Letter: Racist and homophobic vandalism will not be tolerated in our union

To the editor:

“Racist and homophobic vandalism will not be tolerated in our union”

A Graduate Employee Organization staff member was horrified to find this racist and homophobic vandalism on our office door in the Student Union this past Saturday in the afternoon.

(Courtesy of the Graduate Employment Organization)
(Courtesy of the Graduate Employment Organization)

As a union with a long history of standing against all forms of oppression and violence in the University of Massachusetts community, we are deeply saddened and outraged by this violent act, which twists a message of support and solidarity into a message of hate.

Our office serves as a refuge from an often painful and oppressive institution, and this language violates and disrespects the work we do to build a strong, united, community of student-workers and postdoctoral researchers who stand together against discrimination in all of its forms.

It also violates and disrespects the hundreds of student employees and postdoctoral students who are LGBTQAI and/or people of color, and seek out this office as a supportive and protective space.

This is part of a larger pattern of racist violence on our campus, such as the hateful threatening slur student-activists of color found scrawled on their dorm doors this past fall. These incidents cannot be treated as separate from one another.

Therefore, we call once again on the UMass administration, workforce and student body to stand with us against all forms of bigotry, devaluation and disrespect, especially those aimed at people of marginalized and oppressed identities who live, work, study and organize on this campus.

An attack on one of us is an attack on us all.

We contacted the administration about this Wednesday and expect a response soon.

Santiago Vidales, Anais Surkin, Enku Ide, Jocelyn Silverlight and Anna Waltman