Editorial: New Year’s resolutions for Tufts, part 1

by Carys Kong

The semester is coming to a close, with only one week of classes remaining. This change in scenery comes as a reset button that provides an opportunity for reflection, change and improvement in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Whatever your personal resolutions may be, the Daily would like to put forth a different kind of resolution. We spent the semester covering many important issues at Tufts, ranging from hate on campus to the wage gap, so today and tomorrow we’ll propose New Year’s resolutions we hope Tufts University will adopt to improve our campus in 2020 and beyond.

Increase Health Service and CMHS hours to protect student health

Tufts Health Service and Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) are essential resources on campus, working to improve students’ physical and mental health. Unfortunately, the hours of these important services are extremely limited and fail to sufficiently accommodate student needs. During the academic year, Health Service remains open, at best, until 6 p.m. On Saturdays, Health Service is open for a mere four hours, and it is completely closed Sundays. CMHS hours are also insufficient, as they are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Since students are busy with classes during these hours, many only find the free time necessary after closing or during the weekend. Students that become ill on weekends lack access to immediate treatment, which disrupts schoolwork and overall wellness. Tufts must extend both Health Service and CMHS hours during the week and open their doors on the weekends in order to provide truly comprehensive service.

Improve working conditions at Tufts Dining and revamp the meal-swipe system

Clear issues remain with Tufts Dining from prohibitive cost to employee treatment. While a new contract intended to improve working conditions was signed this past spring, Tufts Dining workers have filed multiple grievances about continued harassment and mistreatment by managers. Tufts must substantially improve Tufts Dining working conditions so as to value employee’s’ quality of life and commit to reforming management in response to workplace grievances. 

Further, few campus locations accept meal swipes, and Tufts Dining pockets remaining meal swipes at the end of each semester. As a consequence, some students must scramble to make swipes last, and others feel as if they wasted their meal plan at the semester’s end. Tufts should reconfigure the meal-swipe system to allow swipe transfers to the following semester and expand swipe use to all Tufts Dining-operated locations.  Through these improvements, Tufts can improve its dining services to better serve employees and students with respect and fairness.

Make Tufts accessible to the physically disabled

Tufts’ topography renders campus quite inaccessible to the physically disabled, and the university lacks the necessary solutions to this problem. Many academic and residential buildings do not have ramps or elevators. One would think that disabled students simply would not be given rooms in inaccessible halls, but Student Accessibility Services (SAS) lacks the timeliness to provide appropriate accommodations. Additionally, physically disabled students have difficulty traveling across campus, as the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) is the only transportation aid available. Because its primary work concerns campus security, TUPD is inconsistent and can take a long time to arrive. In order to promote physical inclusivity on campus, Tufts must add ramps, elevators and adjustable tables to buildings and make transportation methods beyond TUPD available. SAS must provide better accommodations, including accessible dorm rooms with space to hold medical equipment. Tufts cannot claim to value equal opportunity until it fills this void.

Fix damaged facilities and appliances on campus

A common source of student complaints are the many broken, old or damaged appliances on campus. In many residential buildings, washing machines, dryers, toilets and sinks do not work properly. Furniture in dorms are worn out, and various buildings lack ceiling tiles. Dysfunctional living spaces simply make it more difficult to study, complete routine tasks and enjoy on-campus housing. Tufts must fix these broken systems around campus to make students feel safe and comfortable in their living environments.