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UA students hold demonstration to support alleged attack victim

Posted at 5:27 PM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-14 15:39:41-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Hundreds of students showed support for an alleged victim of a hate crime earlier this week.

Two students suspected of assaulting a black student and using racial slurs earlier this week have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

The two students arrested in the alleged attack on UA campus are Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings.

Students told KGUN9 that the alleged victim is recovering from the physical and verbal abuse he experienced. The Black Student Union led the charge today to make it known that the community stands with him.

"While the entire black community is mourning and feels threatened on this campus, this is an individual who was physically and verbally attacked. An individual who is a freshman, an individual who's only been at this campus for three weeks. An individual who came here to be educated,” said Fredian Tuyisenge, the BSU media liaison.

Starting at the African American Student Affairs building on Mountain Avenue, doling the area in front of the administration building, and continuous omg around the UA Mall, members of the BSU, other students and supportive ally’s demonstrated their frustrations about this week’s alleged racially charged assault on campus.

"I was furious. I was honestly very emotional, it hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. Because it just made me think that could have just as easily been me. And I could have been in that same position that he was. It's just really scary and unsettle isn't to know that there's people amount us on this campus that are harming us based on the color of our skin,” said Deja Wilson, a BSU member.

"We're not going to just let him go down and be that last ember and just that's it,” said Destiny Griffin, the vice president of advocacy of Hall Council. During the hour-long protest, different students spoke to the fears students of color have on campus. And BSU said, today’s demonstration was to demand justice and equality.

"We're here to stand behind him. To show justice for him and to stand alongside black people and the black community and show them that we are human. We deserve the same rights as everybody else and we deserve to be treated the same as everybody else,” said Wilson.

UA President Robert Robbins addressed the reported assault in a letter to students on Thursday, saying in part, “I want our community to know that racism, bias and violence will not be tolerated at this University. I will be working with members of my administration -- to ensure we have a comprehensive response to issues of bias and discrimination on campus --and that we are promoting and fostering our core value of inclusion."

Also in the letter, Robbins said UAPS must conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts and a just reponse. He asked detectives to work quickly and keep him udpated on the investigation.