Dear Friedman Community,
We, entrusted as senior leaders of the Friedman School, have felt encouraged by the openness and willingness of our community to engage in difficult conversations about racism, justice, and equity.
We condemn the horrific racism and injustice manifest in the oppression and murders of Black people. These are founded on systemic racism, dating back hundreds of years, that still permeates virtually every aspect of our society, including our academic institutions.
We further condemn the violence that is being inflicted by police officers, sworn to protect the public, against peaceful protestors who are exercising their constitutionally-protected right to declare that business as usual – racism as usual – is no longer acceptable.
Everyone plays a role in structural racism, wittingly or unwittingly. And all of us, in particular we as leaders, have a responsibility to dismantle this vicious structure.
These injustices call for awareness and empathy. They also call for action.
They call for our community to come together, to reaffirm our commitment to each other, and to recognize the particular pain being experienced by the Black members of the Friedman School community.
Our leadership team commits to understanding and rooting out structural bias and systemic racism at the Friedman School, and to creating a school and workplace that cultivates diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. We commit to the following actions, to monitoring progress toward each, and to transparent reporting, including an annual report from the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion:
Integrate issues of structural racism and equity into all courses in our curriculum. School leadership will work with the Curriculum and Degrees Committee to develop foundational principles for such integration into all courses requiring C&D approval, ensure that such issues are incorporated into updated courses as part of our ongoing School-wide curricular review, and measure our success with regular questionnaires and reviews of all courses annually.
Train all members of our Friedman community including our leadership team, faculty, students, and staff to actively combat racism. We will arrange for everyone to complete the initial component of the mandatory training in the coming academic year, with ongoing education and learning thereafter. These trainings will encompass a number of areas: developing a clear understanding of key concepts such as racial equity and structural racism, building an anti-racist culture, understanding implicit bias and micro-aggressions, moving from ally to accomplice in racial justice, and learning to talk about race constructively.
Foster a culture of openness and self-reflection. Open dialogue and sharing of experiences are essential. We will develop shared spaces so that everyone in the community feels heard and safe, no matter how they prefer to communicate. Our leadership team will be available to listen to all faculty, staff, students, and volunteer leaders and keep the lines of communication open for suggestions and new information on what might help achieve our goals.
Encourage all in our community to speak up if they experience or witness bias or intolerance in action. If you’re not sure what to say, start by asking, “What did you mean by that?” Listen, then respond calmly based on facts. Silence affirms or condones the action. Of course, you may also contact the Tufts University Office of Equal Opportunity for advice, assistance, or to report an incident, which may be disclosed anonymously if you choose: https://oeo.tufts.edu/reporting/. We will also create an anonymous feedback system for the School. We will ensure there is no retaliation against those who speak up, fully enforcing Office of Equal Opportunity policy.
Recruit and retain to achieve greater diversity among faculty, staff, and students, including a focus on Black, indigenous, and people of color. The School will work with the University to identify and advocate for best practice search, hiring, and retention policies and procedures that are focused on facilitating diverse applicant pools and outcomes that support a more diverse faculty and staff. We will further identify and integrate best practices for a diverse student body into the activities of our Office of Student Affairs, including development of new resources to expand recruitment, to explore the creation of pipeline programs, to expand our Service Scholars program, and to expand scholarships.
Cultivate an inclusive classroom environment. We will work with Tufts Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching to implement foundational strategies, including setting ground rules for each classroom created with involvement of the students; creating syllabi that are clear about assignments, expectations, grades, and classroom climate; obtaining regular feedback from students during the course; and providing greater agency to the learners for their educational choices.
Create an inclusive physical environment, including related to photos, posters, and other printed and electronic materials posted in public spaces at the School.
Expand focus on structural racism, diversity, and equity in our research efforts. Our sponsored research office will partner with University staff from OVPR and Office for Corporate and Foundation relations to identify and share opportunities for funding in these areas from federal, foundation, and corporate sources. The School will also provide mechanisms to help faculty navigate structural factors at different federal agencies and provide pilot grant funding for such research.
Value and reward teaching, scholarship, and service that focus on racism, disparities, and social justice. We will work with the Division Chairs, mentoring committees for faculty, committees that review faculty awards, and ATP Committee to integrate these areas of emphasis into annual review, promotion, and faculty awards processes.
Work with the University to review and, as necessary, update the Tufts Police policies on use of force.
Work with the University’s central administration to prioritize procurement from Black-owned businesses.
- Establish a process to welcome local community members to Friedman School events such as the Speaker Series.
We condemn racism in all its forms, and we commit to working together with you to tackle these issues at the Friedman School and in the world around us.
Dariush Mozaffarian, MD DrPh
Executive Administrative Dean
Edward Saltzman, MD
Sara C. Folta, PhD
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion