Incident of anti-Blackness reported in a UMass residential hall

Racist statement written on the dry erase board of a Black resident


Ana Pietrewicz / Daily Collegian

By Irina Costache, Assistant News Editor

After weeks of turmoil regarding sexual assault allegations and multiple anti-Black hate crimes, the University of Massachusetts reported another case of anti-Blackness that occurred at Crampton Residential Hall in the Southwest Residential Area.

The incident occurred on September 24, however, students in the residence hall were notified oN October 7 via an email from Liza Hungerford, residence director of the Crampton/Prince cluster.

According to the email, “An Anti-Black racist statement was written on the dry erase board of a Black resident of this community.”

A series of similar racist incidents occurred in Melville Residential Hall in 2018, demonstrating a pattern of anti-Blackness on the University campus that has not been uprooted.

The email stated that the incident was reported to the UMass Police Department to investigate.

University spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski said via email that the protocol followed by the University in this situation was for the residence director to set up an individual meeting with the impacted student.

“The full-time staff member provides support for the student and gives the student agency in determining next steps within the community,” said Blaguszewski.

He added, “In the meeting with the student, the university provides student resources such as how to make a room change if they feel that that is best for their well-being, support resources such as CCPH, Dean of Students (for faculty notification), and if there are upcoming programs such as the BSU Safe Space and the upcoming Circles of Solidarity programs.”

When asked about what preventative measures the University is taking, Blaguszewski said “Anonymous incidents of this kind are difficult to solve when there are no witnesses. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to report it to UMPD.”

If the perpetrator is identified, “they will be subjected to the Code of Student Conduct process and the discipline ranges up to and includes expulsion,” he added.

Students who have any information about the incident should contact Officer Jason Minich at [email protected] or the UMPD directly at 413-545-2121. Incidents can also be reported through the Office of Equity & Inclusion.

To aim to address the psychological effects of the crime, the University is directing students to the Dean of Students Office, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health or the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success. The residence director is making themself available for two hours on Friday to speak to students. Resident assistants will also be conducting individual reach outs to residents.

“We stand in solidarity with and support of our Black students, and in opposition to any anti-Black racism,” read the email.

Irina Costache can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @irinaacostache.