The University Massachusetts Amherst told a student that her “f— Nazis” sign that she made in response to an anti-Semitic hate crime on campus wasn’t “inclusive” and asked her to remove it.
Nicole Parsons told the Boston Globe that she put a sign in her dorm window reading “f— Nazis you are not welcome here” after a swastika was painted over a “Happy Hanukkah” sign earlier this month.
“I figured the person responsible would likely walk by my dorm and see it,” she said. “UMass administration has had abysmal response at best to the rising number of hate crimes on campus, so I thought someone should be publicly condemning these actions.”
But soon enough, the university administration contacted the student to tell her that her sign was not appropriate and she should take it down for the sake of inclusivity.
“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 a part of an inclusive residential experience, as well as having a respectful environment to be a part of here on our campus,” Eddie Papazoni, a resident director at UMass Amherst told the woman in an email.
Parsons was taken aback by the email from the school, because she didn’t believe it could have an issue with the message of her sign.
“I was in absolute shock,” Parsons told BuzzFeed. “This email tells me the university cares more about the feelings of Nazis than the safety of their students.”
Following the controversy, the university tried to repair the damage and released a statement stating that it doesn’t support the Nazis.
“A poorly worded email from Residence Life staff asking students to take down the sign does not reflect the values of the campus, and it should not have been sent,” the statement read. “UMass Amherst emphatically rejects Nazis, and any other hate group, a view expressed in the students’ sign.”
The university did object to Parsons’ “use of profanity” but affirmed her right to have the sign.
The student said she eventually took down the sign, but not because of the university. She reportedly said her roommate became concerned that the display brought attention to their room.