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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, May 24, 2024



Mayor Lungo-Koehn delivers the 2023 State of the City Address

Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn delivered her 2023 State of the City Address at City Hall on Jan. 25, updating Medford residents on the city’s efforts to increase affordable housing, revitalize the downtown area, and enforce Diversity Equity and Inclusion training for government officials. She was joined by City Council President Nicole Morell, School Committee Vice Chair Jenny Graham and Medford’s first-ever poet laureate, Terry Carter, who opened the event with a poem.


Somerville City Council passes measure to eliminate medical debt

The Somerville City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Jan. 12 calling for the cancellation of Somerville residents’ medical debt. Headed by City Councilors At-Large Willie Burnley Jr. and Charlotte Kelly, the plan details the reappropriation of American Rescue Plan Act funds to buy medical debt portfolios in bulk for those residents who make up to 400% of the federal poverty rate, or those for whom debt is 5% or more of their annual income.


Tufts ends bivalent COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination requirements

The bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine is no longer required for all university personnel and students, Michael Jordan, university infection control director, announced in a Jan. 5 email to the Tufts community. In addition to dropping the omicron booster mandate, Jordan noted that the influenza vaccine would become optional for all students on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses. 


Somerville hosts ‘Midterm Ceremonies’ event

The city of Somerville hosted its “Midterm Ceremonies” event on Jan. 3 featuring Mayor Katjana Ballantyne, City Council President Ben Ewen-Campen and School Committee Chair Andre Green. The three officials discussed the progress they made in the past year and their goals for 2023.


Seventh bomb threat in 9 days targets Medford/Somerville, Boston campuses

Tufts received its seventh bomb threat in nine days at 7:01 a.m. In addition to naming seven buildings on the Medford/Somerville campus, one building on the Boston campus and the Boston Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the threat also targeted the Greater Boston Health Center branch of Planned Parenthood.


RAs elect to form union in 99–3 vote

Tufts resident assistants voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to form a union. The 99–3 vote, representing a 72% turnout from RAs, established the United Labor of Tufts Residents Assistants under the Local 153 branch of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, a union of over 100,000 workers nationwide.


'Pax et Lux: A Multifaith Winter Celebration' brings interfaith holiday cheer to campus

The University Chaplaincy hosted the event “Pax et Lux: A Multifaith Winter Celebration” on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in Goddard Chapel. For the event, Interfaith Ambassadors, student volunteers who work with the chaplaincy, gathered to present holiday rituals and traditions to create a multicultural atmosphere in celebration of peace and light. According to the chaplaincy’s website, the event was meant for chaplains and students from different cultures and faiths to perform dances and songs, and to tell their personal stories about their traditions during the holiday season. Nora Bond, program manager for the University Chaplaincy, wrote in an email that the event was open to anyone of any faith, including community members from Medford and Somerville. The event was also advertised by the Office of Community Relations. “For the event, we collected stories from the Tufts community about how peace and light manifest in their lives in their religious or faith traditions,” Bond wrote. “Tufts students, faculty and other community members will share stories reflecting their traditions.” Stories from Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity were included in the event as well as those from other faiths and practices, Bond explained. Bond also wrote that “religions and faiths are represented to different degrees on Tufts campus, with some religions being more dominant than others.” As a result, Bond noted that the chaplaincy made particular and purposeful decisions regarding the event’s details. “We deliberated on every minute detail, from the choice of flier color to the substance of each performance, to make sure that our event could be the best representation of peace, light, and multi-faith inclusivity,” she wrote. The planners and coordinators for the event spent weeks debating and revisiting each choice, and they sought assistance from community members to ensure an inclusive celebration, according to Bond. “We also reached out to many religious and philosophical student groups on campus, particularly centering those that have not had as many opportunities to share their faith practices at Tufts,” she wrote. Sam Gully, a sophomore who serves as a worship coordinator for Tufts’ Protestant Chaplaincy, told a story from their childhood where they first learned about the duality between peace and war. “It’s the little moments in our childhood that shaped the big decisions we make as adults,” Gully said. “Taking action is an integral part of my duty as a Christian. … That doesn't mean that we’re supposed to spend our lives quietly waiting and hoping that we’re worthy enough to experience God’s purpose even when we die. It means that we should work to bring it out here. In this messy, imperfect, beautiful world.” Other speakers and performers came from groups surrounding Hindu and Buddhist religious cultures and traditions. Members from the Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha spoke about experiences of interconnection with oneself and others as part of Buddhist enlightenment. “I think about my relationship with the Sangha, which is also a word for community, there have been so many of these moments of interconnection,” senior Eli Intriligator said. Senior Zoe Salvato-Cutter added that part of their Buddhist practice incorporates “sending loving kindness to ourselves, to our community and ultimately to everyone in the entire world.” On behalf of Tufts Hillel, sophomore Julia Appel discussed the beginnings of Hanukkah. “The story … is about light,” she said. “[Hanukkah] is about warmth in the cold, and a miracle that illuminates darkness.” Bond noted that religious traditions create a platform for cultural practices, social movements, personal philosophies and even the architecture of Tufts campus. “Attending these events is integral to one’s learning at a higher education institution like Tufts,” she wrote. “Participating in multi faith events allows people to meet across and within religious delineations and form deeper community connections. We’re not aiming to show how everyone is the same, or that we’re all fundamentally different.”


Residents will decide how Somerville spends $1 million of its budget next year

For the first time in the city’s history, Somerville will let its residents decide how to spend a portion of the city budget next year. Mayor Katjana Ballantyne has set aside $1 million of the city’s $293-million fiscal year 2023 budget for participatory budgeting, a method designed to fund small-scale community improvement projects while engaging locals — particularly those from historically marginalized communities — in the political process. 


Gov. Baker vetoes funds for education campaign about crisis pregnancy centers, disappoints reproductive rights advocates 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed funds for a public education campaign aimed at crisis pregnancy centers, or anti-abortion clinics that pose as authentic medical centers in order to deceive pregnant people into taking their advice, on Nov. 11. The funding had been part of a significant economic development bill passed unanimously by the state House of Representatives and the Senate on Nov. 3, much of which was devoted to supporting access to reproductive care.