Castleton University addresses racist emails

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:27 PM EDT
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CASTLETON, Vt. (WCAX) - A ceremony at Castleton University was held on Sunday to raise the Black Lives Matter flag.

“There were so many people there with signs and just being there in support,” says Patrick Lucey, Castleton University’s Student Government Association President.

Lucey attended the event. He wasn’t expecting a big turnout, but to his surprise, there were about eighty people in person and more attended through zoom.

“It brought a lot of unity in the community,” says Lucey.

But not everyone loved the idea. An invitation to the school community announcing the socially distanced ceremony was answered with some racist emails.

One says, “This is a university built on the backs of men and women who fought for this country and Black Lives Matter is destroying it. Maybe it would’ve been better if we picked her own cotton. Then we wouldn’t have stupid (expletive) like you.”

Because of student privacy laws, the school cannot comment on disciplinary actions, or if the sender of the email is still on campus.

“This sort of message just isn’t going to be tolerated here. I think we have been very clear that that has no place here,” says James Lambert the Associate Dean of Advancement at Castleton University.

“We’re trying to gain as much knowledge while talking through logistics of current events,” says Maya Kraus.

Kraus is Castleton’s Student of Color Advocate, a new position created about a month ago. She’s trying to start a dialogue to ensure everyone on campus has a safe place to discuss ideas.

“The educator’s position is not technically to have an opinion but to offer as many perspectives as possible to see where the students themselves land and to try to offer as much truth and facts as well so that parties are coming into this on equal knowledge, on an equal footing,” says Kraus.

Lucey says more educational opportunities on today’s divisive issues are needed on campus.

“We don’t want any intolerance here and we live in an educated community, so it is important to educate people and it’s super important to be together,” says Lucey.

Lucey tells WCAX, plans are to fly a Pride flag next to the Black Lives Matter flag, but that ceremony will not happen until next semester. The interim president says he doesn’t want to take away from the Black Lives Matter flag.

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