UMass Investigating 'Racist, Hateful' Emails Sent To Black Students

University of Massachusetts Amherst students say they’re upset by the email but not shocked anymore after a disturbing pattern.

Another investigation is underway after several Black students and four Black student groups at the University of Massachusetts Amherst received a new email with “deeply racist, hateful language” on May 3 similar to an email they received last semester, the school’s chancellor said in a statement to the campus community.

“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,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy added.

The chancellor said he’s standing with the students who are fed up with what they say is a recurring situation.

“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. I am angry and frustrated as well,” he said.

Subbaswamy did not identify the students or groups targeted, and his message did not give any details about the content of the hate mail.

“These types of instances have repeatedly happened every single semester I have been here. It’s disgusting, but it’s not even a shock anymore,” UMass senior Helton Pongon told CBS Boston.

The latest email suggested that authorities have not identified the perpetrator because local law enforcement officials sympathize with the hate message, according to CBS Boston. It’s an allegation that Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan denied, saying that the email is full of mistruths.

“The provocative and inflammatory email sent out yesterday to a select group at UMass is an attempt to sow discord and division within the UMass Amherst community,” CBS quoted Sullivan.

“Unfortunately, currently in our country there is an effort to use misinformation as a weapon to provoke fear and mistrust. I believe the UMass community is far stronger and smarter than the writers of this email seem to think.”

RELATED: Racist Social Media Post Targets Black Greek-Letter Organizations At Arkansas State University

RELATED: FBI Says Six Juveniles Cited As 'Persons Of Interest' In HBCU Bomb Threats

Local station WFXT reported that the similar email the chancellor referred to was received in September 2021.

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

In his May 3 statement, Subbaswamy noted that law enforcement experts say these types of investigations “are often difficult” to solve, acknowledging that the investigation so far into the September email has “been inconclusive.”

Nevertheless, UMass is working with multiple agencies, including the campus police and technology teams, the local district attorney’s office and independent experts.

“This multi-faceted approach ensures that the investigation is as comprehensive and independent as possible,” he said.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.