UWisc Profs: Black Students Have ‘Post-Traumatic Stress,’ Need ‘Emergency Mental Health Support’

Jennifer Kabbany, College Fix, April 21, 2016

The recent classroom arrest of a black University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused by campus police of spray painting phrases such as “fuck the police” and “the devil iz a white man” on campus has traumatized students, according to an open letter circulated Wednesday by the Department of Afro-American Studies.

“What so many of you are experiencing isn’t a sign of individual weakness,” states the two-page open letter addressed to “students of color,” a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix.

“It’s a version of post-traumatic stress syndrome, a mental health crisis as serious as those following campus shootings or natural disasters. . . . [W]e ask that emergency mental health support be made available to all students affected by recent events,” it states, noting there have been other racist events on campus in recent weeks to cause students such alarm, but citing no examples.

At issue is the arrest last week of UW-Madison senior Denzel McDonald, referred to as “King Shabazz” on campus, as he sat in an afro-american studies class. Campus police allege he spray-painted so-called “anti-racist” messages around campus over the last six months. Vandalism he is accused of spray painting included: “Racizm in the air. Don’t breathe, God” and “White supremacy is a disease.”

According to Fox 29, “The police chief did apologize for disruption caused by the arrest of Denzel McDonald, but said in a statement that efforts to apprehend him outside of class were unsuccessful and that officers did not realize class had begun.”

“McDonald was subsequently arrested on 11 preliminary counts of vandalism and one count of disorderly conduct, for allegedly threatening to kill someone who saw him painting the graffiti. Prosecutors have not yet formally charged McDonald, who has been released on bail,” the local Fox affiliate added.

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Today a campus protest titled “We Are GOD: A Day of Disrupting white Supremacy & Anti-Black Racism at UW-Madison” is planned.

“At the same time King was taken out of his classroom by UWPD (11:30am), we will be walking out of our classrooms to stand in solidarity with him and to organize against the anti-Black racism that has plagued our campus historically and contemporarily,” organizers state on Facebook. “We will be delivering our demands to the Chancellor and UWPD and need student support. We have to let them know that there are consequences for perpetuating white supremacy.”

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