You can’t make some stuff up. According to WISC-TV, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student who is in the middle of trying to start a white nationalist group on campus has served time in federal prison for setting two black churches on fire.
Daniel Dropik, 33, pleaded guilty to arson charges in 2005 after starting fires at two churches with predominantly black congregations, one in Milwaukee and one in Michigan.
Dropik was sentenced to five years and three months in prison for the arsons, which cost the churches a combined $6,000 in damages. The Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee had approximately $1,000 in damages, while the fire at the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lansing, Mich., caused some $5,000 in damages.
WISC-TV notes that court documents say that Dropik set the fires after he was allegedly beaten up by several black men at a party near UW-Madison.
Dropik started the hashtag #UWAltRight but insists that it’s not about hate.
“We’re not a hate group; we’re a love group,” Dropik told WISC-TV in a phone interview. “We want to support people, and we are opening this to people of any ethnicity.”
“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,” UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement Thursday to the campus.
Blank noted that the university system’s admissions application does not ask about students’ criminal history as part of the admission process, but now there are plans to review that 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, adding that there was no information to suggest any specific threat to individuals or the campus.
Read more at WISC-TV.