University of Arizona police officers have arrested two students in connection with the assault of a black student on campus earlier this week.
The announcement from UAPD Police Chief Brian Seastone on Friday came less than a day after President Robert C. Robbins said the school would “aggressively pursue all avenues of justice" in regard to the incident.
The two students, who were not identified in the release, are facing misdemeanor assault charges. The case will now go to the Pima County Attorney's Office to review if charges should be filed.
In a letter to students, faculty and staff sent Thursday evening, Robbins acknowledged the incident without providing specific details. He said the matter was immediately handled by the Dean of Students and that a University of Arizona police investigation is ongoing.
“I want our community to know that racism, bias and violence will not be tolerated on this campus,” Robbins wrote in the letter, which was provided to the Arizona Daily Star. “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. I call on all members of our community to make the same commitment to stand against racial bias in any form.”
The UA Police Department rejected an open records request by the Star for the police report because the case is still listed as “further investigation.”
“The balancing test to protect the best interests of the investigation and your request to protect our police report remains under careful consideration,” wrote the denial letter from Police Chief Brian Seastone.
Details of the incident were provided to the Star by a representative of the school’s Black Student Union, which has scheduled a protest 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, on campus over a perceived “inadequate response” from the school regarding the incident.
The black student was walking near the Coronado dormitory and Tyndall parking garage around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night when he encountered two other students using racial slurs, said Fredian Tuyisenge, the group’s director of community and outreach and relations. Tuyisenge said the two students were white.
He engaged the two students and expected it to end, but a physical altercation ensued, she said, leaving the black student with signs of a “violent attack,” including cuts and bruises. The two students retreated to the dorm, where members of residence life called 911. The black student remained at the scene and cooperated with police.
Tuyisenge said the two students were not arrested, but rather directed to the dean of students office for a social justice diversion training program led by police.
None of the students involved have been identified.
The Black Student Union’s protest will demand academic probation and suspension of the alleged assailants, the release of their names, the release of the incident report, and for the UA police to undergo a cultural identity sensitivity program, she said.
“We don’t believe it is an appropriate response to a hate crime that is motivated by racial identity,” Tuyisenge said. “That’s our stance.”
In his statement, Robbins said UAPD must “conduct a thorough investigation of the incident to ensure we arrive at a timely determination of facts and just response.”
“Inclusion is one of our primary values, and this is one of those moments that defines us and our community at the University of Arizona,” he said. “We need to come together and let people know, without qualification, that intolerance and discrimination have no home here. Unless we have a safe environment, free from violence, discrimination and hate, students will not be free to learn and pursue their dreams.”