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UMass: Black students and groups once again targeted by ‘deeply racist’ email sent by ‘coward’

AMHERST, Mass. — Black students and Black student groups at UMass Amherst have once again been targeted again by racist emails, according to a letter to the campus community from the university chancellor.

The chancellor says the emails were sent Tuesday evening.

“Four Black student groups, several individual Black students, and one campus office received an email containing deeply racist, hateful language similar in tone to an email sent to Black student groups last semester,” according to Umass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy.

“We have alerted law enforcement to seek assistance in identifying the source of this new anti-Black racist email and will do everything within our power to hold the racist, hateful coward who sent it accountable.” said Subbaswamy. “Investigations into such incidents, law enforcement experts say, are often difficult. The investigation into the original email from the fall of 2021 has thus far been inconclusive.”

The September 2021 racist emails received national attention. Students who spoke with Boston 25 then said they were hurt, but not surprised.

“Every year since I’ve been here there’s been a racist incident and it feels like it’s only gotten worse,” said UMass junior Zach Steward. “It feels like this place doesn’t care about me it has never cared about me and never will.”

UMass says it is working with the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office in the current investigation.

“The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, along with its law enforcement partners, approaches this  investigation with the utmost seriousness, care and attention,” said District Attorney David E. Sullivan.Free speech is rightly held dear in this country, but it does permit hate speech that threatens and intimidates in a way that interferes with a  right to education.”

“I realize how frustrating the slow progress of the investigation is and how profoundly disturbing it is that our Black students have been targeted again,” said Subbaswamy. “I am angry and frustrated as well. I will thoroughly assess the status of our investigation and will inquire with law enforcement agencies to make sure that we are doing everything possible to bring the perpetrator of these hateful acts to justice.”

“If that person is someone in the campus community, they will face severe university sanctions, up to and including expulsion or employment termination, as well as a referral to the District Attorney for criminal prosecution,” according to the chancellor’s letter.

“In the meantime, I want to express my solidarity with our Black students, faculty and staff,” said Subbaswamy. “I will work with campus leaders to ensure that support services are made available to those who seek them and will keep the campus community updated on any developments going forward.”

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