Amherst Life Blog

Welcome to the Amherst Life Blog! Here we will be posting information on activities, events, arts, community concerns, local business, and a variety of other topics related to life in Amherst, Massachusetts. If you are new to the area and looking for housing, please check out our other blog too ------------>> Amherst Housing Blog ::.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hate Crimes at UMass: What you can do

This was just posted on the website by a group of UMass students and professors. You can sign the petition by going to the site:

"On Sunday, February 3, 2008, Jason Vassell, a twenty-three year old African American student at the University of Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder and two counts of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. These charges stem from an altercation that Jason had with two white men, who were on campus for no legitimate purpose and provoked the confrontation by smashing Jason's window and repeatedly referring to him as a "nigger." Although Jason never left the dormitory, he was the only one charged at first. While one of the perpetrators, Jonathan Bowes, was recently charged with two hate crimes and disorderly conduct, the other white man, Jonathan Bosse, has not been charged as of yet.

Jason Vassell, who has no prior criminal record and is a widely respected member of the UMass community, is currently being charged with a felony, though he was attacked in his own home by outside intruders, who put Mr. Vassell and fellow UMass students at risk.

We call for the excessive charges against Mr. Vassell to be reconsidered."


  • At 2:49 AM , Anonymous O'Reilly said...

    The charge of ATTEMPTED MURDER against UMass Student Jason Vassell, 23, is unjustified based on facts found by the University of Massachusetts and published in a news release dated February 8, 2008:

    "[John] Bowes, [20] who is not a UMass Amherst student, is believed to have INSTIGATED a verbal confrontation with student Jason Vassell, 23, which resulted in Bowes being stabbed multiple times. Police say that BOWES YELLED RACIAL SLURS PRIOR TO THE STABBING and was involved in the altercation, which resulted in Vassell suffering a broken nose."

    If it is also true that John Bowes, 20, and Jonathan Bosse "provoked the confrontation by smashing Jason's window" then Jason would be justified arming himself against two men breaking and entering at 5 A.M. and verbal assaulting him with racial epithets, especially if the "racial slurs" were reasonably interpreted as threats of bodily harm.

  • At 11:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The hate crimes committed against Jason Vassell were unjustified and I am deeply sorry for him and his two guests. Does that justify him to arm himself with a knife and stab others multiple times? Did he have an intent to murder the two perpetrators of the hate crimes? I don't know, but from the facts that UMass has published I don't see how others can judge so fast and petition. Maybe they have inside information. Maybe not. Yelling racial slurs is, at any rate, no reason to stab others with a knife. Pushing in a window might be... but that was not the moment when the stabbing took place. So I'm not saying Jason Vassell has done anything wrong, but neither can I see excessive charges from the information that's known.

  • At 8:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    good comments. "anonymous" has a point: yelling racial slurs is not a reason to stab someone (aktough, I'd do it!) and I don;t think the legal system could help Jaspon if we were only dealing with an act of VERBAL racial hatred (though, I also think they should). I think it is important to remember, according to the police log, that the 2 white guys were physically attacking Jason. They called him "nigger" (that has been documented), they must have said other things, they kicked in his window, and started attacking him. 2 vs 1. Now, for some reason, they are making it 1 racist attacker vs 1 umass student -- why? It makes it harder to prove self defence, for one.

  • At 9:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    There will be a vigil for Jason on Wed. Feb 27th at the Malcom X Cultural center. ALTHOUGH HE STABBED THOSE WHITE BOYS HE WAS PROVOKED!

  • At 9:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ALTHOUGH HE STABBED THOSE WHITE BOYS HE WAS PROVOKED! that not racist...look at the people who are backing this kid up...stabbing someone to the point of death cannot justify andthing and he will learn that the hard way

  • At 10:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is just a bunch of bullshit. Jason Vassell should serve the time if he did the crime. These professors and the other people sticking for him and doing this cornball petition have thier heads up their asses. Nothing good ever comes out of that school.

  • At 2:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    it doesnt matter what any of us say...the only people who actually know what went down should be able to talk...the courts will figure this out the right way and as of now all civil rights related charges have been dropped the only person still awaiting a verdict is vassel and i am confindent that he will get his time...maybe the courts do work right hah who would have thought of 150 years of court system would actually all of u tryin to back up vassel ur probly better off goin to sharpen pencils for your math teacher and stopped getting involved in shit that has nothing to do with yoou

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    Наблюдаю следующую ситуацию.

    Они вместе уже несколько лет. Девушка самозабвенно любит парня. Он ее - по его словам - тоже. Они собираются пожениться. Он делает предложение. Через 1.5 месяца берет свое слово назад - мол, настроение не то. Проходит еще несколько месяцев, их отношения разлаживаются все больше и больше. Она утомлена неопределенностью своего положения. Парень ей говорит, что ничего кроме неопределенности ей дать не может, что его все устраивает и так - нечастые свидания с зантиями любовью, что он не хочет никаких напрягов.

    Она спрашивает меня - что ей делать, как себя вести?

    А я боюсь что-либо ей советовать - слишком она мне близкий человек.

    "Брось его немедленно" - это самое банальное, что приходит в голову. Но она его действительно любит, она уже переживала влюбленности и разочарования и уверена, что только с ним она сможет быть счастливой.

    Ваши "советы" несчастной влюбленной?


    Это цитата из "живого журнала", я дам девушке ссылку на этот форум, конечно, но она бы очень была признательна, если ваши советы появлялись бы сразу и тут и там:

    потому что она предполагает, что молодой человек тоже читает ЖЖ и возможно что-то мудрое из ваших советов поможет и ему что-то в себе осознать.

    Да, все еще усугубляется тем, что девушка старше этого молодого человека и у нее есть ребенок от предыдущего брака. Молодой человек настроен так: "чужой ребенок - это чужой ребенок, я не смогу его любить".

    Что бы вы делали не ее месте?
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