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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, April 18, 2024

Jackson College' name stricken from diplomas

The "Jackson College" name will not appear on the diplomas of female graduates this May, Provost Sol Gittleman announced Wednesday. Reverting to the design that was abandoned in 1962 - when female students petitioned to add "Jackson College" to the diplomas - the certificates will now match men's diplomas, reading "Tufts College" with "Tufts University" written above.

Gittleman said the change will "have no effect on the fiduciary status of Jackson College." Jackson College will continue to exist and is legally chartered to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, like the University. "It's too big a deal to go to the Commonwealth and change everything," he said.

Although the diploma itself contains only Latin writing, many female students complained. Gittleman said he has had to explain what Jackson College is and why it is on the diplomas for 21 years. In his final year at the University, he decided to put an end to the confusion.

The distinction between "Tufts" and "Jackson" graduates has also been removed from the University's web site following a series of complaints, according to Gittleman.

Each year "somebody, or some group of students, comes and asks me 'why are we Jackson students?'" he said. The Provost's decision was prompted by the queries in the past, especially by the particular insistence of students this year.

Tufts Community Union (TCU) Vice President Melissa Carson, who was among many students pushing for the change, said she was "elated" with the Provost's decision. When she approached the Provost earlier this semester, she told him that "things were different than how they had been in 1962" when women fought for the "Jackson" diplomas.

While Carson thinks it is a good idea for students to learn more about the history of Jackson College, she does not feel the name needs to be on the diploma anymore.

"I respect the memory of Jackson College but I don't think I need to have it on my diploma," she said. She said that women undergraduates undergo the Tufts experience and should therefore receive a Tufts diploma. Not all women on campus share her sentiment, however, and Carson acknowledges that some women would rather graduate from Jackson College.

In 1962, Tufts' women successfully urged the administration to add "Jackson College" to female diplomas as a reflection of their pride in the College. Since then, attitudes about Jackson College and its role have changed. Jackson College was conceived in 1910 and was a prestigious women's college in its time.