Friday, May 1, 2009

Tufts' Official Statement

Another follow up on the Tufts Bias Incident. 
This email was just sent to Tufts students...


Dear Members of the University Community:

The racial incident that took place on the morning of April 9 in Lewis Hall on the Medford/Somerville campus has caused enormous pain and anguish.  Members of the Tufts community were justifiably hurt and angry at the aggressive expression of such prejudices on our campus.  As the historian Ronald Takaki and many others have shown, "stereotypes and myths of Asians as aliens and foreigners are pervasive in American society."  But what happened to the members of the Korean Students Association should not happen to anyone at Tufts.

The Dean of Student Affairs for Arts, Sciences & Engineering released a statement on the disciplinary outcome of the incident this past Monday. The parties involved reached a settlement proposing a set of outcomes that they urged the university to accept as a resolution for the incident. The proposed consequences for the offending student included a public apology, a period of suspension from the university, and participation in substance abuse counseling as well as in an anti-bias/anti-hate education program.  Dean Reitman imposed participation in an anger management program as an additional consequence, and indicated that the student would be eligible to return to the university after his initial period of suspension only if he has fulfilled the other requirements and can demonstrate that he has learned from this experience and will contribute positively to the community. The full text of Dean Reitman's statement is available on the website of The Tufts Daily;( as well as in his original email.

We hope that the process of discussion between the parties offered one route to both healing and understanding. As Dean Reitman has indicated, a hearing had been scheduled in accordance with the processes of our student judicial system and would have taken place had the students involved not proposed an alternative resolution. We are committed to a judicial system that does not rush to judgment and that treats all parties fairly, but the university will not shirk its responsibility to discipline those who violate our codes of conduct and attack other members of the community.

Now that due process has been served, we wish to state unequivocally that we deplore the attack on members of the Korean Students Association. The Lewis Hall incident challenged the right of Asians and Asian Americans to full membership in our community. On other occasions, members of other groups have been similarly challenged. We will never be able to eradicate bad behavior or isolate the university from the divisive impulses in our society. But we need to get to a point where everyone recognizes that we are a stronger community because of our diversity. Moreover, we need to recognize that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

Our goal is to make Tufts a safe and welcoming environment for all our students, faculty, and staff.  It is clear that we still have work to do. The Provost and the Executive Director of Institutional Diversity will release their first annual report on diversity at Tufts in the fall. That report will provide a baseline against which we can measure our efforts and make plans for the future. We recognize our responsibility as academic and administrative leaders to advance this agenda on behalf of the entire university community.

Fostering a diverse community has implications for how we recruit, orient, teach, and support our students, and for co-curricular and residential life. This agenda has a special salience in the undergraduate residential setting of the Medford/Somerville campus. There, we will review the diversity component of new student orientation and its follow- up to see how we can build on what we already do and maximize its impact. We will also continue to support a strong network of offices and programs that strengthen awareness of diversity and build leadership capacity around issues of race and identity through a rich array of programming and services. These include the culture centers in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity Education and Development. The Admissions Office maintains a steadfast commitment to diversity, while the Center for STEM Diversity and the Graduate and Professional Student Admissions Recruitment Committee have taken important steps to ensure that we strengthen the representation of under-represented groups in critical academic disciplines. Coordinated efforts to ensure that all our promising students flourish at Tufts are a priority for the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education.  These and other colleagues in the faculty and administration all have important roles to play.  So do concerned individuals and groups among our students.

These issues are critical across the university. We hope that all of you share with us a commitment to making this an inclusive and supportive community. While this work will never be completed, we look forward to your input and collaboration as we move forward.


Lawrence S. Bacow
Jamshed Bharucha
Robert Sternberg
Linda M. Abriola
Lisa M. Coleman
Michael A. Baenen
James M. Glaser
Bruce Reitman


On another note, the Sam Yoon College Event was great last night! Lots of exciting things in store for him and the campaign. A new entry will be coming shortly with a video and a few pictures as well. Thanks + happy Friday! :) 

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