Nicole Parsons, a junior at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, was shocked when she received an email from her residence director asking her to take down a sign that read “f**k Nazis, you are not welcome here.”
As reported by Times of Israel, Parsons had posted the sign in her room’s window after she had become tired of the hate crimes happening on the university’s campus. The final trigger for her had been when someone had decided to paint a swastika over a “Happy Hanukkah” sign on the campus.
“I thought maybe if I hang the sign up, maybe the person who drew the swastika will see it and see someone condemning their actions, even if the administration doesn’t do it,” Parsons explained.
But just a short while later, she got the email that explained that while the sign would be permitted under Freedom of Speech, he would “also like to discuss the impact on the community that this sign has had.”
“There are some in the community who have expressed that the sign should be taken down as it has created mixed emotions in the community on how to proceed, issues of inclusion, and the ability to be active members of their community,” the RA, Eddie Papazoni, wrote.
He continued by saying that he would not be able to force her or her roommate to take the sign down, only requesting that it be removed 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.”
Parsons, who was already fed up with the university’s complete lack of condemnation of the hate crimes that had been happening on the campus before the sign was put up, was horrified by the email, as to her it meant “the university cares more about the feelings of Nazis than the safety of their students.”
The university quickly backtracked on the request, making a statement on their Facebook page about the incident.
“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 continued, saying that the university “emphatically rejects Nazis, and any other hate group,” but added that the university is “sensitive to the use of profanity.” They concluded by condoning Parsons’ sign, saying that she has a right to display the message and that it may remain up.