2 white UConn students arrested after video showed them shouting racial slurs

Students on campus demanded action after video of the incident surfaced, saying it is indicative of broader issues of racism at the school.
Image: Jarred Karal and Ryan Mucaj.
Jarred Karal and Ryan Mucaj.UConn Police Department

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By Ben Kesslen

Two white students at the University of Connecticut were arrested Monday after video that showed them shouting racial slurs prompted campus protests, university police told NBC News.

Jarred Mitchell Karal, 21, and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, 21, face charges of ridicule on account of race, color, or creed. They were released with a court date set for Oct. 30 at Rockville Superior Court in Vernon, Connecticut.

Karal and Mucaj’s charges could result in a $50 fine or up to 30 days in jail.

NBC sent emails to the two men Tuesday morning requesting comment but did not immediately hear back.

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Campus police learned of the incident from social media footage showing Karal and Mucaj shouting epithets in an apartment complex parking lot, a university spokesperson told NBC News. The men were playing a game that involved yelling vulgar words, university police said, and then started shouting epithets. Karal and Mucaj were walking with a third man, whom police said did not shout epithets and was not charged.

The Oct. 11 incident sparked an outcry on campus, particularly from some black students who said it was indicative of broader issues of racism at the university.

“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," freshman Mason Holland told NBC Connecticut.

The university last week organized a meeting at the apartment complex where the slurs were heard to discuss the incident.

On campus Monday, students marched to demand further action from the university, and they met at a gathering hosted by the campus NAACP chapter to discuss the climate for students of color on campus.

In a letter published in the student paper Monday, the NAACP also demanded that the university take action after the parking lot incident and another that allegedly occurred at a fraternity.

“If the university does not adequately address and handle these occurrences of racism appropriately, it will create a culture in which racism is tolerated and normalized,” the organization wrote, adding a list of demands aimed at making the campus safer and more welcoming to black students.

In a statement, University President Thomas C. Katsouleas said it was important to hold Karal and Mucaj accountable for their actions.

“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,” he said. “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.”