Letter to the Editor: Fletcher School administration needs to embrace the school’s storied legacy to ensure its future

Dear Editor,  

I write with regards to the November 2020 rebranding of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy that saw the virtual elimination of “Law and Diplomacy” from the name, and the school’s subsequent commitment to reverse that widely-criticized change.

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy has a nearly 90-year history as a preeminent institution for the training of international affairs public servants, including diplomats. As a career public servant and diplomat myself, I have found my training at Fletcher in history, economics, law and diplomacy to be an ongoing source of personal and professional strength and pleasure. I have been honored to be part of the rich legacy of diplomacy embodied and promoted by the institution and its graduates. Diplomacy as a professional discipline, subject of academic inquiry and facet of the school’s identity is not something to be discarded in a rebranding. My own career choices notwithstanding, “diplomacy” in the school’s name should not be read so narrowly as to imply that Fletcher graduates can only — or should only — pursue careers in the diplomatic services. 

That the current administration should so casually disregard Fletcher’s history, legacy and purpose leaves me with no confidence that the administration has an adequate understanding of the institution and appreciation of its mission. That the administration would undertake these changes with a decided lack of transparency and virtually no consultation with stakeholders calls into question its ability to steward the institution. Furthermore, that Dean Kyte should promise to roll back the rebranding in a statement to students and alumni while the school continues to make little mention of the full name, “The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,” on the website begs the question of whether or not the administration is dealing with the community in good faith.

I call on Tufts University and the Fletcher Board of Advisors to embrace the full name, “The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,” and to seek a new dean. 

Richard Pearson

Fletcher MALD ’09

Richard Pearson is a 2009 MALD graduate of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and resides in metro Boston. Richard can be reached at [email protected]