Wartburg alumna, Jennifer Livingston, delivered a commentary on her morning show on WKBT in La Crosse, Wis. that has gained national attention.
Livingston was addressing an email from a La Crosse man, Kenneth Krause, that called her fat and said she was a bad role model for young girls in particular.
On the air Livingston addressed the man because October is Anti-Bullying Awareness month and said, “You don’t know me, you are not a friend of mine…you know nothing about me except what you see on the outside.”
Since then Livingston has gained national exposure as her story was picked up by stations like “E! News” and she appeared on the “Today Show.”
In an interview on “Good Morning America,” Krause apologized and said he was truly sorry.
Livingston said to Savannah Guthrie on the “Today Show,” that this exposure is beyond what she could have imagined.
Due to her schedule Livingston was unavailable for an interview.
Livingston is a 1997 graduate of Wartburg. Melanie Harms, an associate professor in the music therapy department, was one of her classmates.
“I’m very proud to have known her and proud she took her position as an opportunity to educate and empower young individuals,” Harms said. “It was hard for me to hear her say ‘as a mom of three’ and that’s what chokes me up.”
Livingston’s mom, Linda Livingston, of Marion, Iowa, said she was not surprised by her daughter’s assertiveness and standing up when she felt someone had crossed the line.
“She has had such an overwhelming positive feedback from parents and young people about giving them the courage to speak up when someone says something is inappropriate,” Livingston said.
Linda Livingston said her daughter said she was not sorry she went public with this.
“She has already heard from parents and children that this is making a difference in the world,” Livingston said.
[pb_vidembed title=”” caption=”Reactions to Jennifer’s message from her family, friends and professors” url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHhv-BbsqRM” type=”yt” w=”480″ h=”385″]
Rev. Larry Trachte said bullying is an issue that society is struggling with and was not surprised that she gave her message on television because she was always an outgoing campus leader.
Trachte said it’s important “to be aware of the pain and damage that unkind words can inflict on young people and children and that we never outgrow the vulnerability of being hurt by people who don’t think about what they say.”