A statement from Amherst College says the unidentified student allegedly broke into the Keefe Health Center early Sunday, took computers and other equipment, and spray painted two swastikas on the wall.
The student faces numerous possible charges, including including breaking and entering, larceny, and damaging and defacing property. The dean of students at UMass Amherst has been notified of the situation. Amherst College officials were told that disciplinary action has been initiated.
Dear Members of the Amherst College Community,
We would like to provide more context for the incident that occurred early Sunday when the Amherst College Police Department, responding to an intrusion alarm, arrested an individual who had broken into the Keefe Health Center.
While in the health center, the individual took computers and other equipment, vandalized the space with spray paint, and painted two swastikas. The subject who was taken into custody, a student from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, faces numerous possible charges, including breaking and entering, larceny, and damaging and defacing property. The dean of students at his institution has been notified and we have been told that disciplinary action has been initiated.
We want to commend the Amherst College Police Department for its prompt and successful action in response to this incident, as well as the Facilities staff for their cleanup and painting efforts, which allowed the health center to be open to serve students as scheduled on Monday morning.
We are disturbed that anyone would paint swastikas in one of our buildings, or in any building at all. Although the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office has determined there is insufficient evidence to support a charge of violation of the Massachusetts Hate Crime Statute, the fact remains that the swastika is a symbol of anti-Semitism and hatred, and has no place on our campus or anywhere else.
Respect for the rights, dignity, and integrity of others is essential for the well-being of our community. Actions by anyone that do not reflect such respect for others are damaging to each member of the community and hence damaging to Amherst College. Each member of the community should be free from interference, discrimination, intimidation, sexual harassment or disparagement in the classroom, the social, recreational and residential environment, or the workplace.
The disturbing effect of such an act leads us to remind you that there are many on-campus resources available to you, as you react to the implications of the incident. The Counseling Center (413-542-2354), Health Services (413-542-2266), Religious Life (413-542-2277), Health Education (413-542-2760), the Dean of Students' Office (413-542-2337), the Multicultural Resource Center (413-542-2289), and Dean on Duty (413-542-2291), are all available to members of the community who may feel they would benefit from some support. Additionally, anyone wishing to meet with the Counseling Center after hours should call the Campus Police (412-532-2291), and any student concerned about his or her physical safety should also contact Campus Police.
Best wishes for a successful semester,
Biddy Martin, President
Charri Boykin-East, Dean of Students
Rabbi Bruce Bromberg Seltzer, Jewish religious advisor
John Carter, Chief of Amherst College Police