Mr. Ed Beuchert
Dear Mr. Beuchert,
Thank you for sharing your opinion in the Tufts Daily last Thursday.
Tufts University is proud to be located in both Somerville and Medford. We are deeply committed to a strong partnership with both cities and the many programs that involve our faculty, students and staff working alongside area residents and non-profit organizations. I was pleased that you recognized in your letter the many contributions that Tufts makes to our local communities.
One important priority is to make financial aid available to directly support local students in their pursuit of higher education. Tufts meets the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students, and 20 students from Somerville who share more than $700,000 in Tufts financial aid grants are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree here.
We know that there are always challenges that arise between a host community and a university, especially when students reside in local neighborhoods. We work very hard to remind our students to be good neighbors. We hold them accountable for their behavior, and we impose discipline on those who fail to listen. Most students who live off-campus are good neighbors, and many become productive members of the community and remain in Somerville after graduation.
The number of students enrolled at Tufts has increased over the years, due in large part to the fact that Tufts has become one of the universities most sought after by talented young people. We are working to accommodate that trend, but admissions and enrollment management is not an exact science. The target for this September’s entering undergraduate class was 1,310. Although we reduced the number of applicants whom we accepted to our lowest percentage ever, more accepted students decided to come to Tufts than we expected. As a result, our entering class includes 1,360 students.
We recognize that an increase in students affects neighborhood housing. I have convened a Residential Strategy Working Group led by Provost David Harris to investigate current issues around on-campus and off-campus housing and develop policies and plans for additional campus housing. The working group will be soliciting input from members of the local community to gain their perspective on the impact of our students residing in the neighborhood. A subcommittee of the working group discussed the concerns raised in your letter the day it was published. We will continue to consider all aspects of Tufts’ impact in Somerville and Medford as part of our strategic planning.
I hope that we can continue to improve communications with all of our neighbors in order to work through issues of common concern with mutual respect. Such collaboration is in the best interests of both of our communities.
Anthony P. Monaco