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UA students suspended for alleged assault of black student

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Tom Price | The Daily Wildcat

A UA Police Car sits just off of Park Ave. on Oct. 1, 2015.

The students who are accused of assaulting the black student on campus have been suspended from school.

The two students' attorneys confirmed that the students, Matthew Frazier, 20, and Matthew Rawlings, 19, were suspended from school as of Monday after allegedly assaulting a black student on campus on Sept. 10, according to the Arizona Daily Star

Representatives of the school have declined to confirm whether or not the two students faced any punishment after their code of conduct case with the Dean of Students due to federal education privacy laws, according to the Star. However, Frazier and Rawlings’ attorneys have confirmed with the Star that the students have been suspended and had a criminal arraignment hearing at the Pima County Justice Court on Monday. 

The incident happened near the Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall and, according to the University of Arizona Police Department report obtained by the Star and witnesses, Frazier and Rawlings, who are both white, were punching, kicking and calling the student the N-word.

The student conduct case was turned over to the school, but the criminal case was sent to the Pima County Attorney’s Office for review, according to the Star.

Frazier and Rawlings waived their right to appear during Monday’s arraignment. The judge forbade both students from going back to the site of the incident and to have contact with the victim, who has still not been identified, according to the Star

Rawlings was also approved to go back home and live with his parents, the Star reported

“There have been a lot of statements made without having access to all of the facts,” said Rawlings’ attorney, Louis Fidel, to the Arizona Daily Star. “We’re going to review all of those facts and we’ll show Matt is not guilty.”

On the other hand, Dan Cooper, Frazier's attorney, declined any further comment. 

Roughly 300 students from the UA community gathered and protested against the two students, demanding expulsion. They have also been critical of the UAPD after their decision to give misdemeanor charges to Frazier and Rawlings and offering one of the students a spot at the UA Diversion Program instead of criminal charges. 

UA Diversion Program is a voluntary educational program that “interrupts the criminal process for misdemeanor citations issued at the Tucson campus,” according to the UA website. 

UAPD clarified that the student was offered the diversion program, but it was in place of charges for underage alcohol consumption. The program is never offered to students who have committed a violent offense, even if it is a misdemeanor, police said in a written response to the Star last week. 

Authorities have turned the case over to the UAPD’s detective unit, as the decision to seek charges is based on the victim’s input, the Star reported.

The department also completed a hate crimes reporting worksheet for the incident. Police in Arizona are required to fill out any incidents they feel are bias-motivated. This form was included with statistics sent to the FBI, according to the Star. 

The victim did not originally want to press charges but changed his mind after talking to his mother, according to the police report. 

Frazier and Rawlings were not charged with a felony because the state statutes said that the victim must undergo “serious physical injury, temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part, or a fracture of any body part,” the police said to the Star

The victim had minor scrapes on his hand, knees and elbow but planned to visit Campus Health to see if he had a concussion, according to the police report. 

As of today, Frazier and Rawlings are still listed in the UA Phonebook as undergraduates. Frazier is a business economics student and Rawlings is a pre-business student. The UA representative said he could not confirm if the students are still enrolled because of educational privacy laws, according to the Star

The next hearing in the criminal case is scheduled for Nov. 12.


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