UPDATE: Two arrested after Arizona student allegedly assaulted, called racial slur

Matthew Frazier, Matthew Rawlings both facing misdemeanor assault charges

University of Arizona students call for action, accountability following reported assault

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two University of Arizona students have been arrested after another student reported being assaulted and called a racial slur.

University police arrested Matthew Reed Frazier and Matthew Spencer Rawlings on Friday, Sept., 13, three days following the incident.

The 20-year-old Frazier and 19-year-old Rawlings are facing a misdemeanor charge of assault. As of 7:30 p.m Friday, they were not longer in the Pima County Jail.

According to a report from the UAPD, the incident began around 11:24 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

The victim, a black UA student, said he did not know Frazier or Rawlings before the incident. The victim told police he was walking near Arbol del la Vida, a campus dorm, when Frazier or Rawlings started calling him a racial slur. One of the suspects then allegedly tripped and tackled the victim.

The victim said he was hit in the head five times by one of the suspects and kicked while on the ground by the other. The victim said he was unsure if the assault was racially motivated.

A witness told police he saw Frazier tackle the victim while Rawlings kicked the victim several times. Rawlings initially told police he kicked Frazier to try to get him off the victim, but later admitted he wasn’t sure who he actually kicked.

Police said the victim had minor injuries, including scrapes on his knuckles, right elbow and knee.

Both police and Rawlings said Frazier appeared to be heavily intoxicated.

The case will now go to the Pima County Attorney’s Office for review.

The Black Student Union at the school hosted a rally Friday afternoon. The large crowd was seen marching in Main Gate Square on their way back to the school.

Video of the march can be seen below. KOLD News 13 would like to warn our viewers that the video features cursing and a few offensive signs.

Rally at University of Arizona following assault

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Members of the Black Student Union are marching at the The University of Arizona after a reported attack on an African American student. Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident >> https://tucsonne.ws/2ky5wym

Posted by KOLD News 13 on Friday, September 13, 2019

The black student was allegedly assaulted by the two students and called a racial slur, according to school officials.

In an email sent to employees and students, President Robert C. Robbins said there is an active criminal investigation into the alleged assault.

“I want our community to know that racism, bias and violence will not be tolerated at this University,” Robbins wrote in the email. “I will be working with members of my administration to ensure we have a comprehensive response to issues of bias and discrimination on campus.”

Robbins complete email can be found below.

Colleagues and Students,

I write to you today out of anger, disappointment and regret over an incident that occurred earlier this week on our campus.

An African-American student was reported to have been assaulted by two other students. It was also reported that a racial slur was used during the incident. The University of Arizona Police Department was called, and there is an active criminal investigation into this case.

I want our community to know that racism, bias and violence will not be tolerated at this University. 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 Dean of Students is actively engaged and has taken immediate action through the code of conduct to help ensure the safety of our campus community. I have asked that we ensure the victim receives support, and the Dean of Students has been in contact with both the victim and family. In addition, the office is connecting any impacted students with resources they may require, as I understand students, faculty and staff may feel unsafe in light of this incident. Please contact Counseling and Psychological Services if you would like to talk to someone. CAPS can be reached at 520-621-3334 at any time. Life and Work Connections can be reached at 520-621-2493.

UAPD must conduct a thorough investigation of this incident to ensure we arrive at a timely determination of facts and a just response. UAPD detectives are working quickly to gather evidence. I have asked that the Chief of Police keep me apprised of this investigation and to move with deliberate haste.

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. 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.

I hope everyone will consider this situation and ask what we can do to make this University a more inclusive campus. Let me be clear. We will aggressively pursue all avenues of justice in this matter.

Robert C. Robbins, MD


The University of Arizona

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