Skip to main content

Support for our APIDA and Asian communities and a campus update

June 21, 2022

The following message was sent from University of Wisconsin–Madison Interim Chancellor John Karl Scholz to all UW–Madison students and employees.

Read a summary of this information in:

To our campus community –

By now, many of you have heard about a series of violent and aggressive attacks that have affected University of Wisconsin–Madison students and have touched many on campus, especially our Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) and Asian communities.

I want to assure you that UW–Madison and the UW Police Department continue to work with the Madison Police Department to support the victims and understand what occurred. Violence has no place on our campus, nor in our city, and we are focused on keeping our community safe.

I also want to provide updates on the situation as we currently understand it, share broader steps the university is undertaking — which includes input from students and student leaders, and offer support and resources to our students and employees.

Over the weekend, Madison Police arrested four suspects in connection with multiple assaults that recently occurred downtown, in addition to another instance of aggression on the UW–Madison campus that took place last week. Madison Police have advised that the suspects are not known to have any connection to campus.

Two of these incidents, which took place on the night of June 14, involved Chinese students. One was a graduate student who reported to the Madison Police Department that he’d been attacked by a group of people as he walked downtown. The other involved an undergraduate student who reported to UWPD that a group of people repeatedly threw a banana at him. He later shared with UWPD that he received injuries as a result of the encounter, which was not included in Friday’s university statement.

Over the weekend, Madison Police shared with university officials that another incident of battery occurred downtown on June 12 that involved a white male with no connection to campus and a Hispanic male undergraduate student who went to the hospital for his injuries. The same suspects are believed to be connected to this attack. Madison Police also reported a fourth case involving the suspects, though the victim in that case is not known to be affiliated with UW–Madison.

Following these incidents, UWPD and Madison Police increased their presence in the downtown area. The agencies routinely partner to increase their visibility as part of the Downtown Safety Initiative.

Law enforcement does not yet know what motivated these crimes, but police investigators are gathering evidence and if they receive information that points to hate crimes they will be pursued as such.

Officials encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim to contact UWPD (on campus) or the City of Madison Police Department (off campus), the Dean of Students Office or, for employees, the Office of Compliance. The university is offering direct support and resources to the students who have come forward and reported incidents to police or filed a report of hate or bias to campus.

This news and some of our efforts to respond quickly have caused deep concern, harm and outrage for our Asian and APIDA community members as well as their allies. For some, it has also sparked fear and trauma. For more than two years, Asian and APIDA communities in the U.S. and around the world have faced a tremendous increase in reported incidents of harassment, violence, intimidation and aggression. This includes here in Madison.

We know more needs to be done to end this violence and allow people opportunities to heal. To help begin that process following these attacks, University Health Services is offering virtual support and connection spaces intended for Asian and APIDA students. The first was organized for 5 p.m. on June 20 and the second will be held on June 21 at 4 p.m.

Please know we will continue to work with our students, staff and faculty; our Madison community partners; and law enforcement to strengthen our collective efforts to have a safe, inclusive and supportive environment for all on campus and in the broader community.

John Karl Scholz
Interim Chancellor
University of Wisconsin–Madison