April 27, 2010
Dear Presidential Selection Committee,
I’m writing from the viewpoint of a white female student at Tufts, on behalf of
myself and students who also wish to see change in our university. We come to
you with the shared goal of bettering Tufts University and the experiences of
all future students.
At Tufts University, we pride ourselves on our active citizenship and
potential for social change, both in the classroom and outside of it. We’re
very excited to have the opportunity to share with you the kinds of change we
students at Tufts would like to see within our own institution. I know I speak
for a large group of Tufts students when I say we would like to see a
determined commitment to social justice in the next President of Tufts
University. By a commitment to social justice I mean a resolute responsibility
to addressing disparities between advantage and disadvantage in relation to
race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status within institutionalized
hierarchies of power.
Jamshed Bharucha, Provost and Senior Vice President, recently said that the
selection committee wants someone with “a commitment to diversity.” It’s
promising to hear of this commitment. However, championing “diversity” as the
ultimate goal of egalitarianism can fail to recognize pervasive structural
inequalities. The next President of Tufts should be dedicated to changing the
systems of power rather than simply filling the system’s positions with a diverse
array of representative figures.
We want a President who has experience working with marginalized students as
they experience Tufts. Such marginalization includes but is not limited to
issues of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, disability, and
first-generation college students. When a bias incident or a hate crime occurs
on campus, we want all students to feel secure within the Tufts environment,
knowing that a standard of social justice has been established at the highest level
of university leadership. We want Tufts University to be a place in which
everyone feels comfortable, supported, wanted, and safe.
It is most important that the search committee seek out candidates who are
dedicated to the principles of social justice. However, Tufts has yet to elect
a president who is not a straight, white male. And while there are certainly
people who are both socially normative and dedicated to working for social
justice, we advocate emphasizing a search for candidates who also identify
themselves with one or more marginalized groups.
We encourage you to make these issues of social justice central to your
selection of the new university President. Among other matters to be addressed
is the lack of ethnic studies programs at Tufts, which reflects a great
disparity between us and other established universities. We hope that you give
our input serious attention during the difficult deliberations that await you.
and the Undersigned
(No Sponsor Information)
Help spread the word about this petition. Copy the code below and paste it into your website or blog to help promote this petition.