About 200 students and faculty at UMASS Amherst gathered in front of the student union Wednesday for a rally organized by the Committee for Justice for Jason Vassell. Vassell is charged with attempted murder after his alleged involvement in a fight on campus in February. Police reports say the fight began when two non-students allegedly yelled racial slurs at Vassell in his dormitory. Vassell is African-American. The non students are white. Justice for Jason is contesting the validity of the charges brought against Vassell. UMASS professor Zane Barlow Coleman , a member of the biology department says she came to the rally to speak up for her student.
Vassell withdrew from UMASS earlier this month. One of the men he allegedly attacked has been charged with civil rights violations. Vassell’s
pretrial is scheduled for Friday.