Editorial | Tufts-owned warehouse residents should accept fate
Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 11, 2013 01:04
A community of artists in a warehouse close to Tufts who have stayed there for a number of years have been given six months to leave the premises. The artisans, who run businesses out of the warehouse involving a number of different crafts, including furniture construction, have stayed there for many decades doing their craftwork. The university now intends to use the building for teaching and office space. The inhabitants of the warehouse have voiced their disappointment in losing a space for sharing and learning about artwork and each others’ crafts.
These objections aren’t enough to reverse Tufts’ right to evict them from its property, however. In many ways, it has a responsibility to take advantage of such spaces to further the education of its students.
There is an argument to be made for supporting communities of artists and a communal lifestyle. There is a time and place for that argument, but now is not the time or place for it. Tufts owns the property, and, as such, should take advantage of it. As students, we should hopefully be lucky enough to have our tuition utilized in the most efficient manner. The warehouse space could house more classes that may otherwise have to be taught in unconventional areas. Public Relations Director Kim Thurler noted that Tufts has found it needs more and more space. While artists and art are something the campus should encourage, these artists can both petition the towns of Medford and Somerville or buy a new space together. At the same time, Tufts can still use that space for the arts. Art students could retain parts of the space for any number of activities, from classes to open practices to additional workshop space outside the Crafts Center.
Tufts has a responsibility to educate its students and its artists to be the best that they can be. Those students are best served, again, when their tuition is not subsidizing people who, one way or another, have not had the opportunity to affect their education. The artists, who will hopefully find a new place to continue making hand-crafted goods and furniture and make a living from it, have gotten in the way of others’ learning and perhaps doing the same some day. Though it could appear to be a cause worth advocating — allowing these artisans to stay and not evict them — the campus has a responsibility to follow through on its mission.