AMHERST, Mass. — University officials and campus police are investigating after a racist anti-Black email was sent to multiple Black student organizations at UMass Amherst.
“The content of these emails is vile, blatantly racist, and violently offensive,” said Nefertiti Walker, Vice-Chancellor at UMass Amherst.
Furthermore, in last Thursday’s message to the campus community addressing the situation, Walker stated that the school condemns “all acts of anti-Black racism and will work to diminish their intent to cause harm to Black students on campus.”
Students at Amherst and other schools have vocalized that these types of anti-Black incidents are nothing new. In an Instagram post, the Black Student Union at Amherst called out the university about the incident, as well as other occurrences of racism against Black students on campus.
“And although we are disappointed, we are certainly not surprised… The incident involving offenders driving by and yelling anti-Black racist epithets at a group of Black Students, occurred late August before the semester had even started” read the post.
The Black Student Union also expressed their concerns in the University’s prolonged response time to racial incidents as opposed to their faster responses to non-racial incidents.
UMass Amherst claims to be “committed in policy, principle, and practice to maintaining an environment which prohibits discriminatory behavior and provides equal opportunity for all persons” in their Non-Discrimination Statement on the official UMass Amherst website.
However, it took the university almost a month to acknowledge these instances from the initial anti-Black racist incidents, said the Black Student Union.
In an effort to support Black students impacted and targeted by these emails at UMass Amherst, Walker stated that the following is ongoing:
Administrators from multiple campus units have followed up and connected the students to campus resources
Student affairs and campus life administrators have held office hours dedicated to giving affected students space to gather for dialogue and support.
All students impacted have received emails, calls, and outreach from leaders within the administration in multiple campus units to dialogue, receive support and create opportunities for healing.
Staff working with student groups targeted have been updated and provided direction on how to support impacted students.
A safe space was provided for black students on campus Thursday, September 30th at 6:30 PM, stated the Instagram post made by the Black Student Union. For more information, please follow @umassbsu and @umassbmcp on Instagram.