By MICHAEL BRADY and ANNA KLEINBERGWASHINGTON, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison staged a walkout on Friday as they protested racial insensitivity on campus after a white supremacist group was blamed for a stabbing attack on a black student.
The student government voted to take a stand against racial insufficiencies in the education system, which they said had become increasingly toxic in the past decade as students, professors and administrators have become more visible in online and social media communities.
The walkout began shortly after a vigil on campus on Wednesday night for 18-year-old Brandon Thomas, who was stabbed to death on a sidewalk near the school by a white male student at the hands of a black male student in what police said was a hate crime.
Thomas’s father, who attended the vigil, said he wanted his son’s killers to be punished.
The university said Thomas was a member of the student body who had been a good student and committed no crime.
“As a campus, we are all here to work toward the common goal of equality,” the university said in a statement.
“We will work to support Brandon’s family during this difficult time.”
The university also said that Thomas was in good physical and mental health and was the victim of an intentional act of hate.
It was not clear whether Thomas’s family or the university would seek to seek justice.
The university said it would provide more information about the circumstances of the stabbing when it receives it.
Thomas was attacked on Feb. 8 after an argument over an argument between the two men.
The two had been in a fight earlier in the day and Thomas was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was attacked.
Police found Thomas’s wallet in the victim’s car, which was later found by police, but the victim was not charged in connection with the stabbing.
Thomas, a student at UW-Madison, had been attending a class at the school when he disappeared from his classroom at around 1:30 a.m. on Feb 15.
Police said he was last seen on surveillance video wearing a black hoodie and dark jeans, walking to his dorm room with the door open.