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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, June 13, 2024

BREAKING: Student finds sign for African American exhibit defaced, Bias Response Teams announced

A third incident of hatred in under a month occurred on the Medford/Somerville campus, University President Anthony Monaco and Provost and Senior Vice President Nadine Aubry announced in an email today. According to the email, this most recent incident involved the defacement of a sign in the African American Trail Project exhibit in the Aidekman Arts Center, which a student discovered last Saturday.

"This act of vandalism is a shameful affront to the African American community, and it shows a crude and insulting disregard for the long history of oppression, racism, and injustice endured by all people of color in the United States and around the world," Monaco and Aubry wrote.

This act of vandalism comes in the wake of two other acts of hate targeting marginalized groups. On Sept. 15, a Jewish student returned to their dorm room and found a swastika affixed to their door. On Oct. 2, a different student discovered a homophobic slur carved into their door.

As with the other two incidents this semester, Monaco and Aubry assured that the Office of Equal Opportunity and the Tufts University Police Department were investigating.

Monaco and Aubry called the act an "incident of bias," despite criticism from students for using such language regarding the homophobic act of vandalism last week.

The administrators announced the creation of two Bias Response Teams (BRTs) for such acts of hate, one of which would cover such incidents that occur on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses and one that would respond to those that occur in Boston and Grafton.

According to the email, Rob Mack, associate provost and chief diversity officer for Medford, and Joyce Sackey, who holds the same position for the Boston and Grafton campuses, as well as students, faculty and staff would form the BRTs.

"[BRTs'] work will be distinct from our processes for reporting, investigating, and adjudicating incidents of bias and discrimination at Tufts, supplementing those existing University processes with a focus on community understanding, support, and engagement," the email read.