The University of Massachusetts Amherst made clear last week that it does not wish to include Nazis at the school.
The school affirmed this in a statement on Facebook, issued after a student was urged to remove a “F*** Nazis” sign over “issues of inclusion.”
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Student Nicole Parsons had hung the sign in her dorm window after someone drew a swastika on a “Happy Hanukkah” sign at the university, BuzzFeed News reported.
The sign prompted an email from Eddie Papazoni, a residence life director at the school.
The email reads as follows, according to a tweet cited by Boston.com:
“Though this sign is permitted under freedom of speech, I would also like to discuss the impact on the community that this sign has had. 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 went on to say, “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 an inclusive residential experience, as well as having a respectful environment to be a part of here on our campus.”
Parsons was in “absolute shock” at the email, she told BuzzFeed.
“This email tells me the university cares more about the feelings of Nazis than the safety of their students.”
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The university responded one day after that email circulated on Twitter.
In a statement issued on Facebook, it said, “a poorly-worded email from residence life staff asking students to take down the sign does not reflect the values of the values of the campus, and it should not have been sent.”
The school added, however, that it is “sensitive to the use of profanity, which some could find inappropriate.”
Nevertheless, “the university respects the students’ right to display the sign and it may remain up.”
The row over the sign came in a year that saw numerous acts of hate reported at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
There were 19 acts reported at the university since September, according to MassLive.
They included the swastika drawn on the Hanukkah sign, as well as homophobic graffiti in a men’s bathroom.
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The university is working to ensure students are aware of how to report hateful incidents, campus spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski told Boston.com.
They can do so by calling emergency numbers or by using an Anonymous Tip Line that allows people to “anonymously and confidentially report security and safety-related concerns” and provide police with “tips about criminal incidents or suspicious activities.”