A group of more than 70 University of Arizona (UA) professors are calling on university police to drop charges against two students who protested an event which featured Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The group wrote in a letter to the university's president, Robert Robbins, that UA should focus on ensuring the safety of its students and faculty.  

"We ask that you, in your role as President, end the investigations and harassment of the students by demanding that UAPD Chief, Brian Seastone, drop the charges against them," faculty members wrote in the letter dated Wednesday. "We also implore you to ask the the Dean of Students to support rather than investigate the two students."


The professors, part of a group called Professors of Color, said Mexican American Studies faculty, staff and students have received death threats since the protest went viral.

"Rather than its current emphasis on investigating and criminalizing free speech, the UAPD and administration's highest priority should be an immediate UA response to the death threats and the impact that the Border Patrol on campus has on many of our students, staff, and employees," they wrote. 

The Hill has reached out to the University of Arizona for comment. 

The University previously announced that the two students would be charged with misdemeanors in their role in the demonstration. Students were reportedly outside the room where CBP agents were speaking and called the agents "Murder Patrol" and "an extension of the KKK," according to a video of the incident reviewed by the Arizona Republic.

In a letter posted online last week, Robbins called the incident "a dramatic departure from our expectations of respectful behavior and support for free speech on this campus." 

A spokesman for the university told the Arizona Republic that the institution received information Tuesday from the Mexican American Studies faculty about a threat, which was then shared with UA police.

UA police and other law enforcement agencies "evaluated the message and the source of the message and determined there was not a threat to campus or to public safety," the spokesman said.