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Tufts University probing two recent anti-Asian, anti-Semitic acts of hate

Tufts University campus grounds.
Tufts University campus grounds.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file

Tufts University police are investigating two recent acts of hatred on campus, one targeting a group of Asian students and another involving anti-Semitic vandalism, school President Tony Monaco said Sunday.

Monaco confirmed the investigations in a letter to the school community posted to the official Tufts website. Both acts occurred over the past week, he said.

“In the first incident, several Asian students were walking along Professors Row when they were verbally assaulted with hateful anti-Asian rhetoric from the occupants of a passing vehicle,” Monaco wrote. “In the second incident, members of one of our athletic teams found a large swastika painted on the Bello Field shed.”


He insisted that such actions aren’t tolerated at Tufts.

Tufts University campus directory.
Tufts University campus directory.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

“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.”

Monaco added that university police are conducting investigations of both “despicable acts,” and he urged community members with relevant information to call 617-627-3030, or fill out an anonymous report via the school’s online portal. He said it’s not yet known whether the perpetrators in either case are affiliated with the university in any way.

“Unfortunately, these anti-Asian and anti-Semitic incidents are part of a larger trend in the United States,” he 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.”

Tufts, Monaco continued, has worked to make its campus more welcoming, but the recent acts of hatred show much remains to be done.


“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 wrote. “I hope you will join me in redoubling our efforts and recommitting ourselves to eliminating racist and anti-Semitic acts in our community.”

Violence against people of Asian descent has emerged as a pressing issue nationwide in recent months, after a gunman killed eight people, including six of Asian heritage, in March in and around Atlanta.

Many blame the latest wave of anti-Asian bias on Donald Trump and the xenophobic rhetoric he used to link COVID-19 to China, though discrimination against Asian people in the United States stretches back more than 100 years.

The national coalition Stop AAPI Hate received 96 reports from Massachusetts of anti-Asian hate and discrimination between March 19, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021 according to data released in March. Nationwide, the group received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian incidents during the same period, it said.

Material from the Associated Press and prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.