‘I condemn this behavior in the most unambiguous terms possible’: Tufts president responds to alleged blackface incident

"Racist expressions such as these are profoundly offensive and deeply hurtful," Tufts President Tony Monaco said.

People outside on the academic quad at Tufts.
People outside on Tufts' academic quad in 2011. –Emily Zilm for Tufts University, File

Tufts University has launched an investigation after a student reportedly posted a photo of herself in blackface on Instagram recently, university President Tony Monaco said in a letter to the community Thursday. 

“Blackface has a long history of being used to demean, belittle, and objectify people of color in the United States and worldwide,” Monaco said. “I condemn this behavior in the most unambiguous terms possible. Racist expressions such as these are profoundly offensive and deeply hurtful. They contradict our values as a welcoming and inclusive community, and have no place at Tufts.”

The university’s Office of Equal Opportunity is investigating, and the president said “appropriate disciplinary processes” will be followed for violations of Tufts’ policy.

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Read Monaco’s full letter:

Dear members of the Tufts community:

We have received reports that a Tufts University student recently posted a photo of herself in blackface on Instagram. Blackface has a long history of being used to demean, belittle, and objectify people of color in the United States and worldwide. I condemn this behavior in the most unambiguous terms possible. Racist expressions such as these are profoundly offensive and deeply hurtful. They contradict our values as a welcoming and inclusive community, and have no place at Tufts. We are fully investigating this incident through our Office of Equal Opportunity and will ensure that appropriate disciplinary processes are followed for violations of University policy. We will be sharing information with students, faculty, and staff about opportunities for community discussion and the resources we will be making available in response. I hope that in the wake of this unacceptable incident we can all work together to build a stronger Tufts community.

Sincerely,

Tony Monaco