University of Connecticut Police Investigate Students’ Reported Use of Racial Slurs

University of Connecticut police are investigating after a group of white students allegedly directed racial slurs at Black students while walking past an apartment building.

A video obtained by WTNH shows three students walking across the parking lot of Charter Oak Apartments. The three students allegedly shouted the N-word to Black students inside the apartment complex and then laughed about it.

Some Black students on campus told the news station they do not feel comfortable after the incident. Areon Mangan, a Black student at the university, said the incident occurred right outside her window.

“That was actually right outside my window, and that’s just so upsetting, like, that hurts,” she told the news station. Jakim Dease, another student on campus, told WTNH that this is the second time this has occurred on campus and no action has been taken.

“They have to make it be known that it’s not okay and it’s not going to be tolerated,” Dease told the news station.

The North Star has reached out to the university for comment on the matter but did not hear back in time for publication. University police confirmed to WTNH the incident is being investigated.

In September, two white students from the University of Arizona were arrested for assaulting a Black student on campus. Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings were arrested and charged with class 1 misdemeanor assault, University Police Chief Brian Seastone said in a previous statement.

“Today, @UofAZPolice arrested 2 students alleged to have assaulted an African American student Tuesday,” the university wrote on Twitter on September 13. “Both were charged [with] class 1 misdemeanor assault. We are committed to ensuring campus is a safe [and] inclusive environment for the entire community.”

A police report released by university police states that authorities arrived at Arbol de la Vida residence hall on the University of Arizona campus at about 11:20 p.m. on September 10 in response to a report of a fight. An unidentified Black student told police that two white men had called him the N-word before one of the men “ran up and tackled him” and then proceeded to punch him in the head repeatedly. While the Black student was on the ground, the second student kicked him, the report stated.

The victim, who suffered minor injuries, told officers he “was very upset over the use of the ‘N-word’ during the altercation, however he was unsure if the assault was racially motivated,” according to the report.

Officers located Rawlings and Frazier after speaking with witnesses, and the two appeared to be intoxicated, the report stated. One of the men told the officers he was trying to stop his friend from fighting the victim but both said they could not remember exactly what happened. An officer who called the victim a few days following the incident stated that the victim was not sure if he wanted to press charges, but said “the incident replays (in his head) every day, every second and it is frustrating,” the police report stated.

In a letter submitted before the arrest of the two white students, the University of Arizona’s Black Student Union (BSU) criticized how university officials responded to the assault.

“Instead of necessarily apprehending the aggressors who initially ran away, they were referred to a social justice ‘diversion’ training program lead and facilitated by the [University of Arizona Police Department],” the letter obtained by The North Star read.

“The attack — deemed a ‘minor’ injury by the [University of Arizona Police Department] — minimizes the emotional impact caused, thereby disenfranchising the lives of the Black student body at our University,” the letter continued.

A day after the attack, University of Arizona President Robert Robbins sent an email to the campus stating university police were investigating the matter, The Arizona Republic previously reported. Robbins previously said in the statement that the university’s dean of students contacted the victim and their family, noting that “racism, bias, and violence will not be tolerated on this campus.”

“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,” Robbins wrote in the email, according to the publication. “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.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.