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UW Chancellor: MPD, UWPD step up presence in wake of attacks

(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - An open letter addressed to the entire UW-Madison campus community assured students and staff that UW Police Department and Madison Police Department personnel have stepped up their presence in and around downtown.

The letter, penned by interim Chancellor John Karl Scholz, followed the arrest over the weekend of four suspects in a pair of recent attacks in which the victims were of Asian descent. In one case a graduate student reported to MPD being attacked while walking downtown; while in the other instance an undergraduate student told UWPD a group of people repeatedly threw a banana at him.

“This news and some of our efforts to respond quickly have caused deep concern, harm and outrage for our Asian and APIDA community members as well as their allies. For some, it has also sparked fear and trauma,” Scholz wrote, noting the “tremendous increase in reported incidents of harassment, violence, intimidation, and aggression. This includes here in Madison.”

Scholz’ letter also revealed a third incident, which he wrote was told to the university administration by MPD over the weekend. In that case, which happened about a week before the university was informed, the chancellor reported a white man and a Hispanic undergrad were attacked. The latter was taken to the hospital for his injuries and investigators believe the same suspects as the first two encounters were involved. Scholz also alluded to a fourth investigation linked to the same suspects.

The letter specified that investigators have not determined a specific motivation for the attacks and incidents. Scholz added, however that if police determine any of them were possible hate crimes that they would be pursued as such.

Scholz went on to encourage anyone who believes they were a victim to contact either UWPD, if it happened on-campus, or MPD, if it happened elsewhere in Madison, to report it. The university plans to offer direct support and resources to students who come forward to report such criminal instances or incidents of hate or bias.

The chancellor also emphasized University Health Services virtual support and connection spaces dedicated to Asian and APIDA students. Two have already been held, one on Monday afternoon and a second the following day.

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