In late August, the Somerville City Council unanimously passed a home rule petition creating a net-zero fossil fuel emissions policy for new construction projects and major renovations in the city. The policy was introduced by Councilors Ben Ewen-Campen and Lance Davis with support from Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne.
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A proposal to amend the Massachusetts constitutionto impose a 4% surtax on earnings above $1 million would raise about $1.3 billion in 2023, the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts’ Tisch College said in a nonpartisan report released on Jan. 13. Massachusetts citizens will vote on the amendment on Nov. 8.
Since the start of the spring semester, hundreds of undergraduate students on the Medford/Somerville campus have tested positive for COVID-19, and many of them have been required to isolate in one of the modular housing units on the Vouté Tennis Courts. Many will be familiar with the procedure by now: After testing positive, students have 90 minutes to corral their linens and toiletries, pack their suitcases and make the trek to their assigned unit.
Faculty Senate hears presentation on faculty compensation, discusses need to improve faculty retention
Tufts administration and faculty are reviewing policies for faculty compensation and promotion, with a focus on hiring and retaining talented faculty members. Mike Howard, the executive vice president of Tufts, and Kim Ryan, vice president for human resources, delivered a presentation on the topic to theUniversity Faculty Senate at its February meeting.
Tufts announced its commitment to increasing its contributions to the international Scholars at Risk network to support Ukrainian scholars in an email to the community on March 4. Now, faculty and administrators are considering how best to support these scholars and are exploring additional ways to help them beyond SAR. The university joined the SAR network in 2011 to help threatened scholars, defined broadly by the program to include private researchers, writers, artists and practitioners.
Tufts University Executive Vice President Mike Howard discussed divestment from Russian securities — which currently amount to $5.7 million out of the approximately $2.5 billion in Tufts’ endowment — at a special session of the University Faculty Senate on March 23. Howard said that fully divesting from these securities would be “too risky for the endowment,” but that the university is working with its investment managers, who are seeking to minimize their funds’ exposure to Russian money.
Tufts Medical Center adjusts procedures after wrongfully assuming Black stroke victim was intoxicated
The Tufts Medical Center has implemented a number of drastic procedural changes following an incident of racial bias in 2019 that led to the mistreatment of a Black man who had suffered a stroke. The incident resurfaced in the media recently after the City of Boston reached a $1.3 million settlement with the victim, Al Copeland. Copeland was held at a Boston police station for several hours by law enforcement officials in April 2019 after he suffered a stroke that left him “barely conscious,” while driving on Massachusetts Avenue at night.
The Vouté Tennis Courts on Professors Row remain unusable due to the modular housing units installed on top of the courts in 2020. This has caused Tufts’ varsity tennis teams to hold practices and games on the South Courts by Harleston Hall, as they did last year.
Tufts University’s faith communities are experiencing their first on-campus observances of Passover, Easter and Ramadan since the COVID-19 pandemic began. To celebrate the holidays, various small-group, in-person events and Zoom events have been occurring, with more planned for the coming weeks.