(WORT)–Hundreds of students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison staged a walk-out Thursday morning to protest the arrest of a black college student during his Black Visual Art class last week. The student was arrested in connection with anti-racist graffiti found on university buildings, but has not yet been formally charged.
Although the UW Police Department has said officers made a mistake in entering a class in session, a spokesperson for the UWPD says they acted professionally otherwise.
But student protesters say the arrest underscores a broader climate of racism and white supremacy on campus, while some faculty have urged the administration to take more concrete action to address what they call a deepening “mental health crisis” among students of color. Some faculty in the Department of Afro-American Studies say they have received threatening, anonymous messages for voicing criticisms of the UWPD, and for showing support for the student arrested in their department’s course.