Members of the Big Ten Conference’s Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition were announced Monday, with administrators, coaches and student-athletes coming together to “provide viable solutions” to racism and hate.
The conference also announced The Big Ten Conference Voter Registration Initiative, which will educate student-athletes on how to register to vote, casting a vote and combat voter suppression.
The University of Wisconsin has four representatives in the coalition — Chancellor Rebecca Blank, associate athletic director Mike Jackson, senior football safety Madison Cone and junior softball outfielder Tyra Turner, a former Madison La Follette standout in multiple sports.
UW has the fewest members in the coalition of the 14 Big Ten members, and is the only program to not have a varsity head coach in the coalition.
Lauren Gross — a UW alum who works as the Big Ten Network’s human resources director — is also a part of the coalition.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren announced the coalition’s creation in an open letter on June 1.
Sheridan Blanford, UW’s director of inclusion and engagement, represents the university on the conference’s voter registration committee.
“We have the distinct opportunity and responsibility through our Coalition to continually encourage, educate and empower our student-athletes as we embrace transparent and much-needed dialogue regarding meaningful issues that have impacted race relations for many years,” Warren said in a statement.
Warren said the push to educate Big Ten student-athletes on the importance of voting and helping them register to vote is a “natural extension of the conversation within the Coalition.” Monthly programming will begin in July and run until the Nov. 3 general election.
The Big Ten’s committee is partnering with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and its Election Protection program to combat voter suppression.
“Student-athletes have unique platforms that can be used to educate and activate students all across the country. I am excited to partner with Commissioner Kevin Warren and the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition to help promote civic participation and ensure that the voices of all student voters are heard this election season,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
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