UMass investigates source of racist emails at Amherst campus

September 28, 2021 GMT

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — The president of the University of Massachusetts is pledging to find out who sent racist emails to Black student organizations at the flagship Amherst campus, but some students say the administration’s reaction is too late.

“The blatantly racist emails recently sent to Black student organizations at UMass Amherst and other deplorable acts of anti-Black hatred are appalling and disgusting,” system President Marty Meehan said in a statement Monday. “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.”

Those responsible will be held accountable, he said.

The emails, among other things, question the intelligence of Black students.

The university has hired a cybersecurity firm, Stroz Friedberg Inc., to investigate the source of the anonymous 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,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in an email to the campus community.

The UMass Black Student Union, in a message posted on social media last weekend, said that Black student organizations have been getting racist emails for weeks and that the university has been slow to respond.

“Black organizations started receiving racist emails as early as the second week of September,” the message said. “It took the university almost a month from the initial anti-Black racist incidents, to acknowledge these instances. 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.’ ”