Members of La Crosse Human Rights Commission walk out, resign - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Members of La Crosse Human Rights Commission walk out, resign

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Four members of the La Crosse Human Rights Commission resigned on Wednesday, walking out of a meeting.

They say their resignation is a result of disappointment with how the city responded to citizen complains about housing discrimination.

Those members who resigned are Shaundel Spivey, Elizabeth Digby-Britten, Rose Reinert, and Will Van Roosenbeek.

Now, only two members remain on the board.

One of those members, Jacqueline Marcou, told News 19 there have been many frustrations between the Human Rights Commission and Mayor Tim Kabat. She also cited a lack of trust in the Mayor and his team for why the four members resigned.

The resigning members felt the commission wasn't being allowed the proper authority to act on issues involving social justice and diversity issues, and Marcou says there was miscommunication between the city and commission about what the Human Rights Commissions duties, authorities, and responsibilities were.

On Thursday before the La Crosse City Council meeting, Mayor Tim Kabat also echoing his sentiment over miscommunication and misunderstanding over the commissions authority.

"I'm not sure that even I at this point know exactly the total authority that the Human Rights Commission has. Part of the challenge that we are trying to work our way through is really the evolution of that group," Mayor Tim Kabat said. "I find it a little bit sad that some of those folks stepped away when we have some of those changes in action with the council. As far as I'm concerned, they're a great group of people who do great things. They held a number of community listening sessions to really start to engage people about discrimination and diversity issues right here in our area."

The Human Rights Commission was formed in 2015 to focus on community education, raise awareness, and support efforts to increase diversity.

The nine member board already had three vacancies before the additional four members resigned on Wednesday, but Marcou says those original three vacancies are about to be filled.

Members of the Human Rights Commission are community members appointed by the Mayor.

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