Wisconsin Student Accused Of Arson In Hoax Hate Crime

Viterbo University in Wisconsin has been the scene of protests for months over alleged hate crimes committed on campus.  The police however has charged a student, Victoria Unanka, with what it says was a hoax hate crime involving the setting of a fire in her dormitory. What interested me about the case was the curious combination of criminal charges. She is being charged with both arson and “the negligent handling of burning materials.”

The arson occurred during protests over alleged racial incidents on campus. A student complained about racial slurs directed against her. The university cancelled classes and campus-wide demonstrations were held. One of those who reportedly spoke at the demonstrations was Unanka.

The LaCrosse Police Department report states that Unanka “admitted to intentionally setting the fire in the second level lounge for attention purposes.”  According to media reports, President Glena Temple has later announced that the responsible student would be expelled.

There were also slurs written on a dorm room door and the campus installed cameras and launched a full investigation. That investigation was closed and a Viterbo spokesperson said that “the remaining person of interest is no longer a student.”

Viterbo is not the only university dealing with such a controversy. Wayne State University Police launched a major investigation after student Zoriana Martinez alleged that, on February 16 and March 1, someone threw eggs at her residence hall door. She also alleged someone tore down her LGBT Pride sticker and stole a photo of her dog.  While the police later concluded that Martinez was likely responsible for the acts herself, it did not seek charges. There was a notable twist.  The police report indicated that “Isis,” a Wayne State University employee was believed to have information on the case. However, she “isn’t compelled to speak with police or WSU administration despite the fact that Isis is a WSU employee and holds some obligation to report such concerns.”

Back to Viterbo.  What struck me about the story was the initial charges of arson and negligent handling of of burning materials. One is an intentional act while the other is an act based on fault rather than intent.

Here is the latter provision:

941.10 Negligent handling of burning material.

(1)Whoever handles burning material in a highly negligent manner is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(2)Burning material is handled in a highly negligent manner if handled with criminal negligence under s. 939.25 or under circumstances in which the person should realize that a substantial and unreasonable risk of serious damage to another’s property is created.

History: 1977 c. 173; 1987 a. 399.

The charges seem inherently in conflict. However, this may be an effort to offer a plea for the lesser charge, though it is not clear why the prosecutors would not seek an arson plea if the evidence is strong. The fire endangered everyone living in the dorm.

There is also a possibility that the prosecutors will shake out the charges by adding and dropping charges.  The negligent charge can be a placeholder in that sense, a charge that is likely to pass judicial muster on review as they work out other possible charges.

15 thoughts on “Wisconsin Student Accused Of Arson In Hoax Hate Crime”

  1. Viterabo is a private liberal arts college in Wisconsin and is not connected to the University of Wisconsin system.

  2. As a retired university professor I doubt that the institution was interested in any publicity about the arson. Expelling was enough.

  3. Another example of liberal university disconnect.
    What do they expect when 50% of their courses are some version of Reichstaging 101 or Get Whitey 101 or Genocide Lite for Dummies?
    Oh right, they expect it to be blamed on White privilege.

  4. Not for nuthin’ JT, but the headline ‘EMOTIONALLY EDGY COLLEGE STUDENT SETS MATTRESS ON FIRE” is a headline that would describe any number of incidents at every college throughout the school year.

    Hell, I had a hockey player roomate that managed to spark up his mattress at least four times in one semester. But we know one thing about this post, don’t we? It let you spend time not commenting on the world of pain Barr finds himself in right now. Bring on that IG report.

    eb

  5. There have been a string of hoax racist hate crimes.

    You didn’t see these hoaxes in Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa, or North Korea. This is because people who are truly persecuted for their race or religion don’t need to resort to hoaxes to come up with examples of it.

    Yet more proof that the US is not systemically racist against black people may be found in these repeated hate crime hoaxes. It wouldn’t cross the mind of a subjugated people to make up a hoax if real instances were at hand.

    I don’t think the DA should allow these fraudsters to plead out to light charges, such as the “negligent handling of burning material.” She committed arson and could have killed everyone in her dorm. She is a racist, because she fabricated persecution by white people.

    If a white woman declared a black man terrorized or threatened her, she would be accused of being racist. Same standard should apply.

    By pretending that white students terrorized and tried to burn her dorm, she committed a hate crime against her white fellow students.

    The next time anyone is offended that an accusation of racist slurs or racist harassment requires supporting evidence, just like any other accusation of a crime, please see this as Exhibits A and B.

    1. Karen: ” I don’t think the DA should allow these fraudsters to plead out to light charges”

      ***
      I am surprised she is charged at all. Often these vicious, racist hoaxes are swept under the rug followed by new programs to combat white supremacy or tear down a statue or portrait– hoax used to compound a greater hoax.

  6. Thinking about the perversion of justice by Lefties.

    When prosecutors apply differing standards (eg Portland rioters versus Capitol rioters), Americans lose faith in the equal application of justice.

    Justice is one of the bedrocks of our society.

    Also consider the Left’s racial bigotry in government policies (eg black only farm subsidies).

    The Left is weakening our society while seeking short-term gain.

    We (all Americans) need to fight these trends.

  7. The latest in a long line…hate crime hoaxes go back a long way. Anyone remember Twana Brawley?

    It doesn’t matter whether it is a hoax or not, it is the “message” that needs that needs sending to our “white supremacist” society, right?

    Just waiting for some s@@tlib to say such.

    antonio

  8. She likely learned from another Wisconsin student, Althea Bernstein, that there’s good money and celebrity to be gained in faking a hate crime.

  9. Not one media outlet besides a FOX affiliate is even reporting on this story, lol. Gee, what a shocker.

  10. All similar supposed campus hate crimes are manufactured by the left to frame conservatives as racists. We’ve seen it time and again..

  11. Somewhat surprised that no one is arguing arson as protected symbolic speech. It wouldn’t be a good argument —

  12. Compare the gentle treatment of Lefty criminals with the treatment of the Capitol rioters.

    Many of them are still in solitary confinement – pretrial!

    Talk about no presumption of innocence.

    Think back to Jessie Smollett (sp?), who still hasn’t served a day in jail.

  13. The evidence should determine the charge….and as we have seen in far too many cases….politics has been the determining factor.

    Instead of evidence based prosecutions…we are seeing prosecution decisions based upon occupations (Police Officers), Race (Whites), Social Agenda (Immediate Release without Bond or Prosecution), and the more mundane…..Sociall Privilege (wealth, connections, membership in favored groups).

    Our society needs to get back to a single standard of justice….and treat everyone “equally”…regardless of crime, socio-economic status, Race, Sexual Identity, and of course…..actual crime committed.

    But we all know that is not our Criminal Justice System of today.

    What are our Law Schools and Law Professors teaching their students that fosters such notions of justice?

    Tell us Professor Turley…..where have we gone wrong in our educational systems…..that you yourself are a part of and thus should have a very clear insight into that situation.

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