A letter advocating “putting holes in the bodies of … thugs” arrived at the University of Wisconsin Multicultural Student Center, addressed to student leader and activist Ricardo Cortez de la Cruz.
The letter, which de la Cruz posted to Facebook Sunday, is titled as an “effective way to deal with rioters,” and advocates shooting holes in the bodies of campus protesters so that police can identify them. It also notes an effective method to thwart forensic tests to identify firearms.
The letter identifies its sender as James Pawlak of West Allis, Wisconsin, though UW Police have not yet positively identified the source of the letter. Pawlak is well-known as a prolific writer of letters and emails to Democratic elected officials as well as letters to the editors of various newspapers.
The letter also identifies the web address of Pawlak’s blog, in which he lays out a variety of racist and misogynistic opinions. Colleges were started white Christian men, Pawlak writes, so only white Christian men should be allowed to earn degrees. He also writes that black people should do more to combat illegal immigration, “as ‘illegals’ steal or occupy jobs which should be held by the poorest among us (Black youths).”
An email sent to the address listed on the letter was not immediately returned Tuesday. De la Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Madison365.
“Of course I take [the threat] seriously, but then there’s also a side of me that just knows, being a person of color, it’s not a complete shock,” de la Cruz told The Daily Cardinal. “It’s not going to scare me … part of being a social activist is that it just comes with the territory.”
The letter also mentions UC-Berkely, Claremont-McKenna College and Middlebury College as colleges where “mobs” operate. Inquiries with officials at those institutions were not immediately returned Tuesday evening; it’s unclear whether those institutions also received similar hate mail.
University of Wisconsin spokesperson Meredith McGlone said UW Police are aware and investigating, and that the University has reached out to de la Cruz to offer support and services. UW Police spokesman Marc Lovicott confirmed that an investigation is underway but could not share details Tuesday night.