Letter to the Editor: Trump, hate crimes, and UMass

By Opinion & Editorial Staff

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Collegian
Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Collegian

To the Editor:

With all of the controversy going on because of this year’s election, we’ve seen an uprising in hate crimes throughout the country. As a white male here at the University of Massachusetts, I’m deeply concerned for my friends who are being singled out by these Trump supporters. I’m not saying all of Trump’s supporters hate people of color and women, but there are some here at UMass that do.

In an article talking about the rise of hate crimes in New York since Trump was elected the author Michael Daly writes, “Donald Trump has almost certainly helped spur a hate crime spike in a city that derives its greatness from its diversity and otherwise leads the rest of the country in crime reduction.” In another article from the New Yorker we see a specific hate crime: “One woman in Colorado told the S.P.L.C. that her twelve-year-old daughter was approached by a boy who said, ‘Now that Trump is President, I’m going to shoot you and all the blacks I can find.’”

These issues are occurring here at UMass. My friend, who is a person of color, and I were walking to get food one night as multiple apples were thrown at us from up high. When we looked at the ground, we saw about 40 apples. A few days later in English class my teacher mentioned how there is a group of people who are throwing apples at people of color. I was furious that someone was doing that. More importantly, UMass still hasn’t taken action. This cannot be ignored and most certainly won’t be forgotten.

Another issue I am writing to you about is the Nazi-affiliated flag hanging in a window in a dorm. This flag is referred to as the “German Imperial War Flag.” I always thought college campuses were supposed to be safe, but to me this makes no one feel safe.

In an interview with my friend, I asked him how the two incidents made him feel. About the apple throwing, he said, “It made me feel disrespected and like I don’t belong.” When asked about the flag, he said, “That made me see that the world is not progressing as well we thought it was.”

UMass Amherst is a very diverse school with many different races, yet my friend feels like he does not belong. One part of the UMass mission statement states, “The University of Massachusetts Amherst, as a public land-grant institution, has a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for all people, while demonstrating our commitment to inclusion of historically underrepresented groups.” This is actually very ironic considering my friend, as I stated earlier, feels as though he does not belong.


                                                        Shaymus Dunn, UMass student