Fall 2013: A semester in review
Published: Monday, December 9, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 15:12
Policy and strategy reform
Changes to the university’s drug and alcohol policy, including the addition of a Good Samaritan policy and amnesty clause, took effect at the beginning of this semester. Under the new policy, students who seek medical assistance for themselves or others will not face disciplinary consequences. Additionally, students who receive emergency medical assistance due to substance use will not face judicial sanctions for the first two interventions.
The university announced that it would extend its health insurance plans to cover new benefits such as gender reassignment surgery for transgender faculty members starting in January. The report follows a similar change implemented at the beginning of the semester that covered surgery for transgender students.
The Board of Trustees in November approved a 10-year Strategic Plan, a 45-page document that details university goals over the next decade. The plan focused on four main themes: foundational initiatives, transformational experiences, engaging and celebrating commonalities and differences and creating innovative approaches to local and global challenges.
Many students reported technical glitches while selecting courses through the new Integrated Student Information System (iSIS), which became operational last spring. Throughout the semester, Tufts Technology Services also launched a number of new functions, such as an option to transfer credit and request a leave of absence through iSIS.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that Tufts would accept the Universal College Application in addition to the Common Application this year. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin explained that many applicants had experienced technical difficulties with the new Common Application website, and that the Office of Admissions hoped to make application easier by accepting the alternate format.
As part of a deal with its host communities, the university announced that it will waive the $70 application fee for Somerville High School and Medford High School students. In addition, Tufts will give $1.375 million to both cities over the next five years.
Administrators implemented a new safety system, known as Tufts Threat Assessment and Management (TTAM) program. According to Director of Public and Environmental Safety Kevin Maguire, TTAM operates by gathering information from separate sections and organizations on campus and calculating possible threats based on the data.
Events and gatherings
Due to logistical concerns, Programming Board replaced the annual Fall Ball with a new event titled Fall Gala. The gathering, which featured live music, among other activities, was held on the Academic Quad. A fireworks show over the Residential Quad immediately followed the event.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Oct. 2 delivered a lecture, “Interpreting the Constitution,” as part of the Richard E. Snyder President’s Lecture Series. The decision to host Scalia sparked controversy among Tufts students, some of whom responded by holding a teach-in discussion and protests before the lecture.
Reports of a suspected arsonist in Somerville emerged early in the fall semester. At least 17 fires have been reported to police since last June. The Department of Public and Environmental Safety cautioned Tufts students to be on the alert for suspicious behavior.
University officials also cautioned students about a spate of robberies in the community. Two students reported armed robberies during September, while in November a man with a knife held up the Campus Mini Mart. A suspect for the latter crime has been arrested.
The Joey shuttle reportedly collided with a student cyclist on Nov. 1 at the intersection of College and Talbot Avenues. The student was hospitalized with minor injuries.
Another collision involving a student cyclist occurred on Nov. 19, when the student, making a wide turn, collided with an SUV on Latin Way. The student was transported to the hospital but was released shortly afterward.
Dining on campus
The Commons Deli and Grill agreed to accept meal swipes beginning next semester. The decision was prompted by a Nov. 17 Tufts Community Union Senate resolution that called for the university to open of a late-night dinning space.
Sophomore Elizabeth Palma traveled to Washington, D.C., this November with the Massachusetts Student Immigrant Movement to advocate for immigration reform before members of Congress. Through a number of demonstrations, students involved with the movement urged Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner to pass H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, approved by the Senate earlier this year.
Eighteen Tufts students joined universities nationwide in a fast to raise awareness about Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in November. Participating students hoped to demonstrate the causal link between climate change and natural disaster.