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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tufts investigating after cannon painted with inflammatory messaging; perpetrators unknown

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A sign near the cannon is pictured on Sept. 18.

Derogatory statements were painted on the cannon and tree in front of Goddard Chapel between the night of Sept. 16 and the morning of Sept. 17, prompting an investigation by TUPD and OEO. The identity of the perpetrators is currently unknown.

On Monday evening, Monroe France, Vice Provost for DEIJ, sent an email to the community addressing the incident.

“Though painting over messages on the cannon after an appropriate amount of time has elapsed is part of the tradition, the manner in which the work was destroyed caused harm and outrage among our Black community,” he wrote. “Additionally, the graffiti that was affixed to the cannon was potentially anti-Asian, causing harm to members of our Asian/Asian American communities.”

The statements, which were painted on the cannon and a nearby tree, included messages such as “Asian invasion” and “f— you.” Tufts facilities has since removed the messaging.

France advised students to refrain from speculating on the identity of those involved and the intent behind their actions.

“There is still much information that we don’t know about the incident. … But regardless of whether there is a formal violation of our policies, there are a number of lessons that we can — and should — take from this incident,” he wrote. “Just because you can say (or, in this case, paint) something, it doesn’t mean you should.”

Tufts Pan-Afrikan Alliance said in a statement on Instagram that attendees of an annual Africana Center retreat painted the cannon on the night of Sept. 16.

“The over-painting of the cannon is unacceptable and very clearly an attack on the Black student body,” PAA wrote. In their statement, the organization also criticized the university’s past responses to race-related incidents.

The Tufts Community Union senate acknowledged the negative impact of the messaging on Black and Asian students as well as other students of color in a statement made on their Instagram account. The TCU Senate executive board also said that they will file a formal report with OEO to “demand further accountability” from the administration.