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Curry College goes virtual following threats targeting Black community

Milton protesters marched during a Juneteenth and antiracism education rally in 2020 as pictured here. Curry College students demonstrated similar advocacy last week after experiencing racist threats that have since sent classes remote.Blake Nissen For The Boston Globe

Curry College is temporarily moving classes online in response to the latest in a string of hate incidents on its campus, including a specific threat against the Black community.

In an e-mail sent to students and parents on Tuesday, Curry President Kenneth K. Quigley, Jr. described two hate incidents discovered Monday and Tuesday in a restroom and a laundry room in North Campus Residence Hall.

One included “threatening language targeting the Black community” and mentioned a date of February 22, the e-mail said. The second incident included “racist hate language and a drawn swastika.”

In response to the threats, students were given the option to take classes virtually beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 16. All classes will be held online on Feb. 22, according to the e-mail. The school plans to return fully on campus on Feb. 23. Campus offices and dormitories will remain open throughout the virtual period.


“We take this step out of an abundance of caution and as a commitment to our students, staff and faculty. The college wants everyone to feel safe and to have choices,” Quigley wrote.

The move online follows the discovery of two other incidents of antisemitic graffiti and racial threats at Curry, which is located in Milton. Officials have offered a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest of the person or people responsible, according to a college spokeswoman.

Over the past month, other racist and antisemitic graffiti has been found inside men’s restrooms in the athletic field house and a dormitory.

The graffiti, which has included drawings of swastikas, has roiled the private college since they were first reported last month. In 2017, the school also investigated several incidents of alleged bias, WHDH reported at the time, including slurs about sexual orientation written several places in a dorm and a racist note left on a student’s car.


In 2010, swastikas were found scrawled in Curry College dormitories on two occasions over a span of three months, the Patriot Ledger reported at the time. A flyer with the word Nazi was also found, as well as a racially offensive word scratched into a door.

The campus remains in “restricted status,” Quigley’s e-mail said, and is only open to faculty, staff, and students with a Curry ID. The college is also installing additional cameras around campus, the e-mail said, and has hired a security consultant to assess the school’s security protocols.

“We will get through this. We will not bend to those who threaten or, by their actions, cause fear in our community,” Quigley wrote.

In addition to addressing the immediate safety concerns, he wrote, “we also look ahead to the work that needs to be done as a community to make sure Curry is an inclusive, welcoming, and safe place of learning for all.” An all-campus virtual forum is planned for Friday, Feb. 25, he wrote.

Milton Police Deputy Chief James O’Neil said Thursday that his department has been working with the Curry College police and they have “dramatically increased” marked cruiser patrols on campus, including last Saturday, when violence had also been threatened.

“We had the threat, we took it serious, we prepared for anything that might have happened,” he said.

But O’Neil said police recognize that measure alone is likely not to prevent hateful vandalism inside student buildings.


Earlier this month O’Neil told the Globe the department was probing five separate incidents of vandalism at Curry. Another was reported a week later, on Feb. 8, in which a specific date of Feb. 12 was mentioned in a threat against the school’s Black community.

Similar incidents have been reported at colleges across the state lately. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst last year, numerous Black student groups received a racist and threatening e-mail, part of an increase in anti-Black incidents on that campus.

Curry students held demonstrations rallying against the incidents of hate on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, according to a statement from the school.

“We continue to be proud of our students and community members who are coming together to stand up against racism and antisemitism,” said the statement, issued by spokeswoman Liz Matson.

The statement described the decision to offer a monetary reward for information leading to an arrest as a “hard choice under difficult circumstances,” with officials writing that they have “limited options until the perpetrator is caught.”

“It is both enormously disheartening and disturbing that our school community continues to be violated by hateful symbols and threats. We cannot say enough: hate has no home here and we will take every step possible to identify the perpetrator(s) and maintain the safety of our community,” the statement said.

Charlie McKenna can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.