UMass president condemns 'blatantly racist' emails sent to Black student organizations

UMass president condemns 'blatantly racist' emails sent to Black student organizations
© WWLP News

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has condemned a series of hateful emails targeting Black student groups and hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate and determine the message's origin. 

University President Marty Meehan condemned the messages, saying the “blatantly racist e-mails recently sent to Black student organizations at UMass Amherst and other deplorable acts of anti-Black hatred are appalling and disgusting.”

“While UMass Amherst is still trying to identify the source of these messages, we do know that the messages in no way reflect the true character of the UMass community and we have zero tolerance for such behavior,” Meehan continued. 

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One of the emails sent to Black student groups, authored by an organization self-styled as the “UMass Coalition for a Better Society,”  reportedly denigrated Black students with a host of stereotypes and epithets, according to WWLP

“We look down upon you, we instantly know in all manners from your language which most of you still speak in some broken form of Ebonics or to ghetto-speak to where your from (third-world sewers in America bought and paid for by the u.s taxpayer) to how you live (like hoodrats) to how you appear (fro hair, big lips, black skin) you are different,” a portion of the email read, according to WWLP.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy wrote in a letter to the student body on Monday that the school hired Stroz Friedberg Digital Forensic to assist in identifying the source of the emails.

“While we are mindful of the challenges of determining the source of anonymous emails such as these, we are confident that Stroz Friedberg, with its extensive expertise and technical capacity, will methodically follow every lead in pursuit of the contemptible individual or individuals responsible,” Subbaswamy wrote, noting the university will offer a series of opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion.  

The university’s Black Student Union in an Instagram post challenged the time they say the institution took to respond to reports of the racist messages, alleging that “it took the university almost a month from the initial anti-Black racist incidents.” 

“The university’s lengthy response time to racial incidents compared to their rapid response to non-racial incidents is not reflective of a university that claims to be ‘committed in policy, principle, and practice to maintaining an environment which prohibits discriminatory behavior and provides equal opportunity for all persons,’” the Black Student Union wrote.