March 18, 2021 - A Message from the Dean in Reaction to Atlanta-Area Shootings
Dear Fletcher Community,
Together with others across Tufts University, we are saddened and outraged by the most recent lives lost in the tragic killings yesterday in Georgia.
While the police investigation into the motive for these murders continues, the deaths of these eight people — six of whom were Asian, including five women — stand out not only for their violence, but also for the backdrop against which they occurred: an appalling increase, over the past several months, in racially motivated attacks across the country directed at those in the Asian and Asian American community.
That is why at Fletcher in our curriculum, scholarship, and activism we take seriously violence that is motivated and shaped by sexism, racism, xenophobia, and toxic masculinities. We seek to better understand and counter this violence as it manifests in individuals, institutions, and systems to ensure the well-being of all.
We grieve with the families who have lost loved ones and stand with our Asian students, faculty, and staff. We are part of a global community that strives to embody and emulate the dignity and safety of every person, on and off our campus.
If you are feeling emotionally impacted by this event, we would like to remind you that you deserve support and someone to talk to. We encourage any students who wish to seek support during this time to refer to:
- Counseling and Mental Health Service: https://students.tufts.edu/health-and-wellness/counseling-and-mental-health
- Asian American Center: https://students.tufts.edu/division-student-diversity-and-inclusion/asian-american-center
- Tufts Chaplaincy: https://chaplaincy.tufts.edu/
- Office of Student Affairs: https://fletcher.tufts.edu/contact-student-affairs
Dean Rachel Kyte
Previous Dean's Announcements
Dear Fletcher Community,
There are times when you search for the right words to elucidate a moment, or a movement, and then there are times when it only makes sense to echo the voices of others who have already done that eloquently. The U.S.’ first National Youth Poet Laureate – and the youngest poet laureate in U.S. history – Amanda Gorman summoned poignant, perfectly crafted verses that reflected on history, both recent and receded, while inspiring the nation and the world to move forward, saying “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Gorman’s now historic reading of her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden still rings in our ears and emboldens us to listen, learn, encourage, empower, and do better as we seek opportunities to celebrate and uplift our own accomplished Black community at The Fletcher School.
How are we celebrating this month?
Black Legacy Month, as it is known nationally within the United States, is a time when we, at Fletcher, want to celebrate our own – and we plan to do so on a number of fronts. This month, we will be profiling a number of our distinguished Black alumni who are now leaders in their fields with features on our website and social media channels. We’ll be sharing their stories with the hashtags #BHM and #BlackLegacyMonth – a new term coined by the Tufts Africana Center and supported within Fletcher that strives to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Black leaders around the world, past and present – and invite you to share with your friends, colleagues and networks, as well. We also invite you to share your own stories and those of impressive Fletcher alumni who inspire you, using these hashtags, and Fletcher will work to amplify your voices as we celebrate our community together.
In terms of events, Fletcher is proud to kick off Black Legacy Month by co-sponsoring the Tufts University Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium Speaker, Jelani Cobb, on February 3. Cobb will give an address entitled “Cashing Our Promissory Note: Race, Justice & Reparation," based on the powerful excerpt from the Rev. Dr. King's speech at the March on Washington in 1963. This event is open to all and we encourage you to attend.
To continue these important conversations, on February 17, at 5:30pm, Fletcher will be hosting Tufts’ Dr. Kerri Greenidge as our Black Legacy keynote presenter. Dr. Greenidge will speak on and answer questions about themes from her book “Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter,” which was a New York Times top pick for 2019. We are honored to host Dr. Greenidge who is the Director of the American Studies Program in Tufts’ Department of Studies on Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora and an expert in African-American history, American political history, and African-American and African diasporic literature in the post-emancipation and early modern era.
Throughout the month, Fletcher will be co-sponsoring a number of events in partnership with Tisch College with a diverse range of speakers whom I know will be of interest to the Fletcher community. Please keep an eye out for the announcements on myFletcher in the coming days and be sure to sign up for the opportunities to engage with these impressive, influential speakers this month. Also, continue to monitor myFletcher for future diversity, equity, and inclusion programming that will occur throughout the academic year
An update on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at Fletcher.
Following on from my message to students, faculty, and staff in April of last year and in a community discussion with alumni in June, we’ve continued to focus on how Fletcher can respond to broader issues of systemic racism that have shaped and continue to shape our world, the field of international relations, and the school itself.
