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Tufts investigates social media post allegedly showing student in blackface

People seen outside on an academic quad at Tufts University, where an investigation has been launched into a student posting a photo of herself in blackface to social media.Emily Zilm for Tufts University

A Tufts University student allegedly posted a photo of herself in blackface to social media, drawing condemnation from the school’s president on Thursday and an investigation into the matter, according to the university.

In a statement, Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco said the school received reports that a student recently posted a photo of herself in blackface to Instagram.

“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.”

He continued, “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.”


Monaco said the school is investigating the incident through its Office of Equal Opportunity and will “ensure that appropriate disciplinary processes are followed for violations” of school policy.

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Depending on the outcome of the investigation, “there are a range of possible disciplinary measures,” said Tufts spokesman Patrick Collins in an e-mail Thursday evening.

“It would be premature for us to speculate on what they might be,” he said.

The university did not disclose the identity of the student on Thursday.

According to Collins, the university held a meeting Thursday afternoon “so that community members could come together and begin a dialogue, find support, and connect with resources immediately in the aftermath of this incident.”

He said, “It’s the beginning of a community response, and we will be working to create ongoing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to come together and discuss how our community should move forward.”

Earlier this month, two University of Oklahoma students voluntarily withdrew from that school after one appeared in a video posted on social media wearing blackface and using a racial epithet.


At Norton’s Wheaton College in 2017, the school’s president denounced a female soccer player for wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume and punished her and her teammates by barring them from playing a game, which effectively ended their season.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.