January 6, 2021 – A Day to go Down in History.
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.
Previous Dean's Announcements
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.