As you know, we have recently had two incidents of bias reported on the Medford/Somerville campus. We are very disheartened to share today that a third incident has now been discovered. Last Saturday, an undergraduate student reported the defacement of a sign in an exhibit on the African American Trail Project in the Aidekman Arts Center. This act of vandalism is a shameful affront to the African American community, and it shows a crude and insulting disregard for the long history of oppression, racism, and injustice endured by all people of color in the United States and around the world. We cannot condemn it in strong-enough terms, and we are truly disappointed to see such ignorance and intolerance on one of our campuses. The Tufts University Police Department and the Office of Equal Opportunity are both currently investigating, and any member of our community found responsible for violating our policies will face appropriate sanctions. The Africana Center and Dean of Student Affairs Office are available to all students, as well as faculty and staff, who would like to reflect and find support in light of this incident. We also encourage students to take advantage of all other resources at the University, including those outlined in previous messages to the AS&E student community.
This most recent act of bias was reported as members of University leadership were discussing the creation of two Bias Response Teams (BRTs) at Tufts, one for the Medford and SMFA campuses and one for our Boston and Grafton health sciences campuses. Composed of students, faculty, and staff from across the University and chaired by the Associate Provosts/Chief Diversity Officers for their respective campuses, Rob Mack and Joyce Sackey, the BRTs will address incidents of bias, discrimination, and/or hatred at Tufts. They will help ensure that we remain transparent about incidents that occur on our campuses and that we respond appropriately to incidents of bias and discrimination at both the local level and across the Tufts community. Their work will be distinct from our processes for reporting, investigating, and adjudicating incidents of bias and discrimination at Tufts, supplementing those existing University processes with a focus on community understanding, support, and engagement. We will share more information about the BRTs in the coming weeks as we finalize their charge and membership.
As we prepare to launch the BRTs and other efforts around diversty and inclusion, we want to make unmistakably clear that we do not resort to graffiti or slurs at Tufts, or to any other acts that undermine discourse and the free exchange of ideas — especially when done in favor of ignorance, discrimination, and discord. Instead, we choose to meet and converse with one another in a spirit of respect and openness. We are grateful to the many members of the Tufts community whose ongoing commitment to these core values is conspicuous in the numerous acts of inclusion, openness, and kindness that occur across our campuses every day. We ask that each of you re-engage with our community values as we initiate new efforts to strengthen meaningful inclusion and dialogue at the University.