UMass student charged in connection with alleged involvement in racist vandalisms

By Aviva Luttrell

Updated: Oct. 21 at 1:22 a.m.

A University of Massachusetts student has been charged in connection with his alleged involvement in two recent acts of racist vandalism on campus, according to an email sent out to the campus community by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

Devin Ayres, 20, of North Andover, was arraigned Monday in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown on charges of vandalizing property and property damage to intimidate. The latter charge provides basis for a hate crime prosecution, according to the email.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported Monday that Ayres left racist messages on or near two rooms in the John Quincy Adams tower, located in the Southwest Residential Area on Oct. 11. The incidents were reported Oct. 13.

According to the Gazette, one message used the N-word on a woman’s door and the other was found on a white board belonging to two women, which read, “You guys got N***** boyfriends,” and included a heart symbol followed by the number 1810.

The incidents were separate from the intimidating messages found in Coolidge and Washington towers that prompted student protests and discussion of racism last week, according to the Gazette.

“Matters like this are also typically addressed through the Code of Student Conduct. … In all such cases, alleged violators face significant and prompt sanctions,” Subbaswamy wrote in the email. “The student in this case is no longer on our campus.”

UMass spokesperson Edward Blaguszewski declined to comment on whether Ayres has been expelled from the University, but according to a statement from the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, he was “ordered to stay away from the victim(s) and stay away from the UMass campus.”

A tweet from a Twitter account appearing to belong to Ayres, @DayresSK, tweeted, “can you turn off the n***** option on tinder?” on May 26. The account has since been deleted, but a cached version is available on Google.

Ayres is due to return to court for a pre-trial hearing Nov. 21, according to the statement.

The UMass Police Department will continue its investigation into similar incidents, according to the email. Anyone with relevant information is urged to contact the Dean of Students Office at 413-545-2684 or UMPD at 413-545-2121. Confidential tips can be reported to the UMPD TIPS Line at 413-577-8477.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @AvivaLuttrell.