UW international students lead ‘Stop Asian Hate’ march

MADISON, Wis. – Outraged and feeling unsafe, UW international students led a group of hundreds down State Street in a protest demanding more action be taken to protect Asian students on campus.

On Friday, Madison police shared information about an alleged attack involving a doctoral student near the UW-Madison campus they believe was linked to two others in the downtown area but don’t believe were driven by race.

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Rally and march organizers said they’ve seen hate on and around campus rising towards Asian students and they want the university to do more to protect its students.

“It really makes me feel unsafe walking on campus,” said UW graduate student Karisa Lyu. “We didn’t receive any of the WiscAlerts we typically receive.”

At the event, organizers shared information about a petition circulating calling on university officials to do more.

Lyu said they are asking leadership to better educate the study body by instituting mandatory education around race, as they do for sexual assault and drinking.

Marching alongside the group were members of the school’s International Student Services program, there offering their support.

Among them was program director Samantha McCabe who said since the Ph.D. student came forward with their story, she’s heard several others.

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“I was quite emotional,” she said. “Breaking into tears that this has happened again and that an assault had happened to one of our international students.”

McCabe said what makes these attacks especially tough is that their students, so far away from home, don’t have the same support system or understanding of the U.S. legal system others on campus do.

“I know how tremendously difficult it is for our students to come forward and share their stories to organize something like this that is not always culturally appropriate in their home countries,” she added.

According to McCabe, 13% of the student population is made of international students with 50 percent of those students  from China alone.

In a statement, UW officials said they are aware of these recent acts of violence but have no evidence to suggest they were racially motivated.

However, they also said they know they have some work to do to ensure everyone on campus feels like they belong.