school’s indigenous student organization Wunk Sheek, told the paper that by not putting up the plaque, the school is continuing to oppress “marginalized students.”
Blank, on the other hand, says she has no plans to meet students’ demands for the new signage.
“Abe is actually here because he was the person who really created public universities in the states throughout this country in a very real way,” Blank told the Daily Cardinal. “I do not see a reason to prominently label [the killings of natives] on the Lincoln statue.”
Perhaps schools like the University of Wisconsin should take a hard look at their curricula difficulty and academic requirements. Because clearly, there’s nothing better to do on some campuses than whine about 100-year-old statues to presidents credited with emancipating an entire nation’s worth of slaves.