Simmons University is in the middle of an investigation into 12 fliers with racist messages in the Palace Road building in December.
“We are universal in our rejection of hateful speech at Simmons, from the President to the police officers to all students and faculty and staff,” Associate VP for Communications and Public Affairs Jeremy Solomon told the Voice. “Someone who produces these messages on campus will always be rejected, and we don’t want whoever did this to feel like it has impacted how we treat one and other.”
Early in the morning on Dec. 14, a flier which “contained racist messages,” according to a Simmons-wide email on Feb. 25 from President Helen Drinan, was found in the Palace Road
Building on the academic campus. There were 12 fliers found in total on the second, third, and fourth floors of Palace Road. There were no other fliers found in any other building on academic or residence campus.
“I want to assure you that our Campus Police Officers were vigilant in their response to this incident and in the subsequent investigation,” Drinan said. “Matters like these are taken seriously, and it is beholden on all of us to create the kind of environment where everyone can live without fear and thrive.”
Campus IT confirmed that the fliers were not produced on a Simmons owned machine and Campus Police reviewed the key-swipe history into Palace Road from 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 to 7 a.m. on Dec. 14, which unfortunately did not yield anything suspicious.
Because there are only security cameras facing first floor entrance at Palace Road, security footage provided “no significant findings” according to Drinan’s email.
“With this type of crime, unless it’s on video, is difficult to catch unless the community comes forward,” Solomon said. “We drew on all resources inside and outside of the community.”
Despite the assurance of the thoroughness of the investigation and Drinan’s commitment to “create the most inclusive campus in New England,” Simmons students are still having trouble finding closure and healing after this event.
A poster titled “What Could Improve Anti-Racist Education at Simmons?” in the School of Social Work student lounge, located in Palace Road, had a note added to it cautioning students of color within the Social Work school.
“Be careful! This SSW [School of Social Work] is very racist. Don’t trust the professors + administration.”
Much of the criticism from students surrounding the investigation is the fact that many of the details of the incident are still unclear, including the contents of the fliers.
“What happened? Everything is so hush-hush,” said Alexis Agilga, a junior in the School of Social Work. “Am I safe? Am I not safe? Makes me wonder what they’re trying to cover up.”
“We’ve had no response in classes, no formal response from the [School of Social Work]” said Erin Curley, a junior in the School of Social Work. “Are people being held accountable? Okay, here’s what happened, but is something being done to prevent this happening in the future?”
Anyone with any information regarding the fliers is encouraged to contact Simmons University Public Safety by phone, 617-521-1112, or in person at their office in the Palace Road Building.