After a night that can only be described as a horrific emotional roller coaster, Wellesley College students awoke to the first day of Trump. At approximately 1pm a large truck drove slowly through campus with a Trump flag flying off its back, harassing students. The two men in the truck went to the house for students of African descent, rode around campus yelling at students, and spit towards a student when asked to leave. The two men turned out to be Edward Tomasso and Parker Rander-Riccardi, students at Babson College, a neighboring college.
These men have been called out on social media, in a post by a Wellesley student that has gone viral. How were we able to identify them? Well, that’s the golden question and the key to surviving in Trump’s America. Wellesley students, current and former, mobilized around the country. Students looked up their license plate and found one identity, which led to finding the other.
These men came to our campus. They sought us out. They came to our space in a purposeful effort to make us feel unsafe. But we found them.
We found their gloating snapchat.
We found them and made it public. Made them public. We called their employers, the national board of their frat, their class dean. We made it clear that this is unacceptable behavior. Their college, their peers made it clear that they do not stand for racism.
We’ve seen stories from around the country of women being beaten and their hijabs being torn off, of students yelling racial slurs at each other across the nation, and people literally heiling Hitler. But here’s what’s important to remember – this is not Trump’s America, this is our America. The majority of our country did not vote for Trump. The majority of our country is not white supremacist (but far too many are).
Updated poll numbers
231,556,622 eligible voters
46.9% didn't vote
25.6% voted for Clinton
25.5% voted for Trump
1.7% voted for Johnson
— Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) November 9, 2016
When someone attacks you or your friend, when you see someone being attacked, when you hear people screaming racial slurs – record it, take pictures of their faces and license plates. Expose them. Our President-Elect is a racist, but we can stand up for each other.
When something happens, we will look up license plates, share photos, and contact employers. We will have your back. And I hope you’ve got ours – because without your support, nothing will change.
UPDATE 11/14: Many of you have reached out for updates, as well as sending me information on the two students. Here’s what we know so far:
Babson has yet to release information about Edward Tomasso and Parker Rander-Riccardi’s formal punishment, and it’s possible that due to confidentiality rules around student punishment, Babson might not ever publicly release their decision. Currently the two are on temporary leave, and are reportedly living at Tommaso’s house in Vermont.
Edward Tomasso is the son of a powerful Babson Alum, and comes from a long line of Babson men with a complicated family history. The main building at Babson College is called Tomasso Hall. He released this apology on Facebook:
The Wellesley College Campus Police have thus far refused to describe this incident as racially motivated.
This screenshot of one of Tomasso’s previously public playlists was commented on his above apology.
Babson students, faculty, and staff have been very vocal about their abhorrence and anger about Edward Tomasso and Parker Rander-Riccardi and their actions. They are all fighting to make it clear that Edward and Parker’s actions are not reflective of the entire school.
One punishment Edward and Parker have received is being kicked out of their fraternity Sigma Epsilon. Students have reported that the Babson chapter of Sigma Epsilon currently has no non-white members. We know that these men not only felt the need to come into our community and harass students, but then they also filmed themselves gloating about it, which Edward posted on his snap story. This level of boldness seems to be indicative of some sort of community that consciously or unconsciously perpetuates racism and white supremacy.
Finally, the identification of these men brings up an important and all too relevant question – once we find these people, what do we do with them? First, I want to echo what Edward said in his post, he should not be getting death threats. Edward and Parker can be expelled from Babson but they cannot be expelled from society, especially when there are so many like them across our country. Can we have them take bias training, learn about structural oppression, donate to ACLU, or volunteer with an immigrant rights organization?
These are the conversations we need to be having right away. This is how we prepare for the days and years to come.