Police Called on Black UMass Employee Walking to Work

A longtime employee of the University of Massachusetts Amherst says plainclothes officers came to his office to question him after someone called police to report an "agitated black male" on campus.

Reginald Andrade tells The Daily Hampshire Gazette he was following his normal daily routine Friday, walking from his morning workout to his job in the disability office in the main administration building.

He says officers questioned him without telling him why. The building was locked down for about 30 minutes.

Andrade says it was a clear case of racial profiling. He says the caller knew what buzzwords to use to "push the buttons of law enforcement."


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Andrade says this is not the first time he has been racially profiled on campus. One summer, he was sitting in an empty classroom listening to an audio book when someone called the police on him. Then when he became an employee at the school, someone called the police on him after he finished working at a new student orientation, The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

"Each time it gets deeper and deeper and more intense. And psychologically, emotionally and physically, it's just draining," he said.

In an email to the campus community, university chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said he hopes the anonymous call was well-motivated to protect public safety. He also said he knows that racial profiling-- intentional or not-- corrodes efforts to make the university welcoming to all.

"For our community, this is a difficult matter," Subbaswamy wrote. "We are living at the intersection of two very trying issues. We must all do our part to respond quickly to perceived threats of potential violence on campus, and we must build an inclusive community that respects everyone and rejects profiling."

Campus Police Chief Tyrone Parham told The Massachusetts Daily Collegian student newspaper, which first reported the incident, officers "tried to be as professional" as possible.

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