The Cambridge City Council held a special meeting on Jan. 18 to discuss the protocols of the Cambridge Police Department after police fatally shot Sayed Arif Faisal earlier this month. Faisal was a 20-year-old Cambridge resident and engineering student at UMass Boston.
Tufts announced on Jan. 17 that it received more than 34,000 applicationsfor the undergraduate class of 2027. The application pool is the university’s most diverse in history, according to Dean of Admissions JT Duck.
Executive Director of Public Safety Yolanda Smith wrote in an all-campus email Tuesday that only “credible” threats would trigger public safety alerts going forward, following a string of bomb threats that rocked campus in December and seemingly began anew earlier this week.
The Medford/Tufts branch of the Green Line Extension opened on Dec. 12 at roughly 4:30 a.m. following years of construction and several delays. The extension now connects the Medford/Somerville campus to East Somerville and Boston.
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.
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.
Evacuations, building sweeps and near-daily security alerts rattled a campus just beginning its finals period after Tufts’ diversity office received a bomb threat on Dec. 14. The threat, sent via email, quickly became the first of at least seven messages directed to Tufts in the week that followed. Shortly after the university received the seventh threat on Thursday morning, an individual claiming to be the perpetrator sent another email. This time, the message said the threats to Tufts and the greater Boston community would stop.
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.
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.
Tufts Labor Coalition calls on Tufts Dining to increase number of bakers, stop outsourcing baked goodsBy Matthew Sage | December 12
The Tufts Labor Coalition is currently running a petition to address the decreasing quality of the dining centers’ baked goods and to earn fairer hours for Tufts baker Melissa Lee over winter recess.
Tufts has announced a plan to begin construction on a new residence hall on Boston Avenue next year, with hopes of completing it by fall 2025. The new seven story building will be open to juniors and seniors only and will house 398 Tufts students in apartment-style units.
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.”
A group of Tufts faculty members and outside researchers were recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue their project entitled “Multi-Domain, Multi-Scale, Policy-Aware Digital Twin for Offshore Wind Energy Infrastructure.” Work on this project is expected to officially begin in January 2023.
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 advocatesBy Estelle Anderson | December 8
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.
Desen Özkan and Chelsea Andrews of Tufts’ Center for Engineering Education and Outreach hosted a discussion on Dec. 2 presenting findings from their ongoing research project “Improving Students’ Sociotechnical Literacy in Engineering.” Özkan is a postdoctoral researcher at the CEEO and the Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction, and Andrews is a research assistant professor.
Somerville has made the 2022 Carbon Disclosure Project’s cities A-List, an award for leadership on environmental action and transparency. Only 12% of the 1,002 cities evaluated worldwide received this designation based on commitment to long-term climate action plans, fossil fuel emission reduction targets and local climate risk assessments.
The Tufts Republicans issued a statement on Nov. 23 accusing TCU Senate of spreading hateful and divisive rhetoric in their post about the National Day of Mourning and the history of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The TCU Senate approved on Dec. 4 a resolution to add more American Sign Language courses to the Tufts curriculum, which would allow students to minor in the language. During the meeting, the Senate also read the text of two new resolutions and approved 14 supplementary budget requests.