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Racist Message Written On Dorm Room Door At Westfield State

Westfield State University, in Westfield, Mass.
File photo
The Republican / masslive.com/photos
Westfield State University, in Westfield, Mass.

Westfield State University is investigating a racist message left on a dorm room door.

University president Ramon Torrecilha said he learned about this Tuesday evening after a student posted a photo on Twitter. It showed a name tag on a door with a handwritten message: a racial epithet for black people, then "live here."

Torrecilha quickly put a statement, and at 6:30 Wednesday morning, he said, "we knocked at student's doors and asked them to come downstairs."

At the dorm-wide meeting, Torrecilha said he talked about the severity of the incident "and the fact that Westfield State -- and myself -- we take this very seriously."

As for whether this points to broader issues at the school, he said Westfield State is not immune from recent events, including but not limited to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

"In this, there is an impact nationally, and there's an impact on the institution," he said. "I don't think Westfield State is unique in that sense."

Torrecilha, who began at Westfield State in January 2016, said the university encountered a similar incident last year, when posters were defaced with homophobic remarks. But he said this latest incident stands out because of how personal the message was -- right on the dorm room door.

This comes a few weeks after a noose was found on the football field at Amherst College. The school said police identified two juveniles -- not students at the college -- who were responsible for that.

Sam has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He oversees a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
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