The top headlines of last year
Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2013 15:09
Tufts is home to an active and engaged community where ideas are constantly evolving. The following is a summary of the biggest stories of the 2012-2013 academic year.
Students returned to the Hill in time to learn that the university had received a boost in college rankings. Tufts placed No. 28 on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of “Best National Universities”, up one spot from the previous year, and reached No. 32 on Forbes Magazine’s list of top national universities, seven spots higher than in 2011.
Debate arose when the Department of Public and Environmental Safety (DPES) announced its plan to install a video security system on all three Tufts campuses. Students protested the proposal, arguing that the cameras infringed on campus residents’ privacy. DPES members, however, decided that the new system was important for deterring future crime.
Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) lost official recognition as a Tufts Community Union (TCU) student group after the TCU Judiciary ruled that TCF’s constitution contained discriminatory clauses. The incident marked the beginning of a year-long controversy regarding the rights of religious groups to bar homosexuals from leadership positions in their organizations.
The Africana Studies program hosted an inaugural lecture for its new major and minor, following several years of dialogue between students and the administration. The event celebrated the program’s official launch at the beginning of the semester.
Administrators teamed up with the City of Somerville to improve pedestrian safety on campus after a student was struck by a car and seriously injured. The meeting was the first of many campus-wide movements, including the creation of Safety Awareness Week, to make the area safer for pedestrians and bikers.
The Primary Source, a former conservative publication on campus, incited outrage after publishing a “Christmas carol” that satirized a sexual violence awareness event. The incident came six years after the publication faced harassment charges for releasing a carol that ridiculed affirmative action by implying that minorities were unqualified for Tufts academics. The TCU Judiciary later derecognized The Source due to the journal’s low membership and inactivity.
The Committee on Student Life (CSL) introduced a policy that allows student religious groups, such as TCF, to request exemption from the university’s nondiscrimination policy when applying for TCU recognition. Although TCF later declined the opportunity to reapply for recognition, Tufts’ Seventh-day Adventist organization, Campus HOPE, in May announced its decision to apply for the exemption.
Two Tufts students, along with six others unaffiliated with the university, were arrested after staging a sit-in protest against the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. The protesters, who gathered at a TransCanada office in Westborough, Mass., reportedly shackled their ankles to furniture in an act of civil disobedience.
A couple weeks later, student group Tufts Divest For Our Future met with the Board of Trustees to present a plan for the university to divest from fossil fuels.
Administrators convened to review Winter Bash policy as a result of alcohol-related student misconduct during the event. University members expected major logistical changes to the annual celebration after event supervisors reported instances of public urination and the hospitalization of over 15 students.
The Tufts Confessions Facebook page, an online location for students to submit anonymous confessions, swiftly garnered popularity on campus. Only a week after its creation by a then-sophomore student, more than 900 students had “liked” the page.
Administrators introduced the Integrated Student Information System (iSIS) to the Tufts community as the new program for recording student information. Faculty members explained that iSIS, which replaced Student Information System (SIS), was intended to streamline course registration.
The Office of Residential Life and Learning announced a new rule that prohibits Residential Assistants (RAs) from dating other residents in their building. The rule was approved to become effective this year, despite students’ objections that the policy unnecessarily monitors the personal lives of RAs.
Then-junior Joe Thibodeau, who ran for TCU president on a platform of furthering student representation, won the election over candidates Joe Donenfeld and Christie Maciejewski. Voter turnout increased from 49.79 percent, during the 2012 election, to 57.5 percent.