AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- An investigation into racist graffiti recently discovered at UMass Amherst follows a string of racist incidents on-campus and now, local community leaders are speaking out.
As a third generation UMass student, Talbert Swan, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, is familiar with campus culture and he shared his thoughts on how young people can help fight bigotry and hatred.
“Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same,” Swan explained.
Swan has seen anti-black hatred on the campus of UMass Amherst before. He told Western Mass News it’s discouraging that his son - a fourth year engineering major - is going through the same experiences as his father.
“…Dealing with the same kind of racism and anti-black bigotry that we were dealing with decades ago,” Swan added.
Just weeks after a racist email was sent to black students on-campus, UMass Amherst school officials confirm a whiteboard was defaced with racist graffiti targeting black students in a residence hall. The university’s Black Student Union released a statement on Instagram that read, in part:
“We are angry. We are hurt. We are tired and although we are disappointed, we are certainly not surprised…”
“To our dear fellow Black students and victims…we see you. We hear you. We love you and we got you.”
Western Mass News reached out to UMass Amherst and received this statement:
“The university rejects bigotry in any form and is committed to investigating hateful acts…UMPD was notified of the incident by the resident director for Crampton, who also relayed that the student who was the subject of the graffiti did not wish to speak to a UMPD officer.”
The statement goes on to say that anonymous incidents are difficult to solve when there are no witnesses, but Swan told Western Mass News incidents like this should not be swept under the rug.
“It can’t simply be because no one came forth, we’re not going to do anything about it,” Swan said.
We also asked Swan what is his message for young people in light of what has happened?
“Reject the type of hatred and bigotry you may see and your families and in their various social circles. That’s tough to do, but it’s the only way you really stop this from continuing from one generation to the next,” Swan noted.
We're told both incidents are under investigation both internally and by a third party, who declined our request for comment at this time.