David Ross Responds to Tufts
August 31, 2007
by Luke Sheahan
With the elimination of the sanction, the harassment finding has no effect. In essence, it is reduced to the expression of an opinion by the members of a student faculty committee that no longer has any jurisdiction to hear similar cases in the future. The finding does not represent the official position of the university.
[T]he fact remains that The Primary Source was found guilty of harassment by the Tufts Committee on Student Life, which was acting in an official capacity at the time. I infer that they were acting in an official capacity from the fact that the report of the outcome of their hearing carries the Tufts official insignia on its front page. I have attached a copy of this report as a PDF. Given the fact that Tufts has decided—rightly—that the harassment finding was wrong (and it really was dead wrong, check out the U.S. Office for Civil Rights official position on this topic at http://www.thefire.org/pdfs/5046_3487.pdf), you owe it to the public, and to your own honor and that of Tufts, to publicly retract the harassment finding.You write that the finding “has no effect.” But this is wrong; it has had a large effect on The Primary Source, a modest one on the rest of the Tufts community, and a small one on our society generally. You write that “[t]he finding does not represent the official position of the university.” That’s good, of course. But the mistaken harassment finding was the official position of the university at the time it was made.To finish the good job you’ve started, President Bacow, you need to declare publicly and unequivocally what is implicit in your actions and your statements: The Primary Source was not guilty of harassment, Tufts recognizes them as innocent of harassment contrary to the finding of the Committee on Student Life.