University of Arizona students are protesting how university police and school officials responded when two white students allegedly assaulted a Black peer and yelled the N-word at the campus in Tucson.
The university’s Black Student Union said in a statement released on Twitter that the victim was “physically and verbally attacked in a hate crime” while walking with friends Tuesday.
The incident was reported around 11:25 p.m. when white students repeatedly yelled the N-word, the BSU said.
“Having asked the aggressors to stop their verbal abuses, the black student was then assaulted by the assailants,” the BSU said.
After the incident, the white students ran away and the alleged assailants were referred to “a social justice ‘diversion’ training program” facilitated by campus police, the BSU said.
The organization reported that university police described the incident as “minor.”
University police Chief Brian Seastone released a statement to Atlanta Black Star Friday that police arrested two accused students police later identified in an incident report as Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings.
“The students were both charged with class 1 misdemeanor assault,” Seastone said. “The case will now go to the Pima County Attorney’s Office for review.
“We are committed to ensuring this campus is a safe and inclusive environment for the entire community.”
In the incident report, an officer stated he was dispatched just before 11:25 p.m. to the Arbol de la Vida Residence Hall about “a fight in progress.”
When he arrived, he and other officers interviewed three witnesses, the victim and the two suspects, according to the report.
The victim told the first officer to arrive that an assault occurred and that two suspects had left southbound toward a white house, according to the report.
Other officers went to the house and detained Frazier an Rawlings while the responding officer questioned the victim and witnesses, according to the report.
The victim told police in the report he was heading south as men later identified as Frazier and Rawlings approached and started calling him “the N-word.”
One of the men then tripped, ran up and “tackled him” before punching him “in the head like five times,” the victim said in the report. He also said he was kicked on the ground by a second person.
The officer reported the victim had “minor injuries” including scrapes on his right knuckles and on both his right elbow and knee but he refused medical assistance and said he didn’t want to pursue criminal charges.
The officer also interviewed two witnesses who confirmed the alleged attack.
One of the witnesses said he was dropping off his girlfriend when he saw the man police identified as Frazier tackle the victim to the ground and the man police identified as Rawlings kick him and call him a “p—y a– b—h.”
Another witness told police the accused men “started screaming” for no reason, someone tried to calm them down and the situation ended on the ground.
“Frazier appeared intoxicated [odor, demeanor] and had fresh blood on his shirt,” an officer said in the incident report.
Rawlings also “appeared to be intoxicated,” used “slurred speech” and admitted to consuming three alcoholic beverages earlier, an officer said in the report.
The Black Student Association is demanding that the accused students be put on academic probation and suspension.
“We deserve to be and feel heard,” the student union said in its statement. “We deserve to be and feel valued, and we deserve to be and feel safe.”
The Black Student Union has said “legal actions should have been made” and the attack should not be classified a “misdemeanor.”
“The protest is demanding this university values black students and proves it by validating that violence will not be accepted,” the BSU said.
University President Robert Robbins responded to the incident in an email Thursday to employees and students.
“I write to you today out of anger, disappointment and regret over an incident that occurred earlier this week on our campus,” Robbins said.
Robbins asked the community to make a commitment with him “to stand against racial bias in any form.”
“I want our community to know that racism, bias and violence will not be tolerated at this University,” he wrote in the email. “I will be working with members of my administration to ensure we have a comprehensive response to issues of bias and discrimination on campus.”
Dozens of students participated in a campus protest on Sept. 13 to decry the “lack of accountability” from school officials, marching to chants of, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
The dean of students has been in touch with the victim and the victim’s family, Robbins said.