We have watched with great sadness as incidents of hate and division have taken place across our nation in recent months—most recently in Pittsburgh, where Jewish worshipers were killed by an anti-Semitic gunman. These incidents remind us of the need for continued vigilance against hatred and those who espouse it.
This morning, we were dismayed to learn that vandals using slogans associated with white nationalism defaced signs encouraging the Tufts community to vote. The signs had been placed on the Academic Quad on the Medford/Somerville campus by Jumbo Vote, a non-partisan, student-led initiative. The vandals also put fliers on the windshields of some cars. I appreciate the quick action of the student who reported this incident to Tufts police and their prompt response. The Tufts University Police Department is investigating, and it appears that similar activities have occurred at other U.S. colleges and universities. It is unknown at this time whether the events on our campus were perpetrated by someone in the Tufts community.
I want to assure our community that we do not tolerate hatred and bigotry. We are committed to ensuring that everyone here – students, faculty, and staff — can learn, teach, and work in safety, free from threats and harassment. We will not allow those intent on division to demean and diminish any member of our community. We certainly will not be deterred from encouraging voting and electoral participation. We respect and encourage political discourse and civic engagement at Tufts, but today’s action clearly had a different purpose – to foster discord and fear during a major national election.
I am confident that our community will continue to serve as a model of how to improve understanding and engagement across divergent perspectives, support civic engagement and bind our society together at a time when others might try to drive us apart. Let us never forget that, as a community, we stand for values that foster respect and understanding across all cultural, political and religious differences.