Reflections on the Past Week

April 20, 2013

Dear Members of the Tufts Community,

The last week has been difficult for all of us at Tufts, as it has been for the entire Boston area. The nation has followed the unfolding events, from the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon on Monday to last night’s capture of the second suspect in this terrible crime. Along the way we have seen and heard of countless acts of individual heroism and bravery in counterpart to acts of terror and violence. In challenging circumstances, Tufts has pulled together, grieving for those dead and injured from the Marathon blasts and supporting each other and the larger community in countless ways.

We are profoundly grateful to public safety officers at Tufts, the Boston region, and beyond who have worked to keep our university safe while responding to violence and the challenges of a complex investigation. Our hearts go out to all those families who lost loved ones and especially to the family of slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, whose home in Somerville was on the edge of our campus. We wish a full and speedy recovery for officer Richard Donohue, Jr., of the MBTA.

I admire and am thankful for the extraordinary work of so many Tufts staff who have gone to great lengths in the last few days to support the work of the university and in particular to ensure the safety and comfort of our students. TUPD has played a unique role, but the contributions of staff in Dining, Facilities, and other operational areas have also been indispensable. Our chaplains, counselors, and Residential Life staff have provided support and helped us to address troubling events, while many people have worked to keep the community informed. The students in TEMS have played a special role and are models for us all.

The unprecedented events off campus affected a host of activities on campus. I know that it has been disappointing for students, faculty and staff to experience the disruption or cancellation of important events, many designed to mark the end of a successful academic year and some of them the culmination of—literally—years of preparation or effort. Thank you all for your understanding. The Admissions Office showed its professionalism and dedication in its handling of the truncated Jumbo Days program and in helping our admitted students and their families return home. I cannot imagine a better way to show those visitors the caring spirit that defines this university.

This has been an anxious week for all of us. We will review our emergency policies, procedures and communications in order to understand any lessons to be learned and improvements that can be made. We appreciate the thoughtful suggestions already made by members of the Tufts community and welcome your further comments, which can be directed to me or to Kevin Maguire in Public and Environmental Safety. We seek always to do the best job we can when it comes to the safety of our community.

It is important that we all continue to reach out and support each other in the days ahead. The Chaplaincy invites all members of the community to a special gathering this coming Monday, April 22, from 12:15 to 1:00 pm in Goddard Chapel. This nondenominational event will offer a chance to reflect on the events of the past few days while thinking about how their lessons may positively inform our lives and actions going forward.

The success of the Tufts Marathon Team has always depended on its powerful combination of individual endurance and generous teamwork. At noon tomorrow, we will hold a special medal ceremony on the President’s Lawn on the Medford/Somerville campus for those runners on the 2013 Tufts Marathon Team who were not allowed to complete their Boston Marathon. I hope many of you will join us there. I cannot imagine a more fitting way to affirm our shared values as a university community.

Best wishes,

Tony Monaco