Editorial: Welcome back, Jumbos

by Annabel Nied

Winter break has come to a close, and the semester has started; you all have new memories to share, stories to be told and much to give to our campus. We at the Tufts Daily feel similarly about this new chapter; we too have stories to keep sharing and discussions to start about the important problems facing our campus and student body. We are excited to continue expanding on this mission, fully committed to drawing attention to our community’s issues and promoting ongoing talk about the challenges affecting us all. 

With this goal in mind, we must pay tribute to our fall semester efforts as we go forward. Last semester, we critically reflected on the problems affecting day-to-day student life, discussing the housing crisis involving both our campus and surrounding communities. Additionally, we addressed the financial inaccessibility of everyday life as a Tufts student, tackling the steep laundry, textbook and on-campus dining prices that make on-campus living unreasonably expensive, especially for low-income or minority groups and upperclassmen living off campus. As we move into the new semester, we must continue to discuss these important issues in order to ensure a fair and just college experience. 

In addition, our campus has repetitively been challenged by incidents of hate throughout the last semester, witnessing white nationalism, antisemitism, homophobia and anti-black racism. This is truly unacceptable, and our administration and student body must do more to address these issues and keep Tufts a safe campus that champions values of compassion, empathy and equality. We will continue fighting for these values in the coming semester, and we as a community must continue to extend compassion and support to those harmed by systemic racism and incidents of hate.

We also addressed problems within Tufts as an institution that affect professors, students and the Medford and Somerville communities. We examined the wage gap between male and female professors at this university, discovering that Tufts ranked 87th out of 93 colleges in terms of gender parity. The university must step up to gather data regarding this discrepancy and address the lack of women in senior positions. Additionally, we emphasized the importance of a tuition freeze in reducing student financial burden, and we discussed issues with the Medford and Somerville communities, urging Tufts to support the communities through higher PILOT payments. We will continue fighting for institutional change in the coming semester and expand on these issues, specifically regarding student academic life.  

Additionally, it is crucial that we consider the impact that Tufts has on the outside world and strive to create more positive change in our communities. There is a “bubble” surrounding the university and a clear disconnect between our campus and surrounding neighborhoods. We must continue to play our part in supporting local businesses in Somerville and Medford and take into account their perspective on university housing since it affects them directly. We must also fight for a greener, more environmentally friendly campus and further the efforts of the alumni and various Tufts student groups such as Tufts Climate Action that have called on the university to divest from fossil fuels. The university must more carefully invest and consider the environmental implications of its choices, and we will keep advocating for the university to do so.

As both the new semester and decade begin, we hope that this year will be characterized by positive change, and we will continue to do our part through cultivating an atmosphere of discussion, action and awareness. We truly look forward to bringing attention to the issues that matter to this campus and advocating for a fair, safe and engaged community. Welcome back, Tufts: We cannot wait for what comes next.