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Group of NU athletes want more minority representation in athletic department
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Group of NU athletes want more minority representation in athletic department

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Nebraska Softball 4.26

Teammates cheer on Nebraska's Courtney Wallace (middle) after she hit a home run against Maryland on April 26, 2019, at Bowlin Stadium. Nebraska won 11-2. Wallace is on the Big Ten Anti-Hate/Anti-Racism Coalition.

A group of Husker athletes is calling for the Nebraska Athletic Department to close the gap between the campus' student-athlete minority population and the staff minority population, including the hiring of Black head coaches.

In a letter that circulated on social media Thursday, the group said the events of the past few months have shown that the country, the communities and the university have not reached the pinnacle of excellence when it comes to race and discrimination.

"We have seen first-hand that racism and discrimination still exist within the fabric (of) our nation," the letter read. "Our university and athletic department are no exception. To fully achieve the level of excellence that we have been taught to strive towards at Nebraska, we must make the necessary changes to ensure that truly, 'There is no place like Nebraska."

The group states it's the student-athletes' goal to hold the athletic department to the standard it has already set for itself, and "certain changes need to be made in order to make our athletic department a place where all student-athletes can be successful and comfortable."

The group is asking for a series of requests to be implemented by the fall semester.

Among them:

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* Multiple people of color serving as head coaches at Nebraska. NU has never had a Black head coach, and the current department has one minority head coach — swimming coach Pablo Morales.

* Multiple people of color serving as senior administrators and psychologists within the department.

* Shrink the gap between minority staff population and minority student-athlete population by 50% within five years.

* Create a memorial dedicated to George Flippin, the first African-American football player to compete at Nebraska, and a "public acknowledgement of the wrongdoing and racism Mr. Flippin experienced" at NU.

* A donation of 0.5% of annual athletic department proceeds toward Black-owned businesses in the community and charities/organizations that support and serve Black youths and the Black community.

* A public statement released acknowledging the Black Lives Matter movement.

* Coaches, staff and faculty to take annual workshops centered around racism, discrimination and non-bystander training.

No athletes in support of the letter and requests were named, but it was retweeted by several players on Twitter, including softball player Courtney Wallace and track athlete Sadio Fenner, who represent the school on the Big Ten Anti-Hate/Anti-Racism Coalition.



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