When UMass Vice Chancellor Jean Kim addressed the new Student Government Association this year, she echoed a concern about using terms like “Zoomass” and “Slamherst” to describe UMass, saying it was the SGA’s responsibility to “safeguard the reputation of UMass Amherst.”
Earlier this month, Chancellor Hollub, addressing the SGA, said the term was “an unfortunate label from the past, and I think it should be banned on the campus”
But not all students agree that these terms are inappropriate, or even derogatory in the first place.
“Look at how big this place is,” said Ethan Ashman, a junior at UMass. He said he thought the term could be seen more as a description of the sheer amount of students from different backgrounds that live in this confined space, which often is like it’s own bubble.
“It’s definitely not going to help the image, just by changing the terms,” Ethan added.
Another student described the focus on the terms to be misdirected energy, when administrators should look at the root of the culture they see as problematic.
“The problems are around sexual violence and people being taken advantage of,” said Cole Lanier, a sophomore at Umass. “Maybe we should instead think about how drinking a ton of alcohol is the default culture, and look at the connection between alcohol and sex on campus.”
UMass gained attention after the Princeton Review rated it the #7 party school in the country in 2006. However, it has not been featured on the list since.
Most students did not seem too concerned, or to take the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors attempts very seriously.
“I guess we’ll just have to spray paint Zoomass on every surface,” said one senior after learning of the Chancellor and Vice chancellors statement. The student proffered not to be named.
“Does this mean the Zoomass calendars will be banned as well?” he asked, referencing a popular calendar produced by Popular Campus Entertainment.
Senior Sam Johnson commented on the campus vocabulary, saying: “Sure it fits, there is a very diverse group of people.”
“And slamherst is appropriate, because it’s in a valley, and things slam down on it, y’know, the physical and geological processes…”
When asked if the terms should be banned he responded sarcastically, “Yes. Along with every curse word, and the titles of every major religion.”