Dr. Ruben Anthony
Urban League of Greater Madison
608.729.1208 | [email protected]

The Black Leadership Council of Dane County sent the following letter to University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank as a follow-up to the letter sent by the Council on August 13 to Chancellor Blank (that letter can be viewed here):

Chancellor Rebecca Blank
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53719

Dear Chancellor Blank:

We are writing to express our gratitude for the decision you made regarding the reinstatement into the University of Wisconsin-Madison of Mr. Qunitez Cephus. We are cognizant of how difficult this decision must have been given the competing perspectives on what constitutes fairness and justice in this case. Our advocacy on behalf of Mr. Cephus was based on the compelling evidence concerning his innocence and the lasting ramifications this expulsion would have on his life and future career possibilities.

We feel strongly about the issue of sexual violence and assault. The Black Leadership Council is comprised of women as well men married to women and members whose parents, relatives, and loved ones are women. We would not want any of them—male or female—to be subject to sexual violence or assault. Also, we recognize that campuses across the nation are grappling with up to 25 percent of their female students suffering from sexual assault and receiving less than satisfactory remedies. Nothing for which we advocated ignores this horrible scourge in our society. Our proclamation was a support of the innocence of Mr. Cephus and assuring the university was standing with the truth in this instance.

In 1915 the University of Wisconsin-Madison installed a plaque on Bascom Hall that reflects the values on which it stands. That plaque reads: “Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere we believe the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.” Although that statement relates directly to academic inquiry (from the 1894 Ely trial committee final report), we believe it reflects a statement by which the University of Wisconsin-Madison should conduct all of its business.

As a group the Black Leadership Council is comprised of community and civically engaged citizens with deep investment and engagement in Madison and Dane County. Our strongest desire is for the University of Wisconsin-Madison to thrive and be an asset to the ENTIRE community. We want to do whatever we can to help it live out “The Wisconsin Idea.” We have been and will continue to be among the University’s best supporters and advocates in the Black community.

Again we thank you for the care with which you have handled this issue and we look forward to a successful outcome for all parties involved.


Members of the Black Leadership Council

Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen
Pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Ruben L. Anthony, Jr., PhD
CEO and President Urban League of Greater Madison

Kaleem Caire
CEO, One City Early Learning Center

Carola Gaines
Madison Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Rev. Dr. Alexander Gee
Pastor, Fountain of Life Covenant Church
President, Nehemiah Corporation
Justified Anger Coalition

Greg Jones
President, NAACP
Dane County

Gloria Ladson-Billings
Kappa Psi Omega Chapter
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Theresa S. Sanders
Kappa Psi Omega Chapter
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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