UMASS Student Told to Remove Sign Against Nazis from Dorm Window

Kevin Rutherford [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Student was shocked at the response

Nicole Parsons, a junior student of the University of Massachusetts, was told by a residence director to remove a sign she had made and hung from her dormitory window. Eddie Papazoni, the residence director (RA) in question urged her to remove the sign as it failed to foster any semblance of inclusion.

According to Parsons, the impetus behind the sign was an incident where an existing Happy Hanukkah sign inside the campus was written over by a crude swastika. The sign in the center of the controversy signaled her protest. It said, “F*** Nazis, you are not welcome.” Her rationale was that the person who drew the swastika may see the sign and realize someone had condemned such a heinous action, even in the midst of administrative apathy.

The junior student was understandably shocked to receive an email from the university RA. The latter wrote that the purpose of his email was to inform her that although she was totally allowed to display the sign as per Freedom of Speech statutes, it would be helpful if she meets him to discuss the sign’s impact on the university community. The email went on to state that a few community members have expressed chagrin at the sign and hope the sign will be taken down. The creation of mixed emotions has led to consternation among community members on how to proceed on this matter and inclusion issues. They are also confused as to how they can be active members within their communities. The email concludes by asking her to take off the sign to enable all university students to enjoy an inclusive experience while in residence at the university. The sign’s removal, as per the author, will also foster a respectful environment within the campus.

In her interview with BuzzFeed, she felt the email showed the university cared more about the feelings of Nazis rather than the safety of its students. The University of Massachusetts soon backtracked, distancing itself from the email written by one of its RAs. In another email, university authorities said the RA’s email was poorly worded, and it was wrong to send in the first place. The university roundly rejects Nazis and all other kinds of hate groups.

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