Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Vandalism found in Melville Hall stairwell

Second act of vandalism in the residential building this academic year

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Vandalism found in Melville Hall stairwell

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

By Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg, Translations Head

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The stairwell sign on the second floor of Melville Hall at the University of Massachusetts was found vandalized on Thursday, Nov. 1.

The etching is of a square with two wide Xs across it. Although initially reported as a depicting a Confederate flag, UMPD have concluded that the vandalism does not distinctly resemble the Confederate flag, according to a campus-wide email sent out by Dean of Students Cara Appel-Silbaugh.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” police immediately removed the vandalism, the email stated.

However, the African Students Association do not believe that this was just an “incident.”

“This is not just vandalism,” the ASA said in a statement made on their official Instagram page. “This is hate.”

In the campus-wide email, Appel-Silbaugh acknowledged that “misunderstandings about the nature of this act of vandalism can add to the anxiety felt by members of our community.” She advised students to practice self-care and to take advantage of campus resources, such as resident assistants, the Dean of Students Office and the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health.

When asked for comment, Ed Blaguszewski, head of UMass News and Media Relations, concurred with the email sent out.

However, according to their statement, the ASA does not believe that this was a “misunderstanding.”

“They [the University] try to mislabel acts of racism in order to diminish the problems that exist on campus,” the ASA Instagram post said.

“When hate crimes occur, they affect us all,” the post continued. “We must continue to stand together.”

This is the second act of vandalism that has occurred in Melville this year. On Sept. 22, the threat “Hang Melville n******” was found written on the mirror in the third floor women’s bathroom, according to a prior Collegian article.

Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @busybusybeckybe.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Vandalism found in Melville Hall stairwell”

  1. amy on November 4th, 2018 12:08 pm

    Wow…. a square with two Xs.. Wow it’s so clearly the confederate flag.

    Nobody or almost nobody is against racism but hysteria is why nobody takes claims of racism seriously. This is like when someone left a banana peel or shared pictures of a gorilla with zero racist references and everyone cries ‘racist’ or when people put the okay sign, which everyone does and little children and that is ‘racist’. . Or to call a black person black is ‘racist’.

    The sad thing is if real racism actually occurs, then nobody will take it seriously. Which is a serious problem for other students of color and minorities on campus aside from african-americans like Jews and Asians and also other groups like homosexuals.

  2. Ed Cutting, EdD on November 4th, 2018 11:15 pm

    For what it is worth, this sounds like the symbol that the WW-II-era OSS used as the symbol for their fictitious “enemy state.” (Many of the old OSS training movies are now declassified and on YouTube.)
    .
    It was a fictitious symbol — and that was 70 years ago. Good Lord……..

  3. Ben on November 5th, 2018 7:14 pm

    Wow…racist comment by Amy. Asians almost never face discrimination in our country and have plenty of privilege, they are loved by white people.

    This issue is about what happened to black students on campus and no other group. Any accusation of racism by black people need to be taken very seriously and how they perceive it.

    To them they saw the confederate flag which is a symbol of white supremacy, racism, bigotry and patriarchy and they go triggered by it. We need to do everything to give comfort and aide to black students on campus as they go through a difficult period.

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