Tufts Action Group Demands

Tufts Action Group is a grassroots organization of close to 100 faculty and staff across Tufts campuses, working in alignment with the Black Lives Matter movement.  We demand that the following steps be taken immediately to see transformational change across the university by the end of 2021.

1. stop the harm

Stop using DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) administration in ways that discount and ignore the demands of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities.

Before the university can brand itself as an “anti-racist university”, it must first fully acknowledge its foundations built on racial injustice. Tufts must become a remediative institution, and an institution devoted to restoring well-being to those it has racialized and minoritized. This begins with announcing the university’s long-term goal to identify and remedy the harm done to racialized groups, and the commitment to a clear set of long-term projects. Further, this includes stopping the use of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion talking points in ways that aggravate the harm being done to Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian communities.

End policing at Tufts, and start safeguarding the whole community.

Abolish the Tufts University Police Department, and create a new body of personnel sworn to safeguard and assist our diverse community, beginning first and foremost with the most vulnerable amongst us. Imagine safety without the use of deadly weapons, and with personnel professionally trained in non-violent de-escalation, restorative justice, and care for trauma/mental health. Divest from private prisons.

Stop resorting to the logic of small steps.

Stop taking small steps, when major transformation is needed along with long-term accountability mechanisms, transparent processes based in community consultation, and commitment to timely action.

Acknowledge the track record of unsuccessful DEI initiatives at Tufts due to lack of accountability.

Acknowledge that more than 23 years of DEI reports, often based on the uncompensated labor of faculty and staff of color, have not resolved fundamental problems around the composition of the student body, the staff body, the instructional body, or the executive body of the university. Acknowledge that the processes to address racialized harm at Tufts have themselves re-enacted harm by overworking the most vulnerable communities only to then exclude them from decision-making.

Stop making DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice) work optional for segments of the Tufts community.

Stop making the work of DEIJ at Tufts optional for members of the community, particularly those in privileged categories of race, religion, gender, sexuality, class, and ability.  Stop making a small group of people, many of whom are people of color, do the work that is the responsibility of everyone at the institution. 

Recognize gentrification as a form of institutional racism.

Acknowledge the harm caused by the gentrifying footprint of the university’s campuses, and develop policies informed by social justice to share the university’s intellectual, financial, programmatic, and space resources with the communities being affected.

Recognize climate justice as racial justice.

Divest the university’s finances from investments in environmental extraction industries. Acknowledge racial justice as a core principle of sustainability.

2. remedy the harm

Make data regularly and transparently available on the way minoritized groups of students, staff, and faculty feel about Tufts’ climate.  Also, make updated compositional diversity statistics regularly available.

Research the conditions and policies that negatively impact Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian members of Tufts university.  Identify and acknowledge the underlying causes for the university’s challenges around retention.  Make institutional research data on Equity and Justice outcomes at Tufts transparently available, and provide comparisons with peer institutions.

 

The process matters. Start a restorative justice process to rebuild trust and reconciliation with those who have been historically harmed, i.e. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities within the university.

Introduce Restorative Justice Processes led by experts and based on the principles that (1) justice belongs to the community and (2) collective responsibility is required to remediate historical wrongs (https://crrj.northeastern.edu/home/restorative-justice/)  Restorative Justice processes require long-term investment of time and resources, and variously involve structured interactions between alienated groups, truth commissions to recognize historical grievances of those subjected to racial subordination, official apologies along with accountability, memory projects, and processes and outcomes that the community identifies with.  Only restorative processes can heal our community given the history of harm.

 

Study and commemorate historical injustices located on the lands occupied by Tufts campuses.

Commission a scholarly study of the history and contemporary manifestations of all forms of colonialism and racism at Tufts to be archived and publicly exhibited variously on the university website, art galleries, libraries, and university publications. 

 

Transform Tufts’ visual representations and public media.

Devote resources to enhance the positive visual representations of alumni, staff, and faculty of color on campus and in Tufts communications, in addition to resources for public art that sheds light on the experiences, struggles, creativity, and excellence of racialized and minoritized members of the Tufts community.

 

Create a Mediation Board for reporting incidents of racial discrimination with personnel trained in restorative justice 

Create a Mediation Board for incidents of racial discrimination that is not constrained by the remit of the Tufts Office of Equal Opportunity. The OEO focuses on ensuring compliance with federal laws relating to discrimination and sexual violence.  In addition to the work of the OEO, we need a Mediation Board, whose work is based on principles of restorative justice and remediation for experiences of racial and sexual aggression.

 

Develop differential equity and justice initiatives to meet differential community needs

Ensure that Equity and Justice work at Tufts takes the different needs and priorities of individuals and communities into consideration, with particular attention paid to different needs of undergraduates, graduates, tenure-track faculty, lecturers and non-tenure track faculty, and staff.

 

Recognize and justly compensate the work of Equity & Justice

Demonstrate appreciation for the value of labor and efforts (including the mental, emotional, and financial toll associated with this labor) of those being asked to carry out justice-based work for the institution.

3. reallocate resources

End administrative fragmentation. Elevate the DSDI (Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion) Centers to a university-wide office

Elevate the DSDI centers to university-wide offices, with a 5-fold increase in funding and staffing for all of their critical student-facing services to match peer institutions. Engage in a study to determine which other student communities must be served with dedicated centers.

