UWM Student's Blog Generates Controversy
MILWAUKEE - The Speaker of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Senate is defending controversial comments on his blog as fellow students call for his resignation.
"It's unbelievable what I'm seeing on this blog," said student Clint Myrick who is the president of an organization called the Black Student Union.
The blog is called Panther Talk Live and is written by Kyle Duerstein. He has maintained the blog since 2005, but only became Speaker of the Student Senate this year. Several quotes from his blog are being circulated by students who expressed concerns the blog is racist.
In one blog entry dated August 6, 2006, Duerstein wrote, "I know that a lot of black kids growing up these days do work hard" and "Unfortunately, it has been my experience that those folks are in the minority of their race."
Another blog entry dated November 12, 2005 reads, "If mainstream black anglo-hating racists can't find a way to function in normal society and use the intelligence that God gave them, perhaps they ask to be held down and discriminated against, and placed back into slavery."
Duerstein agreed to an interview and defended his comments.
REPORTER MICK TREVEY: "What do you mean by that -- about being placed back into slavery?"
DUERSTEIN: "I think if people aren't going to use the brain that God gave them, then in order to better themselves, then they're going to remain in situations where they're not as well off as they could be."
Later in the interview, Trevey asked Duerstein about his comments regarding work ethic.
TREVEY: "Do you think a majority of African Americans don't have a good work ethic?"
DUERSTEIN: "I think a majority of African Americans that are very blatantly out in the public eye at least try to portray a persona that they don't have a good work ethic."
However, Duerstein later changed his answer about his feelings regarding work ethic.
DUERSTEIN: "I don't think it's got anything to do with race."
After reading through quotations from the blog, Black Student Union president Clint Myrick called for Duerstein to resign from his position as Speaker of the Student Senate. "He should immediately lose his position," Myrick said.
However, Duerstein maintained he is not racist and said he would not step down from his position. "These comments were made four years ago. And I believe I've come a long way since then," he said.
UWM Administration had not seen the comments, according to Vice-Chancellor Tom Luljak. Luljak released a statement saying, "While freedom of speech is extremely important on a university campus, we would hope that all students treat others with respect and dignity."