Leaders of Wednesday’s march to Porter Square, organized under the name of #thethreepercent, released a more detailed version of their demands of the Tufts administration yesterday. The demands, which were first announced in the Mayer Campus Center during the demonstration, include increasing the number of Black-identifying students and faculty at Tufts, improving the quality of mental health services provided for Black students and eliminating increased police surveillance of events hosted by Black student organizations.
In the letter, the students contextualize and specify the actions necessary for the university to fulfill its obligations to Black students, providing relevant narratives and statistics about the current experiences of Black students.
“The needs addressed in this document have been generated and written by Black people, about Black people, for Black people,” the letter reads. “In that, we mean to speak on behalf of solely the Black undergraduate students at Tufts Medford/Somerville campus. We have not made these demands to imply that no other forms of institutional racism and oppression are perpetuated on this campus, but rather in these demands is a collection of the specific changes that must be addressed in order for Tufts to carry out its obligations to its Black students.”
Last night, University President Anthony Monaco and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas released their own statement describing their plans for addressing students’ demands. They explained that they had held a meeting with students at the Africana Center on Nov. 17 — the day before the march — to discuss students’ concerns about the diversity of the student body and faculty, public safety and the role of Tufts’ Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council and Working Group, among other topics.
“These are serious concerns and we ended that meeting with an agreement that we would continue the conversation on specific issues at a meeting before the end of the semester,” the letter read.
Monaco and Brimhall-Vargas said they are in the process of once again reaching out to students through the Africana Center to schedule a follow-up meeting. According to the letter, representatives from the office of the provost, admissions, public safety, health and wellness and student affairs will attend the meeting, which is expected to be held sometime early next week.
“Despite positive steps, we know that Tufts still has much work to do,” Monaco and Brimhall-Vargas wrote. “We believe that the administration in partnership with faculty, staff, and students can enable meaningful change on our campus.”