UMASS-AMHERST AND NAZIS

Have you ever heard the name Eddia Papazoni?  I’m guessing the answer is no, so let me tell you something about him.

Mr. Papazoni is a Resident Director at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, who took exception to a sign that was put up in a dorm window.

Why would you care about this?  A little background information is in order.

Earlier this month, during the Jewish festival of Chanukah, a “Happy Hannukah (that’s the way some folks spell it these days) sign was put up on campus.

It was desecrated with swastikas…

…and the school administration, showing its level of concern over this disgusting, overtly anti-Semitic display, said and did nothing.

For that reason, a student, Nicole Parsons, put a sign up on her dorm window, saying (sorry for the language) l “FUCK NAZIS YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.”

Ah, now there was a reaction.

Ms. Parsons got an email from Mr. Papazoni, which said the following:

“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.

“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 part of an inclusive residential experience, as well as having a respectful environment to be a part of here on our campus.”

In other words, no problem about the use of a profanity.  No mention of the reason the sign was put up.  Just a request that the sign be taken down because it isn’t “inclusive” enough.

Evidently, Papazoni thought it was unfair if nazis were not included on campus.  I don’t know, maybe he figured the swastikas were just a nice way of helping out with Chanukah decorations.

But, in fairness, it should also be pointed out that Papazoni’s email did mobilize the school administration – the one that had nothing to say about the swastikas – into action.

It put up the following facebook statement:

EDITED FOR CLARIFICATION: A student placed a sign in their window that said, “F— 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.

UMass Amherst emphatically rejects Nazis, and any other hate group, a view expressed in the students’ sign. However, we are sensitive to the use of profanity, which some could find inappropriate. The university respects the students’ right to display the sign and it may remain up.

Oh, we see.  Now that the administration had to say something, it issued a belated, watered-down condemnation of naziism (that’s what I call a condemnation that does not stick to the specific event, but turns it into a general statement) and suggested that, yeah, ok, the sign is acceptable without the profanity.  Like, maybe “the heck with nazis” would be better.

If I were paying a student’s tuition there ($34,000 a year, before we get to room and board) that would trouble me.  A lot.

Obviously I would feel that way if I were Jewish (which, personally speaking, I am).  But even if I were not, it would cause me to wonder whether attacks on other specific groups would be given the same ho-hum treatment this one got.

Add in the fact that UMass – Amherst has a history of swastika defacements and anti-Israel sentiment, maybe my position would be that the student should not have been there in the first place.

1 Comment

  • I don’t see it mentioned but didn’t Mr. Papazoni have to go to some reeducation seminar? Has counseling been made available? Are they creating a new “safe” space?

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