Students at the University of Arizona have made it crystal clear how they feel about two white students averting arrest after attacking a Black student last week. According to reports, on Friday at the Tuscon campus, several dozen students gathered to protest the handling of the physical assault by campus police.

Less than an hour before the protest, the university announced that it had arrested and charged  Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings with class 1 misdemeanor assault.

Those familiar with the incident were angered that the two student culprits were initially referred to a social justice training program instead of facing jail time. The University of Arizona Police Department categorized it as a “minor injury,” but the campus’ Black Student Union disagreed. 

The organization sent out a statement demanding academic probation and suspension for the two students, as well as a release of their names (which were originally withheld) and a cultural sensitivity program for the UAPD officers who handled the incident.

U of A President Robert C. Robbins also spoke out, saying in a statement that he was angered and disappointed by the incident. “We need to come together and let people know, without qualification, that intolerance and discrimination have no home here,” Robbins said. “Unless we have a safe environment, free from violence, discrimination and hate, students will not be free to learn and pursue their dreams.” 

Students at University of Arizona gather to protest on campus.
A photo posted to Facebook by U of A’s African American Student Affairs shows a gathering of students protesting the week’s event. The accompanying caption reads in part, “Beloved community: In response to the emotionally draining events of this past week, AASA has been given resources to keep the Center OPEN ALL WEEKEND and in response to Black Student Union request, President Robbins and the DEIT have provided funding for us to provide free breakfast, lunch and dinner all weekend so that students can be supported and in community with one another.”

According to a police report released on Friday, the victim told police that during his attack, the men called him the N-word repeatedly, and he was punched in the head about five times. He also said he was kicked while he was on the ground. The police report notes that he sustained minor injuries consisting of scrapes on the back of his right hand (knuckles) and scrapes on both his right elbow and knees. 

The attack, by all accounts, was unprovoked. The student victim declined pressing charges.

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