Daniel Dropik, 33, decided to organize a local chapter of the American Freedom Party in the university of Wisconsin-Madison where he is a student.
He claimed that he felt frustrated over the Black Lives Matter movement and especially with their presence on campus. So, he decided to “protect” himself from them by creating his own “safe space:” a chapter of the American Freedom Party, which is a political party with deep ties to white supremacism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Minorities have been pushing the University to better protection of their rights for long time already as there were too many incidents targeting black and Jewish students. The campus saw a string of racially charged incidents in the spring of 2016, including a black student getting spit on and called racial slurs, a swastika drawn on a Jewish student's door and police arresting a black student during class for spray-painting anti-racist messages on buildings.
Dropik, who spoke to The Associated Press in an interview, said the university has gone overboard in supporting non-white students and promoting cultural diversity.
"It's become unacceptable," Dropik said. "If white people have problems, they need to be able to organize."
When someone decided to check Dropik’s history, it turned out that he had been in prison. And that would be nothing bad in it if it wasn’t for arson of two black churches. According to court documents, Dropik set the fires as racial retaliation for prior encounters with African-Americans not related to either church. According to the documents, Dropik set the fires after he was allegedly beat up by several black men at a party near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He served 5 years in prison.
Since he was released from jail, he entered the university and is now at his second year studying computer science. He denied that his group promotes white supremacism and said he has been bombarded with threats since he started handing out information about the chapter on campus about a week ago. A dozen UW-Madison students and community members have expressed interest in joining, he said.
UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank addressed the findings Thursday with the campus.
"I have also become aware that he was convicted in 2005 of racially motivated arsons of two African-American churches. I am appalled by attacks on churches and by organizations that express hatred of people of color, Jews, Muslims or any other identity," Blank said in the statement.
Blank said the University System’s admission application does not ask about students’ criminal history as a part of the admission process. Blank said she now plans to review the policy.
"In light of this situation, I will request that the Board of Regents consider a review of this policy," she said. "The safety of our campus community is my top priority. I recognize the mere presence of this activity is concerning. But handing out political information and expressing objectionable, even hateful, viewpoints is not illegal nor a violation of any campus policy," Blank said.
Students are planning a Tuesday march protesting Dropik's efforts. As of Thursday night, more than 170 people plan to attend and 600 more are interested, according to the Facebook event.
Of course, people have right for free speech, but students don’t believe that Dropik’s speeches will be peaceful. Kat Kerwin, one of the protest organizers, called Dropik's group "a modern-day Ku Klux Klan." Kerwin's group, the Student Coalition for Progress, plans to demand university leaders do not recognize the Madison-American Freedom Party as an official student organization.
Still, Dropik is sure he won’t have any trouble with registration of his group and it doesn’t look like he’s going to step back.