SUBSCRIBE

Babson apologizes to Wellesley College over offensive Trump backers

William B. Plowman/AP

Babson College president Kerry Healey.

By Dylan McGuinness and Olivia Quintana Globe Correspondents 

WELLESLEY — The president of Babson College apologized to the Wellesley College community Friday after two Babson students drove through Wellesley’s campus in a pickup truck Wednesday, waving a Donald Trump flag and allegedly yelling insults and racial profanities at students.

“We, the Babson community, were extremely upset to learn that two of our students engaged in behavior that was, at a minimum, insensitive, unacceptable, and contrary to our core values,” President Kerry Healey wrote in a letter posted on the college’s website.

Advertisement

“Please accept our most sincere apology and know that the actions of those individuals do not in any way reflect the values of Babson College,” Healey said.

Babson administrators are investigating the incident. Federal law prohibits the college from “discussing specific disciplinary actions or outcomes,” Healey said.

On Thursday, Lawrence P. Ward, vice president of student affairs at Babson, said in a letter to students that the two men drove by Harambee House, Wellesley’s center for African-American students.

“It is important to understand that our students’ behavior was experienced by many students of color and perceived by many others . . . as racially offensive and gender demeaning,’’ Ward wrote.

On Wellesley’s campus Friday, classes were canceled so that students and faculty could participate in a peace walk.

Advertisement

“I think we all felt that we lost so much losing the election,” said Charlotte Weiss, a fifth-year teaching student. “To have that loss and then feel like the space on our campus had been invalidated by the Babson students, made us want to come together as a community to show that we are fighting for justice.”

First-year student Maya Webber, who said she saw the Babson students driving on campus, said an apology is insufficient.

“Acts like that are not acceptable at all,” she said. “I never thought I would feel that uncertainty that I felt in that moment.”

Amber Walker, a Wellesley senior, said she was standing in front of Harambee House when the Babson students drove by. She told a crowd of fellow students she never could have imagined such offensive behavior taking place on campus.

“This morning when I woke up, I felt hope for the first time because this isn’t the ’60s, this isn’t the ’70s,” Walker said. “I look around and I have you guys here so I don’t have to go through this alone.”

Amina Ziad, a senior, implored students to stand up for each other.

“Protect your siblings of color, protect your Muslim siblings, protect all of the minorities on this campus and off this campus,” she said. “If you see something, say something.”

The march ended with students singing “We Shall Overcome.”

“I think you’ve heard it all, and it gives us the inspiration to move forward, onward,” Wellesley College president Paula Johnsontold the crowd.

Wellesley students on the Honor Code Council are calling on Babson administrators to expel the two students, alleging that they shouted profanities at students and spit on a student who told them to leave.

“We believe the actions of [the two men] on Wellesley’s campus on Nov. 9 clearly constitute bullying, endangering behavior, and harassment of the Wellesley College community and the Babson College community,” they wrote. “We advocate immediate and permanent removal of these individuals from the Babson College community.”

On Thursday, the national leadership of Sigma Phi Epsilon, the fraternity the Babson students belonged to, said both students had been ejected from the group. Fraternity officials described their actions as “abhorrent to our members, alumni, and staff, and in no way represent Sig Ep’s values and aspirations for diversity and inclusion.’’

The Globe is not naming the two students because they have not been punished by Babson administrators or criminally charged. One of the students declined to comment Thursday; the other student could not be reached.

A videopostedonline purportedly showed the two men laughing about theincident. “We are officially banned from Wellesley College,” one of the men said in the brief clip. “If we’re caught there, we’ll get arrested and subject to trespassing. Make America great again!”

Hillary Clinton is a Wellesley College graduate.

In her letter, Healey wrote that she deeply regrets the incident.

“Students should never be made to feel fearful or unsafe on their own campus,” she wrote. “We wholeheartedly regret that members of our community impacted the Wellesley College community in such a profoundly negative way.”


Dylan McGuinness can be reached at dylan.mcguinness@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter at @DylMcGuinness.