UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank released a statement Friday saying she is upset the proper practices that help ensure classrooms are a welcoming space were not followed by the UW-Madison Police Department during Thursday’s arrest.
UWPD police officers entered a classroom in the Humanities building and asked to speak with a student while a class was underway. The student, Denzel J. McDonald, was arrested on 11 counts of vandalism of university buildings and a charge of disorderly conduct.
The statement came a day after more than 500 UW-Madison faculty, academic staff and graduate students signed a letter that called for immediate action from university administration, including Blank.
The chancellor said the university will aid in an immediate review of these practices with UWPD to help preserve classrooms as “a productive space for learning and educational inquiry.” She also said she does not want this incident to stain the reputation of the UWPD, as they have “worked effectively on this campus for many years.”
Blank again said she shared the frustration of students of color and that the campus has a lot of work to do to improve the climate for all students.
“I know there is a lot of frustration on campus about the climate for students of color. I share that frustration,” Blank said in the statement. “The string of incidents last fall and this spring have highlighted that we have a long way to go to be the community we need to be.”