One of the key follow-up actions to those conversations was to bring on a full-time, dedicated associate director for diversity, equity and inclusion at Fletcher. To that end, we are thrilled to have brought Adrian Thomas on board in November. Alongside Adrian, we are working closely with our faculty, admissions team, and Fletcher’s office of development and alumni relations to prioritize diversity and inclusion at Fletcher in, and outside of, the classroom.
Last summer, I established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Standing Committee at Fletcher, which, since its inception has met regularly to address faculty, staff, and student diversity and inclusion. In multi-faceted effort to enhance the Fletcher community, the DEI Standing Committee evaluated diversity related processes, issues, and concerns, and as a result, has created a number of working groups charged with designing and implementing faculty, staff, and student recruiting guidelines; curricular and co-curricular activities; equity and inclusion programming; and marketing and media relations.
Likewise, The Fletcher School has also taken an active role in Tufts University’s DEI initiatives. We are proud to have faculty, staff, and student representation on the campus’ anti-racist workstreams. Accordingly, we look forward to the release of the reports and recommendations that will come out of those workstreams. As a community, we will work hard to address the recommendations from the campus-wide anti-racist initiative alongside those of Fletcher’s DEI Standing Committee.
With all of this said, we know that change won’t come fast enough and that there is a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. Know that we are committed to making Fletcher a school that values a diversity of perspectives and experiences and can harness our differences to further our vision for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable world. After all, as Amanda Gorman reminded us, “we are far from polished. Far from pristine […]” but “If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.”
American democracy has bowed and bent, but it hasn't broken, yet. As the Fletcher community, we advance peace and justice. Our scholarship examines international rules-based systems and from our founding, the United States has been a necessary nation in every aspect of international affairs. Today, millions in this country have been joined by millions worldwide, glued to screens, stupefied at the Capitol's storming for the first time since the British in 1814. Allies and the NATO Secretary-General have taken to social media and diplomatic channels to underline that the U.S. electoral process must be respected. They look forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden. In recent days they have been perturbed that all living Secretaries of Defense deem it necessary to remind today's officeholders to respect their oath to uphold the Constitution. They nervously fear that the incitement to chaos domestically could be augmented by an act to provoke chaos overseas.
As I write, Congress has reconvened. But citizens of Washington, DC don't feel safe. A mélange of law enforcement from neighboring states and the District of Columbia, and the National Guard, are on the streets. And middle schoolers ask why when they sat down quietly in protest of a lack of climate action or for Black Lives Matter, they were detained, but those who stormed the Capitol today walk free? Our commitment to civic engagement is needed more than ever.
We can look to the citizens of Georgia for inspiration. Yesterday, in unprecedented numbers, across the political spectrum, Georgians turned out to vote for their candidates to the Senate and, in so doing, made history. Highly organized, ordinary citizens ignored and overcame many distractions, interferences, and obstacles and voted. They will send their first Black Senator to Washington, where he will be presided over by the first Black woman Vice President. From this we can draw hope.
Throughout the day, commentators and elected officials have stated that "this is not America" as flags of the confederacy, militias, and other groups who would challenge the Constitution rippled in the winds whipping around the Capitol. I beg to differ. The chaos at the Capitol is, sadly, part of what America has become today. But it is also the determination of millions of Georgians.
As a community, we will reflect, in classes and conversations, and our scholarship, on the ramifications of today including the U.S.'s stained reputation and its ability to promote and maintain a rules-based international order. But tonight, we need to be clear, whatever our political views, that as engaged citizens we expect elected leaders, everywhere, to uphold their Constitution and respect the institutions upon which democracy, always fragile, depends. It is just unusual that tonight we do this facing Washington and not abroad.
We take an interdisciplinary approach to study. At Fletcher, every degree, including our newest fast-tracked Master in Global Affairs, sets you up for success in a world confronted by complex challenges. At Fletcher, we give you the tools and the training for you to apply your talent to creating the solutions that will be required to shape a positive path for the future.
Upon graduation, you can expect to have the unique understanding that can only be gained from a Fletcher education: a holistic perspective that ties together the nuances of policy, diplomacy, business, law, science, finance, economics and makes you an effective leader and a powerful force for change – whether in your society, your business or organization, on the world stage.
And it’s precisely those skills that put Fletcher grads at the top of the pile for employers seeking experts in global affairs. In fact, 95% of Fletcher graduates are employed in their area of expertise within six months of graduation. Our famously strong alumni network is the proof in the pudding: Fletcher’s unparalleled reputation for preparing the world’s leaders across the gamut of fields of study in global affairs means you’re likely to find a Fletcher alum in any part of government or any organization operating internationally and shaping the future.
