UPDATE: UW student defends American Freedom Party chapter - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: UW student defends American Freedom Party chapter

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UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank

UPDATE (WKOW) -- The UW Madison student who is trying to start a pro-white group on campus is sharing his side of the story. 

Daniel Dropik, 33, said he was very mentally ill when he set two African American churches on fire.  "[My mental illness] is something that is in the court records and is well documented, it's not an excuse for what I did, I still accept responsibility," says Dropik. 

Dropik wants to start a chapter of the American Freedom Party on UW Madison's campus.  He does not agree that it's a hate group.  "The important part to remember is that me as an individual, in spite of my past, and that activities with this club right now, that neither one of these are centered around racial hatred or a desire to do harm based on their racial or ethnic backgrounds," says Dropik.  

The chapter has not yet been registered as an official student organization. 

In a message to the campus community UW Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank reaffirmed her commitment to safety on campus.  "We will not tolerate discrimination against any student. We also will not tolerate harassment, threats, hate crimes or violence against any student," Blank said in part. 

Blank also said she will ask the UW System to review its admissions policy.  As of right now it does not consider criminal history. 

Meanwhile numerous student organizations are collaberating to organize a march Tuesday evening against the American Freedom Party on campus. 

The Urban League of Greater Madison has also spoken out against Dropik.  In a letter from Ruben L. Anthony, Jr., the president and CEO, he said he was saddened about Dropik's effort that's "being promoted as part of the 'alt-right' movement."  Later in the letter Anthony wrote, "I understand that disseminating political information or expressing objectionable viewpoints is not illegal. However, this student exemplifies the way in which objectionable views - when directed against groups of people - can turn into dangerous, criminal acts that threaten the safety of a community."


MADISON (WKOW) -- A student's attempt to start an "alt-right" organization has caused UW-Madison's chancellor Rebecca Blank to call for a change in the UW System's admission process.

Blank sent out a statement Thursday afternoon, saying, in part, "Like many university systems, the UW System’s admission application does not ask for or allow us to consider a student’s criminal history as part of the admissions process. This is intended to ensure that students who have made mistakes, but paid their debt to society, are not prevented from accessing education. In light of this situation, I will request that the Board of Regents consider a review of this policy."

Blank did not identify the student in her statement, but says he claims to be affiliated with a recognized hate group, and was convicted in 2005 of burning two African-American churches.

The student has been identified as 33-year-old Daniel Dropik. Dropik says he is starting a chapter of the American Freedom Party, but he has not yet registered the group as an official student organization.

Federal court records show Dropik burned churches in Milwaukee and Lansing, Michigan.

In a statement Thursday, Dropik acknowledged his crime record and says he "regrets these violent and wrong acts."

He also admits he was "mentally ill" at the time of the crimes.

“Living in prison for a long time, you get to know people of different kinds, and it was a very positive thing and it helped me grow," said Dropik.  "Me as an individual, in spite of my past, and the activities with this club, neither one are centered around racial hatred or a desire to do harm based on their racial or ethnic backgrounds."

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