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The Mapping Project

Tufts University

Tufts is a private university located in Medford, MA. Tufts is deeply complicit in Israel's colonial subjugation of Palestinians, US policing and surveillance, US militarism and imperialism, US violence against Black and Brown migrants, and the displacement of working class residents (disproportionately Black and Brown) from Somerville, Medford, and other Boston area communities.

Support for Israel's colonial subjugation of Palestinians

In October 2021, The US Department of Agriculture awarded Tufts University a $10 million grant to develop cultivated meat, "in collaboration with Israeli cultivated meat companies, industrial meat production companies, and leading researchers in Israeli academia." Funding for the grant was provided through the Israel Innovation Authority's Generic Technology Research Consortium program. The grant is part of a broader Israeli state effort to positively "brand Israel" as a hub of "innovation," in an attempt to whitewash over the realities of Israel's colonial subjugation of Palestinians and theft of Palestinian land and resources. Tufts University faculty have also been among recipients of grants from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF), which aim to promote connections and collaborations between the US and Israeli scientists (see herehere, and here).

Tufts University's chapter of Hillel promotes student participation in student groups and programs which support and normalize Zionism and Israel (see: herehere, and here). Tufts Hillel also encourages Tufts students to attend "Birthright" trips to Israel, and maintains multiple exchange programs with Israeli universities. Per Tufts Hillel's website: “Students are encouraged to study in Israel for a summer, semester, or full year.”

Tufts University hosts a chapter of the TAMID Group, which was established at Tufts in 2017. The parent organization TAMID is subtitled: "Experiential Learning Through Business in Israel." TAMID describes itself in the following way: "Since our founding, TAMID Group has been apolitical and areligious. TAMID connects our students to Israel only through non-divisive means: experiential business education." TAMID regularly praises "Israeli start-up culture," and provides multiple opportunities for students to support Israel, including the TAMID Fellowship (eight-week internship in Israel for a business), TAMID Consulting (in whichstudent teams remotely solve "challenging" business problems for Israeli companies), and the TAMID Investment Fund (in which TAMID chapters from different universities participate in a competition managing investment portfolios made up of Israeli companies). TAMID Group was fully funded by the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) until March 2018. See the Tufts chapter of TAMID's Facebook page: here; See the spread of TAMID Group campus organizations across the US: here.

Tufts University has also hosted multiple organizations which support and normalize Zionism and Israel at its general career fairs for Tufts students, including New England Yachad and Masa Israel Journey.

In 2017 the Tufts Student Government voted (17-6 with 8 abstentions) in favor of a resolution calling on Tufts University to terminate its investments in Elbit Systems, G4S, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Northrop Grumman, and all other companies "involved in human rights violations, which must include the human rights violations against Palestinians, non-US-citizens in detainment and deportation proceedings, and incarcerated individuals." To date, Tufts University administration have chosen to ignore the will of the student body and have taken no action to divest the university from these companies. In 2020, the Tufts student body voted by campus-wide referendum demanding Tufts University issue an apology "for sending the former Tufts police chief to an intensive week-long course led by senior commanders in the Israel National Police, experts from Israel’s intelligence and security services, and the Israeli Defense Force" and prohibit "TUPD officers from attending programs based on military strategies and/or similar international trips in the future." The referendum passed overwhelmingly with 68% of students who voted on it voting in favor. As of 2022, Tufts University administration have chosen to ignore the will of the Tufts student body and have taken no action to honor the referendum results.

Support for militarism, prisons, policing, and surveillance in the US

Tufts directs its students into careers working for the agencies which uphold and support US militarism, prisons, policing, and surveillance.

Tufts has hosted the US Department of State, the US Army, the US Navy, the US Marine Corps, and the US Coast Guard its 2019, 2020, and 2022 general career fairs for Tufts students. Tufts also directs its students into careers with the companies who design and manufacture weapons and technologies for these and other branches of the US military: Tufts hosted General Electric, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Amazon Robotics at its 2019 general career fair for Tuft's students (see entries on General Electric, MIT Lincoln Labs, and Amazon).

Similarly, Tufts hosted the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Corrections as well as the Commonwealth of  Massachusetts Department of Corrections Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity at its 2020 general career fair for Tufts students. The Mass Department of Corrections is responsible for running MA's prison system, which disproportionately targets Black and Brown and working class MA residents (see entry on State of Mass). Tufts also hosted the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at its 2019 and 2020 general career fairs, and hosted the Middlesex District Attorney's Office at its 2020 general career fair. 

Support for US violence against migrants

Tufts University participates in Northeastern University's "DHS Center of Excellence" (COE), called "ALERT" ("Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats"), which is a consortium of nine universities and industry partners who receive grants and other support from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct "research, technology and educational development" for DHS. According to an annual report on the program, ALERT supports DHS to "quickly adapt to new research and education priorities related to the daunting mission of DHS to protect our nation from terrorist threats." ALERT includes educational programming targeted to "pre-college, undergraduate, graduate and career professional components" respectively, and includes a "High-Tech Tools and Toys Lab," "an Engineering Leadership Program focusing on Department of Homeland Security Topics," and "workshops and short courses." In 2021, NEU's "DHS Center of Excellence" (COE) won a $36 million contract from DHS to build a surveillance system called SENTRY (Soft target Engineering to Neutralize the Threat RealitY). SENTRY promises to turn schools, sporting events and city spaces into a panopticon that will "integrate elements such as crowd-scanning sensors mounted atop light poles, video feeds, cell phone traffic, aerial drone footage, and social media posts."

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the federal law enforcement responsible for carrying out the US federal government's regime of tracking, detention, and deportation of Black and Brown migrants. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are sub-agencies housed within DHS.

Complicity in displacement ('gentrification')

Tufts University occupies 150 acres of land in the Boston suburbs of Somerville and Medford. The land Tufts owns along with the structures built upon it are collectively valued at $853 million (see: MassGIS statewide parcels dataset, 2021). Wickedlocal reported in 2021 that through its participation in PILOT (Payment in Lieu of taxes) programs with the cities of Somerville and Medford, Tufts currently pays only $450,000 ("in lieu of taxes") to Somerville and Medford respectively each year. Were Tufts University to pay the equivalent of residential property tax rates on the real estate it currently occupies, the university would have to pay $4.2 million dollars to the city of Somerville alone. In addition to gobbling up land while paying only a fraction of normal tax rates into city budgets, Tufts University attracts students, faculty, and researchers into the area who are, on average, wealthier and whiter than pre-existing residents. Together with the land it occupies, these transplants Tufts attracts contribute to the ongoing rise of local housing, rental, and living costs which is leaving many Somerville and Medford residents increasingly unable to afford to remain in the neighborhoods they have called home for years if not decades.

419 Boston Ave, Medford, MA 02155

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