Dear Class of 2021 and the Tufts community,
Since last August, there have been innumerable major events occurring at national and global levels that have had a profound impact on our community. COVID-19 certainly threw a wrench in many plans for the academic year. Tufts responded with an in-depth plan to invite students back to campus, involving a surveillance testing regimen, the construction of isolation housing units and the creation of technological infrastructure to allow us to conduct our academic and personal lives virtually. Despite several spikes in COVID-19 case numbers across Tufts’ campuses, most students were able to remain on campus for the entire academic year.
The summer before this academic year saw supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement fight for racial justice alongside national calls to defund the police. This sparked action and activism within the Tufts community. Students formed action groups and worked to educate our community about the systemic racism plaguing both the country and our campus. In response to these calls, the administration released a number of workstream reports that outlined ways the university could act upon its commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution. Of course, any change is predicated upon the administration’s and students’ engagement with the initial steps recommended in the reports and our willingness to engage in critical conversations beyond what is prescribed to us; without action and engagement, reports are just words on pages.
While many in our generation jokingly claim on social media that they are “sick of living through major historical events,” we have watched members of the Tufts community rise up in the face of adversity and make positive impacts on our community during the past academic year. You have campaigned and advocated for causes that you believe in, pressuring authorities both on and off our campus to meet your demands with concrete plans for change. You have given back to our host communities through volunteer work, service and mutual aid — vital action during this time of economic stress. You have pursued your personal and academic goals and contributed to fields from the humanities to the sciences to the fine arts through your research and coursework. And finally, you have made it through an academic year in the most unusual circumstances; this is something for which you should be extremely proud.
To the entire Class of 2021: Congratulations on a year well spent and an undergraduate degree well earned. The legacy you leave will be an overwhelmingly positive one. And I would like to extend a special congratulations to all of the graduating seniors who have made The Tufts Daily a part of their Tufts experience.
In particular, I would like to congratulate and thank Jess Blough, Ryan Shaffer and especially Steph Hoechst, without whom I would have never fallen in love with this paper in the way that I have, nor would I have been able to lead it this semester; your support and guidance has meant the world to me. The impact that you three especially have made on our paper is incomparable; know that you are leaving our institution in a better place than where it was when you entered.
Once again, congratulations to all and best of luck in your future endeavors. You will be missed by all, but proudly remembered.
Pax et Lux,
Editor in chief, spring 2021