UW-Milwaukee SDS mobilizes at Provost Daire’s town hall to push forward campaign to increase Black enrollment
November 5, 2023
Milwaukee, WI – 30 students, faculty and others attended a town hall meeting with the new Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Andrew Daire, at the Fireside Lounge on the campus of UW-Milwaukee (UWM) on October 31. Some of those in attendance were mobilized to the meeting by the UWM chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
The purpose of the talk was to present on the current enrollment situation at the university. Numbers have declined steadily since 2010 with nearly 7000 fewer students attending UWM in 2023 than a decade ago. One of the most glaring enrollment statistics is that UWM’s student body is only 6% Black. For context, Milwaukee has a population that is roughly 40% Black, and Milwaukee Public Schools has a student body which is 50% Black.
“The discrepancy between enrollment numbers of Black students at UWM and the population of Milwaukee and the public schools is despicable. It demonstrates that there is an overall lack of commitment from the administration at this university to live up to their claims of being a diverse and inclusive campus,” said Patricia Fish, a leader in SDS.
SDS members grilled the provost with questions about what he and the administration were going to do to address the situation, but Daire proved skillful in spending a lot of time saying nothing of substance and passing the buck on to others, claiming that he “has no power” to make the changes he wants.
The efforts around holding Daire’s feet to the fire are a part of SDS’s broader campaign to increase Black enrollment at UWM, which also includes demands around increasing the hiring of Black faculty and staff, the targeted recruitment of Black students from Milwaukee Public Schools, an increase in the scholarships and other financial aid offered to incoming students as well as for those students already attending UWM to assist with retention, and defending and expanding the funding for the Black Student Cultural Center.