STORRS — UConn’s leaders continued to sharpen their condemnation of racism on campus Wednesday amid growing calls for the university to discipline the two students involved, who have already been separately criminally charged.
UConn’s top brass met in board of trustees meeting Wednesday. President Thomas Katsouleas said, “Like in society, racism exists at UConn as it does in other parts of society. We don’t live in a post racist world.”
The campus is just 12 days removed from a viral video incident where students Ryan Mucaj and Jarred Karal were heard repeatedly shouting the ‘N’ word outside the Charter Oak Apartments.
UConn Senior Stacy Walker said, “It wasn’t really surprising to me that students are really comfortable saying that word around campus.” But what was surprising to her is that she knew one of the suspects from nursing school. “Nursing is a very caring profession. You are supposed to care for people and that’s how you really feel? It’s very shocking,” said Walker.
The incident set off a firestorm of criticism, in part, aimed at the University. “All they say is I am so sorry this has happened. And then nothing happens and they band-aid is back on the cut. I feel like UConn needs to stand with African-American students and minorities here in general,” said Wallen.
President Katsouleas responded to the criticism and to his letter sent to campus community calling for a search for a Chief Diversity Officer — a move perceived by some as outsourcing the issue.
“I think I said in that letter that this act is completely deplorable. I do condemn it. The goal I had with that letter was both to condemn the current incident and to try to raise our attention toward longer term solutions,” said Katsouleas.
Following the Presidents remarks, he sat in on a meeting of the Student Life Committee where they discussed the issue in greater detail.
Dean of Students Eleanor Daugherty said, “It’s not their responsibility to solve these issues of hate when they come on campus. That is our role as a University.”a sentiment echoed by UConn Board of Trustees member Bryan Pollard. “The students comfortable and protected and that the burden to your point is not theirs to bare.”
Also Wednesday, FOX61 uncovered that UConn’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus mistakenly published online what some consider an inflammatory writers column. The title read, “UConn is not racist, get over yourselves.” It continues calling UConn, “a place where victimhood is heavily rewarded.” The article has since been removed.
FOX 61 reached out to the paper's editor who said:
“That article was submitted by one of our writers last night. The article did not meet our editorial standards of professionalism and respect. We sent the article back to the writer and are giving him the chance to revise it so that it does meet these standards. There was a miscommunication about this decision with our digital team and the article was mistakenly published. When we realized this error, we immediately took the article down.”
The incident of racism sparked a campus outcry that led to hundreds attending a previous march and rally, calling for unity, equity and accountability.
UConn said they are reviewing the incident to see if their student code of conduct was violated before determining possible discipline, if any.
When asked if the university had a timeline a spokesperson said a decision would likely come sometime this semester.