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.