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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Op-ed: The importance and virtue of reserving judgment

bendetson2.jpg

Bendetson Hall, home of the Tufts admissions office, is pictured on Jan. 28.

Editor’s note: Due to the confidential nature of the report cited, the Daily was unable to independently verify its contents. However, given the authors’ willingness to comment on the report, we believe it is in the community’s best interest to share the following op-ed.

A story last fall in the Daily reported on anonymous allegations about the admissions office and its leadership, including allegations of a “toxic” admissions workplace and questions of alleged bias and discrimination. The story also disclosed the existence of an investigation into the complaints.

The story was deeply troubling to our community and to us as deans. And it was especially devastating to JT Duck, dean of admissions and enrollment management for the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, with whom we share a commitment to making Tufts a diverse and welcoming community for all — as evidenced by the admission under his leadership of the most diverse classes in the university’s history. 

The university treated the allegations seriously and adhered to its processes and policies, most importantly because the allegations raised issues that relate to our core mission and values as an institution seeking to provide a healthy, safe and inclusive community for all. Because of the gravity of the allegations and the importance of preserving the integrity of a neutral and unbiased review, the Office of Equal Opportunity hired an external law firm to conduct the investigation that brought significant experience in the investigation and assessment of such cases.

The firm’s work was extensive, thorough and fair. The investigation concluded that the facts did not support any finding of any violation of the university’s OEO policies, including our non-discrimination policies.

The extensive public criticism directed at Dean Duck proved to be undeserved and unfair. In fact, the admissions office, by many accounts and indications, is a busy workplace, but one with a stable, healthy and functional work culture.

The investigation was intended to remain private, following university practice of protecting the integrity of the fact-finding process; supporting the cooperation of those who were interviewed; and respecting the privacy of those involved to guard against discouraging members of the community in the future from raising issues that might prematurely be made public.

Divulging the results of what typically is a private review is a major departure from policy for us, and we do not do so lightly. We are taking this extraordinary step of revealing that the investigation found no violation of the university’s policies out of necessity to make the record on this matter as complete as we can.

At Tufts, we deservedly take pride in our commitment to civic engagement and responsibility. Moving forward, together, let’s set an example for others by embracing the importance and virtue of reserving judgment despite temptations to rush to conclusions.

James M. Glaser, professor of political science, is dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Kyongbum Lee, professor of chemical and biological engineering, is dean of the School of Engineering.