UConn police have identified the two students who were arrested in connection to an incident involving racial slurs being shouted on campus earlier this month.
Police said on Monday that 21-year-old Jarred Mitchell Karal, of Plainville, and 21-year-old Ryan Gilman Mucaj, of Granby, were arrested and are facing charges including ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race.
Investigators said the men walked back through the apartment complex after leaving a local business and played a game where they yelled vulgar words. As they walked through the parking lot, Karal and Mucaj switched to saying racial slurs and that was heard by witnesses.
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A third person was with them as they walked outside of the apartments, but police said they determined he did not participate in the behavior.
In a statement, a school spokesperson previously wrote in part: “UConn is taking this matter very seriously, and believes strongly that everyone on our campuses deserves to feel safe, valued, and respected at all times.”
UConn said the incident was being reviewed as part of the school’s Bias Incident Protocol, which brings together various departments to address an issue.
On Monday, students gathered for a passionate meeting hosted by the NAACP UConn chapter.
They raised their questions and concerns about what they see as a culture of racism, on and off campus.
“To just experience that on a daily basis and then having something that gets out to the public that everybody can see and understand it’s really impactful for the rest of us," said UConn freshman Mason Holland.
“It is supportive of our core values to pursue accountability, through due process, for an egregious assault on our community that has caused considerable harm. I’m grateful for the university’s collective effort in responding to this incident, especially the hard work of the UConn Police Department, which has been investigating the case since it was reported," President Thomas C. Katsouleas said in a statement on Monday.
But many at the meeting believed the university had fallen short in its support of students of color.
"I hope there is change. I know it will take time. But with some of the policies they’re thinking of implementing for Spring 2020 there is a possibility that something great will happen," said UConn junior Kimberly Okeke.
Karal and Mucaj were both arrested on a promise to appear and are expected to appear in Rockville Superior Court on October 30.
UConn has said an administrative investigation is also underway.