News roundup: Last year in headlines

Yoji Watanabe, '20, leads students in chants to support dining workers unionization on April 3, 2018. Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily Archives

Last year, Tufts saw a continuation of established debates and drama, as well as the emergence of new issues that stand to affect the campus in the coming months. Here is a review of the key issues as they emerged.


Led by campus group United for Immigrant Justice, more than 60 students protested outside the Mayer Campus Center to demonstrate their opposition to President Trump’s planned cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Student Life Review Committee released its final report, the culmination of a period of reflection on Tufts social life that started with investigations and protests over Greek Life organizations during the 2016-17 academic year. The report found that the elimination of Greek Life was impossible at that moment but pledged that the university would work to promote alternative social spaces for students in the coming years.


Lengthy negotiations on a new contract between Tufts and its part-time faculty concluded as the two sides reached an agreement hours before a planned walkout. The new five-year contract, which includes increased wages and job security, was later approved.


The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy student Carter Banker started a petition to remove former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci (LA ’86) from the school’s Board of Advisors, on grounds that Scaramucci’s actions had been out of line with Fletcher values. Scaramucci would later resign from the Board.

In a cease-and-desist letter, Scaramucci threatened to sue the Daily for defamation unless two op-eds, from the Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 issues, were retracted and an apology was given. The issue received coverage from the national press and the American Civil Liberties Union offered to give legal aid to the paper and the author of the op-eds, Fletcher student Camilo Caballero (F ’18). Nothing came of the threatened suit.

The last round of findings and sanctions from the university’s investigation into Greek Life organizations were released. In the resolution, Theta Delta Chi, also known as “123,” had its charter revoked. Zeta Psi and Delta Upsilon were suspended until September 2018, when, if in good standing, they will go into disciplinary probation. The Chi Omega sorority was placed on disciplinary probation until Dec. 6, 2018.


The national organization of sorority Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) withdrew the charter of Tufts’ Delta chapter in response to the chapter’s falling membership numbers. In 2016, the chapter lost half its members in protest to the national organization’s hesitancy to allow a transgender woman to receive a bid.

The administration released its 2017 budget overview, which included $10 million in payments towards a $161 million debt accumulated through campus construction and expansion projects. Administration officials explained that lower-than-expected undergraduate student retention and graduate student enrollment helped contribute to the debt. A town hall, open to all members of the Tufts community, was held to increase transparency in the budgeting process. 


The Medford Zoning Board of Appeals approved the university’s plans to convert some of its off-campus houses into student housing. That multi-year project now known as CoHo will offer five houses and 45 beds to upperclassmen in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The university announced that the former AOII house will hold transfer students during the 2018-19 academic year.


The faculty of the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering voted to extend the pass/fail deadline to ten weeks for all students, following a Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate resolution pressing on them to do so. The ten-week window had previously only applied to first-years.

It was announced that the Asian American House and Asian American Center would be separated starting fall 2018. The separation seeks to increase the accessibility of the Center as a community space.

Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris announced he would be leaving the university to take over as president of Union College in July. The interim Provost is Deborah Kochevar, who stepped down as dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.


Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center began opening at 7:30 a.m. during the week in order to cater to dual-degree students trying to catch the shuttle to the SMFA for morning classes. It had previously opened at 8 a.m.

The administration announced that tuition would increase 3.76 percent for the 2018-19 academic year, rising to $70,941. The heightened value reflects the costs of running the university and includes more funding for financial aid.


Backed by hundreds of Tufts students, Tufts Dining Services employees rallied for the university to accept their desire to unionize. A few weeks after the rally, a vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board saw a vast majority of employees vote to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents hospitality workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In the TCU Senate elections, senior Jacqueline Chen was elected TCU President, beating out senior Adam Rapfogel. A referendum question appearing on the ballot allowing students to turn a TCU Senate resolution into a university-wide referendum with 300 student signatures passed.