The Tufts community was alerted via email today of an incident that implicated the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) and three women of color on campus, two of whom were students, and the response and actions that will follow.
TUPD is being criticized for the way its officers attended to the situation, and the incident will be reviewed by an independent investigator through the Office of Equal Opportunity, according to the email.
The incident occurred on Sept. 1. The three women were putting a mask on the Jumbo statue, per a Tisch College initiative to promote JumboVote and Healthy@Tufts, when they asked several male passersby for help. At least some of these students were white, according to the email.
Police officers arrived at the scene after a community member mistakenly thought the students were painting the Jumbo statue and called TUPD. It had not been communicated to TUPD that the installation was supposed to be happening, and the officers told Facilities to remove the mask from the statue and questioned the individuals involved.
The email explained that some of the questions raised about TUPD centered around alleged differences in the way the women of color were policed and the way the men were policed — namely concerns about the women not being trusted and being subjected to more intense and lengthy questioning than the men involved.
The university expressed regret at the incident and assured the community that it will act with transparency.
This is a developing story.