March 3, 2021
VIA EMAIL: (Anthony.Monaco@tufts.edu)
Dr. Anthony P. Monaco, M.D., Ph.D.
Office of the President
Ballou Hall, 2nd Floor
Medford, Massachusetts 02155
Dear President Monaco,
We write to you on behalf of the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism, divisions of StandWithUs, an international, non-profit Israel education organization. We are relieved to learn that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-affiliated students withdrew their baseless complaint against Max Price, a third-year student who stood up to antisemitism by opposing language in SJP’s bigoted and misinformed “Deadly Exchange” referendum. We write to you today with suggestions in case such incidents occur again at Tufts.
When student leaders overstep their mission and violate campus policies in the name of student government autonomy, campus administrators must have protocols in place to prevent such abuse and restore an equitable campus environment. Absent administrative measures designed to protect students from this harm, student leaders may misuse their authority in campaigns designed to silence, intimidate, and retaliate against those with differing viewpoints. Such unchecked student government authority unfortunately gives the appearance—intentionally or not—that the university approves the abusive conduct because the student government acts as an extension of the university itself. We therefore encourage you to enact a new administrative policy that enables your administration to review student government actions should their actions violate university policies.
For instance, Williams College, a peer institution of Tufts, had administrative protocols in place designed to upend student government abuse when it occurred there in 2019. In that case, the student council denied formal student organizational recognition to a pro-Israel student group despite their meeting all council requirements. This student government action constituted flagrant violations of the student council’s authority to recognize student groups, the university’s non-discrimination statement, and the university’s student code of conduct. This situation, much like Mr. Price’s scheduled student government hearing, was decidedly a student matter. It was also antisemitism perpetrated by a student government and harming other students through discriminatory conduct. Thus, Williams College administration looked for school policy that granted them authority to correct the injustice. The administration stepped in and corrected the violations of university policy: they reversed their student leaders’ discriminatory action and officially recognized the club through powers provided to the administration in school policy.
The Williams College administration’s willingness to step in to rectify the situation when the student government proved itself incapable of self-regulating its own discriminatory agenda indicates the importance of administrative action when self-governance runs amok in violation of school policies.
Considering Mr. Price’s ongoing situation and the threat of future harm to Jewish, Israeli, and Zionist students on your campus, we urge your administration to take action against this surge of antisemitism. We suggest you enact protocols allowing the administration to act when student government violates university policies through discrimination and bigotry. Doing so will send a strong message that no one individual or group is above following school policies, and that discrimination and harassment have no place at Tufts University.
Thank you for your continued attention to this important matter. We are happy to help in drafting such policy or in any other way that may be helpful. We look forward to your response.
CEO & Co-Founder
StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism
StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department