College

UMass Amherst reports ‘a disturbing increase’ in racially targeted incidents on campus

“We condemn all acts of anti-Black racism and will work to diminish their intent to cause harm to Black students on campus.”

The message from the vice chancellor comes after several anti-Black racist hate was reported on campus. Jonathan Wiggs / The Boston Globe, File

UMass Amherst is reporting an increase in racially targeted anti-Black incidents on campus, according to a recent announcement by the university’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Nefertiti Walker.

The Sept. 23 message came after a racist email was sent to numerous Black-centered student groups on campus Sept. 17, Walker said. 

The email was sent from a non-student account and signed “UMass coalition for a better society,” addressing Black students of the UMass Amherst campus. The content, Walker said, was “vile, blatantly racist, and violently offensive.”

Screenshots of the alleged email shared by UMass students reveal derogatory references to Black students’ appearance and manner of speaking, and the assertion that “you simply did not get here on merit.”

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Student organizations have also reported receiving anti-Black hate messages in their “Contact Us” online forms, and in another incident, a group of Black students on campus were called an anti-Black racist epithet by a passing driver, according to the announcement from Walker.

“We condemn all acts of anti-Black racism and will work to diminish their intent to cause harm to Black students on campus,” Walker said in the message. 

Since the anti-Black racist email was sent, Walker has said UMass police are looking into the incident with the UMass Information Technology Department in an effort to identify the person who sent the email. 

Students were also encouraged to seek the campus resources available to them, and all of the students affiliated with groups or individuals targeted received outreach from the administration, Walker said in the message. 

“We stand in solidarity and support of our Black students, and in opposition to any anti-Black racism,” Walker said. “Please continue to report these hateful acts, even if the act is not directed to you.” 

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