Campus Update from the Dean of Students

The following message from the Dean of Students was shared with all UWM students on May 3, 2024

Dear UWM students,

I’m reaching out today to talk about what’s happening on our campus, share our expectations again, and ask for help in keeping UWM’s campus safe and welcoming.

On Monday, a protest on campus led to an encampment that was set up on the lawn south of Mitchell Hall. In our email sent Monday evening, and over the last several months, we responded to protesters’ demands. We see what is happening nationally at other campuses, but we are focused on our own students and the needs of our own community.

UWM does not have investments with weapons manufacturers. But I’ve heard from students that they want more detailed information on the UWM Foundation and how it relates to UWM, as well as some details on its investments. I’ve asked the Foundation for that information, and a message from the Foundation will be sent to campus soon.

I’ve talked and met with students. Students have shared their anger at the war, death and suffering of others, but also their frustration with UWM. I’ve heard some students say they don’t feel safe walking past the encampment or hearing chants. Other students have said that if they speak out, they will be shouted down. And others say they just want to go to class and work and hope our campus is safe for everyone.

I’ve also spoken to faculty and staff who have encouraged us to use this as an educational moment. They have asked how do we help students understand their free speech rights but also the limitations of those rights?

The camping restriction (which is part of state law) represents one of those limitations. This law has nothing to do with the content of the speech or the act of protesting itself. In fact, there have been more than a dozen protests on campus in recent months that did not break the law. So, the encampment must end, safely.

Our campus community has different opinions on what should happen next. Students and others have shared that we should arrest everyone in the encampment. Others have shared that we should be patient, kind and compassionate by clarifying laws with students and providing opportunities to work through their demands.

UWM students are incredibly smart and passionate and have a diverse set of opinions and beliefs about what is happening here, on college campuses nationally, and abroad. Being a member of a college community involves challenging our beliefs and opinions, and having the chance to grow, learn and change this place for the better.

As Dean of Students, I am committed to supporting all students. We may not agree on everything, but I believe we can make progress. Along with many faculty and staff colleagues, I am open to engaging in dialogue on how to help us move forward toward resolution. If you are open to that, just reply to this message.

Adam Jussel
Dean of Students