In addition to our fast-tracked MGA, we offer degrees for every ambition, spanning our esteemed Master of Law and Diplomacy (MALD), Master of International Business (MIB), Master of Laws in International Law (LL.M.), Masters of Arts in Transatlantic Affairs (MATA), M.S. in Cybersecurity and Public Policy (CSPP), and Ph.D. programs in International Relations and Economics & Public Policy.
Come get to know us better. The tight-knit Fletcher community is built by people like you. Ambitious, thoughtful, creative, and unrelenting in your desire to be global changemakers. The world needs you now more than ever.
We can’t wait for you to join us.
I am writing to announce a change to Fletcher’s foreign language proficiency requirement. This change in policy reflects the fluid and diverse nature of career paths that Fletcher students and alumni pursue and which the job market demands. The new policy empowers students to evaluate whether demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English will be beneficial to their course of study and in their chosen careers. It is my hope that Fletcher students see this as a further means to tailor their educational journeys to best suit their individual career paths. For many, that will still mean that demonstrating proficiency in a second language adds a necessary tool to their toolkit. Others may choose to include a foreign language into their studies for the added value that having linguistic and cultural competency shows to future employers. These are choices of which we are fully supportive and the School will continue to offer the opportunity to demonstrate these competencies.
Effective immediately, Fletcher students will no longer be required to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English and, instead, will have the option to demonstrate foreign language proficiency. Students who choose and successfully complete this option will have their passing results noted on their Fletcher transcript.
This policy change will apply as follows:
Current students: Regardless of anticipated graduation date, no current student will be required to demonstrate foreign language proficiency in order to graduate. Students who opt to take the language proficiency exams will have their positive results noted on their Fletcher transcript.
Incoming students: No incoming student who begins a degree in September 2020, or going forward, will be required to demonstrate foreign language proficiency in order to graduate. Those whose admission was conditioned upon language study will have that condition lifted. Students who opt to take the language proficiency exams will have their positive results noted on their Fletcher transcript.
Students with only the language requirement left to fulfill: Those students who completed all degree requirements except for the language portion, in or after December 2019, will no longer be required to complete the language exams and will be eligible to receive their degrees.
Former students: Those who completed all requirements except for the foreign language requirement before December 2019 will be eligible to receive their degrees. They will be informed of the process for receiving their diplomas in a forthcoming communication.
We understand that this change in policy may raise additional questions specific to your situation and we encourage you to refer to our list of Frequently Asked Questions and reach out to Jillian DeStone at Jillian.DeStone@tufts.edu if you need any support in understanding how this new policy will affect you.
June 3, 2020
Fletcher is angry and grieving. Our Black and minority students, staff, and faculty are angry and grieving, and so we as a community are angry and grieving. We are a community that is deeply invested in furthering human rights, diversity, and justice. The systemic racism and racist violence in the US that has been laid bare, once again, by the murder of George Floyd is inimical to these values. We are a school of law and diplomacy, and as such, we call for an end to the illegal measures taken to prevent people from gathering and protesting peacefully and to the police aggression that targets Black citizens rather than protect them.
Fletcher is a school founded at a time when racism, xenophobia, and hatred were unleashed in the aftermath of economic uncertainty. We must recognize the danger of this moment, when the rule of law is used to protect some and not all, when economic inequality is the highest since the founding of the country, and when the structures of society prevent many from accessing adequate education, affordable healthcare, and livable incomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this injury, with people of color disproportionately falling ill and dying, and bearing the brunt of mounting unemployment and the economic downturn.
We must turn our anger and grief into a determination to listen, learn, and act.
We will intensify the work already begun on a thorough review of all courses and syllabi to ensure diversity of scholarship and experience in international relations. We will deepen our support to the student-led Decolonization of International Relations Conferences, we will step-up the diversification of our faculty, staff and student body and we will systematically examine the impact of Fletcher's policies and procedures on minorities within our community. We will use this summer to deepen our planning across these priorities.
We will not be silent, and we cannot stand by. We encourage those within our community, near and far, to support organizations, especially people of color-led groups working to address racism, bigotry, and inequality. There are many worthy organizations, including: The Bail Project (and locally here), Color of Change, Showing Up For Racial Justice, and Equal Justice Initiative.