Black Students at Tufts Mount a Campus Protest Calling for an Africana Studies Major

Students on the campus of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, recently held a Black Solidarity Day Rally and marched to the university administration’s offices to present a list of demands. Among the demands of the student protesters was the formation of an independent Africana studies department.

About 60 students occupied the office of the dean of arts and sciences until administrators agreed to enter into negotiations with the students. After two hours, the students and the administration agreed on a series of initiatives. The administration agreed to hire three tenure-track faculty members to the new culture and identity program at Tufts. They also agreed that Africana studies would be the core of the new program and that the new faculty members will focus on the Africana track. The administration also stipulated that it hoped the new program would create the foundation for a major in Africana studies.

Tabias Wilson, president of the Pan-African Alliance at Tufts University who was one of the students who participated in the negotiations, told the Tufts Daily, that the days’ events were “an obituary for complacency on our campus.”

The latest U.S. Department of Education data shows that blacks make up 5 percent of the undergraduate student body at Tufts.

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