Wednesday, February, 17th, 2021 Speeches and Messages
February 17, 2021
Dear members of the Tufts University community,
Last July, following our community’s Juneteenth celebration, I announced a university-wide initiative to make Tufts an Anti-Racist Institution. Today, I write to share with you the progress of, and recommendations from, that important initiative.
More than 100 students, faculty, and staff worked tirelessly for seven months across five separate workstreams–Institutional Audit and Targeted Action, Campus Safety and Policing, Public Art, Compositional Diversity, and Equity and Inclusion–to audit the status quo, identify possible solutions, and make recommendations. Countless other community members participated through feedback sessions, focus groups, and small discussions. I am truly grateful for the hard work, dedication, and commitment that all of our colleagues brought to this crucial initiative. I am especially thankful to the many Black and Brown students and colleagues, underrepresented minority members of our community, and all people of color at Tufts who contributed so much to these recommendations. Institutional racism is not your problem to solve, but your unique perspectives and valuable thoughts have been instrumental in this effort.
Over 180 recommendations, across the five workstreams, were submitted to the senior leadership team for consideration. As we evaluate those recommendations, I encourage the community to read a brief executive summary of the effort, and each of the five final reports from each of the workstreams:
At this time, the senior leadership team and the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (DILC) are evaluating the recommendations to develop detailed implementation plans and timelines, refining cost estimates, and identifying the resources needed. We are also exploring ownership groups for each of the recommendations, designating a governance structure for accountability, and investigating options for the ideal working groups at different schools and units to help in the implementation of these steps.
I am pleased to announce that Tufts is committing at least $25 million of university resources, over five years, to support these efforts and execute as many of these recommendations as possible. We will develop transparent accountability and reporting measures to periodically inform the community of how funds have been allocated and progress has been made in the implementation process.
Our recommendations, while thorough and well-intentioned, are not fully comprehensive or complete, and no implementation process is perfect. Some community members may be dissatisfied by these reports viewing them as falling short, and others may disagree on the best way to achieve our stated purpose. We should not shy away from these tensions. Respectful discourse and debate are the hallmarks of a thriving academic community. Tufts should be at the forefront of dialogue on such a vital and imperative initiative.
However, I feel confident that this effort bears the promise of a different future at Tufts. I pledge that we will remain engaged with our faculty, student, staff, and alumni community in the coming months, as we have throughout this process. Together, we will work to build a better Tufts where we will collaborate to advance equity, inclusion, healing, and justice for our own community, and, through our alumni and scholarly work, for the wider world.