Not ‘inclusive’ enough? US student told to remove ‘F*** Nazis’ sign as it provokes ‘mixed feelings’
Junior student, Nicole Parsons, placed a sign reading “F*** Nazis. You are not welcome here” in her dorm window earlier in December.
A week later, she received a somewhat clumsy letter from one of the college residence life directors, Eddie Papazoni, telling her that the sign provoked “mixed feelings” and allegedly interfered with some people’s “ability to be active members of the community” and raised “issues of inclusion.”
“It appears… that the sign in mention can be paraphrased as: ‘Nazis are not welcome here’,” the letter said. It asked Parsons to take down her sign “so that all students can be a part of an inclusive residential experience, as well as having a respectful environment to be part of.”
The message came as an “absolute shock” to Parsons, she told BuzzFeed. “This email tells me the university cares more about the feelings of Nazis than the safety of their students.”Also on rt.com School says Nazi-saluting students protected by First Amendment, sparking outrage
She then explained that she decided to put up the sign after a swastika was drawn over a “Happy Hanukkah” sign on the campus. The student said she also wanted to show those who drew the swastika that “someone [condemns] their actions, even if the administration does not do it.”
The issue quickly gained traction on social media as people said that the administration should focus its attention on the alleged Nazi sympathizers rather than on the sign maker.
Others were more concerned about the fact that the administration seemingly cared about “Nazis” feeling “welcome” on campus. Some people also called for the staff member, who wrote the letter to be fired.
The public outcry prompted the administration to issue a clarification. “UMass Amherst emphatically rejects Nazis, and any other hate group,” the university said in a Tweet, adding that the whole issue was allegedly about “the use of profanity, which some may find inappropriate.”
It also called the email “a poorly worded” one and said it “does not reflect the values of the campus.” Still, its attempt to calm things down apparently did not work well.
Social media continued to criticise the administration over its supposed inaction in the face of hate crimes while saying that the clarification was an attempt to avoid a scandal.
Parsons, meanwhile, removed the sign from her window as her roommate was allegedly worried that it attracted too much attention. The student said she decided to move off campus even before the controversy, adding that she intended to keep the sign “forever.” She also seemed to be quite pleased with the effect her action had.
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