Tufts President Responds to FIRE in ‘Cox’ Case

By on May 10, 2012

Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco has replied to FIRE’s letter of May 2 regarding the suspension of several members of the Tufts men’s crew team due to their "check out our cox" T-shirts. In an email to FIRE, Monaco states that the Tufts administration (at least from the decanal level or above) did not pressure the coaching staff to take action. If we learn any new, credible information to the contrary, we will report it.

President Monaco also wrote: 

I can assure you that our coaches share with Tufts University and me a strong commitment to the principle of freedom of expression. 

President Monaco’s email refers us to his letter to the team, in which he acknowledges Tufts’ "commitment to an environment that supports free expression." As I wrote last week:

Tufts’ pattern of violating its free speech promises could finally end under President Monaco. I look forward to the possibility of working with him to restore Tufts’ reputation. 

If all of this means that President Monaco is ready to get Tufts off of our Red Alert list (where it currently belongs due to Tufts’ determination that certain examples of student parody and satire were punishable expression), we would be very pleased to work to make it happen.

Here is the email in full:

From: Anthony P. Monaco
Date: Fri, May 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM
Subject: Your Letter of May 2
To: adam@thefire.org
Cc: "Reitman, Bruce" , "Golia, Joseph" , "Caldwell, Gary" , "Monaco, Anthony"

Dear Mr. Kissel:

Thank you for your letter of May 2. 

I wanted to share with you a letter I wrote to the members of our men’s crew team yesterday; a copy of the letter is available at: http://president.tufts.edu/2012/05/letter-to-mens-crew-team/  I can confirm that the decision regarding the team’s suspension was made, appropriately, at the programmatic level by the coaching staff; it did not reflect pressure from a dean or other senior administrators, nor was it an attempt to forestall administrative action.

I can assure you that our coaches share with Tufts University and me a strong commitment to the principle of freedom of expression.

Best wishes,

Anthony P. Monaco
President
Tufts University

Schools: Tufts University Cases: Tufts University: ‘Cox’ T-shirt