 

Significantly expand mental health resources in an equitable way

Direct resources currently earmarked for the TUPD to restorative justice programs, mental health care, and community well-being in ways that address the systemic under-serving of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities at the university. Increase availability of mental health resources with special attention to the diversity of available clinicians and staff; hire first responders who are trained mental health professionals, including in trauma sensitive interactions. 

Increase financial aid 

Increase Financial Aid Programs for the most underrepresented groups among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and first-generation student communities

 

Outline hiring and retention plans

Outline transparent Hiring and Retention plans for Faculty of Color and Staff of Color, along with accountability mechanisms to achieve these plans.

 

Create well-resourced affinity groups

Create affinity groups for staff and faculty of color with necessary resourcing so they can be effective, e.g., ensure that hourly workers do not lose salary when attending an affinity meeting

 

Expand the toolkit to retain faculty and staff of color

Begin using partner hires as a way of retaining diverse members of our community (including queer and trans people), as the inequities of race in society affect families and not just individuals

 

Subsidize housing and childcare 

Review and devote resources to subsidized housing and childcare for Tufts employees, prioritizing marginalized communities

 

Ensure technological equity

Devote resources to ensuring equitable access to technology among Tufts employees and students  given the turn towards hybrid and online operations

4. Share University Resources Equitably through Economic Justice and Knowledge Justice

Implement a 5-year plan to transform the Tufts workforce, with accountability mechanisms

Tufts workforce must equitably reflect the broader society

 

Implement a 5-year and a 10-year plan to transform the Tufts professoriate

Tufts tenure-track professoriate (including STEM faculty) must equitably reflect the broader society through the implementation of long-term policies. Establish a 5-year and 10-year plan for cluster hires to address the lack of diversity in the faculty.

 

Develop a plan to enhance economic security of staff, lecturers, and non-tenured faculty recognizing economic justice as part of racial justice

Rectify the precariousness and vulnerability experienced by staff, lecturers, and non-tenured faculty who are disproportionately of the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities. Develop tenure-line opportunities for instructors with the highest degree in their field that are not PhDs.

 

Increase student pipelines to Tufts

Expand and increase funding to local and national pipeline programs for youth from the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities to Tufts. Support research training programs for BIPOC undergraduates from regional institutions, including summer programs and apprenticeship semester programs that include grant support and housing. Support research and training collaborations focused on BIPOC students studying at neighboring colleges. Create a pipeline from community colleges to the Tufts 4-year degree to graduate training.

 

Transform admissions

Address Tufts’ constant comparative lag in compositional transformation. Increase admissions of BIPOC students at Tufts to meet regional benchmarks at peer institutions by 2022

 

Invest educational resources in the community

Invest in initiatives and programs in the Greater Boston area, including more kinds of Tufts learning environments beyond our campuses, formed through neighborhood partnerships in ways that engage unmatriculated BIPOC community learners without cost to them

 

Introduce a core curriculum on the legacies of colonialism, racism, protest, and activism at Tufts and the intersectional meaning of racial justice

Introduce a core university curriculum on Race and Justice at the university by 2022, developed in consultation with research scholars at Tufts who have expertise in the interdisciplinary fields of Critical Race Studies

 

Create change throughout the whole curriculum

Develop mandated short-term curricular goals across the whole university, based on data and scholarly research, with incentives

 

Mandate anti-racist and equity training and recertification for everyone at Tufts

Introduce a mandatory core training and recertification program for all Tufts faculty and staff, designed in consultation with Tufts research scholars who have expertise in the interdisciplinary fields of Critical Race Studies

 

Tie DEIJ work and outcomes to performance and merit reviews

Make Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Justice work part of everybody’s work at Tufts by tying it to performance, merit, and academic reviews

5. Transform the power structure

Create a Vice President of Equity and Justice to ensure transformative change and accountability

Create a VP of Equity and Justice at Tufts, who will be part of the President’s senior-most team, with funding and enforcement power to implement change according to yearly benchmarks and 5-year plans. The VP must be drawn from the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, or Asian community and have a proven track-record of depth in the interdisciplinary and intersectional scholarly fields of Critical Race Studies, as well as demonstrated involvement in the on-the-ground work of restoring well-being to minoritized groups.  The VP of Equity and Justice will chair the Council on Diversity at Tufts.  The VP will report directly to the President, and to the Trustees.

 

Establish a clear chain of accountability, and invest the VP of Equity and Justice with the power to ensure institutional change according to 5-year plans

The VP of Equity and Justice will ensure that DEIJ work does not take place in silos, in optional and ad hoc ways, or through fragmentary responses. This executive administrator will supervise the CDOs, the restorative justice processes, as well as the university-wide DSDI centers, and also create a council of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community stakeholders that will oversee a multi-year remediative plan to address systemic racial injustice at Tufts based on benchmarks, transparency, ongoing input from the community, and accountability mechanisms.

 

Correct the overrepresentation of the white community among Tufts trustees

Explicitly address the overrepresentation of white colleagues among the Trustees of the University, so that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian colleagues with a commitment to social justice constitute at least 40% of the Trustee Board

 

Correct the overrepresentation of the white community among Tufts senior leadership

Explicitly address the overrepresentation of white colleagues among the executive administrators of the University, so that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian colleagues with a commitment to social justice constitute at least 40% of this personnel as soon as possible.

 

Train the new leaders we need

Support junior and associate professors of color with leadership training so that they can take on department chair and dean roles.