Two white University of Arizona students were finally arrested after a brutal assault on a black student last week at the school. Student protests ensued after Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings were arrested and charged with a mere misdemeanor assault. The two men are students at the university’s business college.
Initially, Frazier and Rawlings were not facing criminal charges in the racially-motivated attack. Instead of facing jail times or risking blemishes to their “perfect” records, they were offered a social justice diversion program as “punishment” for the egregious assault. 20-year-old Frazier and 19-year-old Rawlings had been drinking heavily on the night of the attack, according to reports from student witnesses. Since they were both under the age of 21, the two men could have been charged with Underage Consumption which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and a $2500 fine. However, they were not.
Last Tuesday, a Black student told police officers that two white men had jumped him. Rawlings and Frazier called him the n-word as they proceeded to punch him in the head, tackle him to the ground, and repeatedly kick him while he was on the ground. The student, who wished to remain anonymous, suffered minor scrapes to his knuckles, right elbow, and knee, according to the report. The crime took place in front of the Arbol de la Vida Residence Hall, according to campus police.
The student did not know Frazier or Rawlings before the attack. He has also declined to press charges against the assailants.
University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins expressed his “anger and disappointment” in a statement which read: “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.”
The University of Arizona has attempted to resolve race issues in the past but to no avail. The lack of diversity within its governing body is a clear indicator that change needs to come from the top.