Racial Epithet Discovered in Valentine Hall

On May 13, Dean of Students Liz Agosto sent an email announcing the discovery of the n-word scratched into a chalkboard in Valentine Hall. An individual found the racial epithet on the second floor near the balcony door and reported it to the Amherst College Police Department. The circumstances regarding its appearance are unknown at this time. 

In her message, Agosto asked students for assistance in gathering more information about the vandalism. She encouraged students to come forward with any information that they may hold. “If you are the individual or individuals responsible for this action, we urge you to come forward and take responsibility for it. If you were witness to or have any information about this incident, please share it,” she said.

Following her request for information, Agosto shared that students can file a report with or without their name attached to the Identity-Based Harm Review Team. Agosto also advised students to make use of campus resources including the Resource Centers Team, Case Management, the Counseling Center, Religious and Spiritual Life, your class dean or “other faculty and staff with whom you have developed a rapport.”

Agosto emphasized that derogatory, racist language results in “significant pain” to individuals and the community as a whole. Citing sections 1, 2 and 29 of the Student Code of Conduct, she stated that any form of discrimination, bias and biogtry violate the college’s community standards and Honor Code. 

Agosto closed her email by inviting students to email her with any ongoing concerns that they may have regarding the incident.

Maya Foster’ 23 was disheartened by the occurrence but was glad that the college responded quickly. “I’m hoping that incidents like these prove the usefulness of centers like the Center for Restorative Practices, which focus on healing the community in both preventive and reactionary ways,” Foster said.