UMass residence director criticized for email urging student to take down ‘F*** Nazis’ sign

The University said the email was poorly worded and does not reflect campus values

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

By Jackson Cote, Collegian Correspondent

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A University of Massachusetts residential life staff member’s email to a student urging them to take down a sign in their dorm window saying “F*** Nazis You Are Not Welcome Here” has received criticism from several members of the campus community.

A photograph of the sign and a screenshot of the email were posted on the Facebook page “Overhead at UMass” on Wednesday. In the email, Eddie Papazoni, the residence director for Dickinson Hall, said the sign is permitted by freedom of speech, but he still wanted to talk with the student about its “impact on the community.”

“There are some in the community who have expressed that the sign should be taken down as it has created mixed emotions in the community on how to proceed, issues of inclusion, and the ability to be active members of the community,” Papazoni wrote. “While Residence Education cannot force you or your roommate to take the sign down, I am asking that you or your roommate take the sign down so that all students can be part of an inclusive residential experience, as well as having a respectful environment to be a part of here on our campus.”

The University said in a tweet on Thursday that the email was poorly worded and does not reflect campus values. It also said UMass is “sensitive to the use of profanity.”

“UMass Amherst emphatically rejects Nazis, and any other hate group, a view expressed in the students’ sign,” the tweet said.“The university respects the students’ right to display the sign and it may remain up.”

The residence director’s email spurred several social media users to speak out publicly against it, some noting the University has had issues during the fall semester with white supremacist flyers posted on campus, and that they believe the students’ “F*** Nazis” sign was therefore justified.

“We’ve been having a growing climate of white supremacy and neo-nazis on campus,” one person tweeted. “It’s absolutely terrifying.”

Papazoni was not immediately available for a comment on Friday afternoon.

Jackson Cote can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jackson_k_cote.