To: President Anthony P. Monaco
President Anthony P. Monaco
Office of the President
Ballou Hall, 2nd Floor
Medford, MA 02155
April 2, 2015
Dear President Monaco,
We are 21 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people who are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of Jewish students at Tufts University.
We are troubled by the reports of at least one swastika, and possibly several, that were painted on vehicles early Saturday morning, March 29, 2015, outside the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity. This is the fourth antisemitic incident at Tufts University in less than two years (April 2013, June 2014, December 2014 and March 2015).
These antisemitic acts often follow anti-Israel BDS campaigns and other anti-Israel activity, such as the Students for Justice in Palestine-sponsored “Israel Apartheid Week” earlier in the month, which included a panel with Tufts faculty members.
Campus antisemitism is a serious and growing problem. A recent study published by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law reveals that 54% of Jewish American college and university students report experiencing or witnessing antisemitism on campus in the recent school year. The research reveals that this is a much more widespread problem than most realized.
In the last year, more than 15 college and university campuses around the country have been defaced with swastikas, in each case causing particular distress to Jewish students. There have also been multiple reports of antisemitic name-calling, threats, assaults and other acts of hate and discrimination. Unfortunately students report to us that they often feel university leaders do not take their complaints seriously.
We encourage you to take the following steps immediately to deter future acts of anti-Jewish bigotry and demonstrate unequivocally your commitment to protecting Jewish students and all students on your campus:
- Swiftly, forcefully and publicly acknowledge that swastika graffiti is an act of antisemitism and will not be tolerated on campus.
- On June 12, 2014 you issued such a public statement, which is commendable. However, in December of 2014 and yet again this month when swastikas appeared at Tufts University, you have not, to our knowledge, issued a public statement. We ask that you remain committed to addressing antisemitism at each and every occurrence.
- Publicly affirm that you are investigating this incident, and all future incidents of this nature, as antisemitic hate crimes.
- We understand that campus police are currently investigating; however, we reiterate the importance of your issuing a public statement condemning this incident.
- Publicly commit to educating University staff, including campus police, in identifying antisemitism and antisemitic hate crimes.
- Formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism to fully and accurately identify all future acts of hate toward Jews.
- Allocate resources and publicly commit to educating students about antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination.
Taking these steps will show your students, their parents, Tufts University alumni, and the larger community that Tufts University stands firmly against bigotry and hatred, including antisemitism, and will protect all members of the campus community.
Please keep us informed as to how you respond to this recent act of hate. We await your response and look forward to working with you to protect Jewish students.
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
BEAR: Bias Education, Advocacy & Resources
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Iranian American Jewish Federation
Israeli-American Council (IAC)
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN)
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
Students Supporting Israel
The Israel Group
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Zionist Organization of America
Cc: Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris
Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon
Dean of Campus Life Bruce Reitman