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Anti-Asian, anti-Semitism incidents reported at Tufts University within one week, president says

"Though we have been striving to become a more just, more equitable, and more diverse university, incidents of bias and hate such as these demonstrate that we still have far to go."

Tufts University David L Ryan/Globe Staff

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Students at Tufts University experienced two “incidents of hate” last week, one involving racist, anti-Asian remarks and the other an act of anti-Semitism, the university’s president said Sunday.

In a letter to the school’s community, President Tony Monaco wrote that several Asian students were “verbally assaulted with hateful anti-Asian rhetoric from the occupants of a passing vehicle” as they walked along Professors Row.

Monaco also wrote that members of one of the school’s sports teams found “a large swastika painted on the Bello Field shed.”

“Let me state as clearly as I can: Acts of anti-Asian hate and anti-Semitism such as these are unacceptable and violate what we stand for as a community,” Monaco wrote. “I acknowledge the significant harm that these incidents can have on the Asian and Jewish communities, respectively. All of us have a responsibility to speak out against such bigotry.”

The Tufts University Police Department is investigating both incidents, according to Monaco. It is unclear whether the perpetrators are connected to the university, he said.

Both anti-Asian and anti-Semitic acts are on the rise across the country.

Anti-Semitic incidents have spiked in recent years, with the number hitting an almost all-time high between 2015 and 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The nation has also seen a recent surge in racist acts against Asian Americans.

One study, conducted by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that hate crimes against Asian Americans jumped by 169 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same time period in 2020, based off data collected from 15 major cities.

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“Unfortunately, these anti-Asian and anti-Semitic incidents are part of a larger trend in the United States,” Monaco wrote. “Our campus has not been immune to this trend as complaints of bias to our Office of Equal Opportunity have increased significantly over the past several years. This is not acceptable.

“Though we have been striving to become a more just, more equitable, and more diverse university, incidents of bias and hate such as these demonstrate that we still have far to go,” Monaco added.

Anyone with information about either of the incidents reported at Tufts is asked to reach out to university police at 617-627-3030. Anonymous tips can be made by filing a report online.

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