June 18, 2007
Tufts University earned its Red Alert status by finding in May that The Primary Source (TPS), a conservative student newspaper, violated the school’s harassment policy by publishing two satirical articles during the past academic year. Last December, TPS published a satirical Christmas carol entitled “O Come All Ye Black Folk,” which sparked controversy on campus because it harshly lampooned race-based admissions. Despite a published apology from TPS on December 6, 2006, a Tufts student filed harassment charges against the publication in March. Similarly, other Tufts students filed harassment charges in response to TPS’ April 11, 2007 piece entitled “Islam—Arabic Translation: Submission,” a satirical advertisement ridiculing Tufts’ “Islamic Awareness Week.” The advertisement consisted of factual statements about Islam and Islamic history. The two complaints, consolidated for a hearing before the university’s Committee on Student Life, resulted in a decision holding that TPS had violated university policy.