Tufts University: ‘Cox’ T-shirt

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Tufts University

In April 2012, members of the men’s crew team wore T-shirts at Tufts’ Spring Fling featuring a silhouette of a rowing team on a boat and the phrase “check out our cox” (referring to a boat’s coxswain). According to multiple accounts, several members were suspended from the team after a bias incident report was submitted due to the shirt’s content, two senior captains were removed from their positions, and team members had to write apology letters. The accounts reported a dean exerting disciplinary pressure on the team, stating that the shirts promoted rape and aggression toward women. Additionally, a confidential source reported to FIRE that Tufts’ rowing director ordered his assistants to choose a punishment, which he and the dean’s office would then approve. After intervention from FIRE, Tufts President Tony Monaco reinstated the suspended members of the men’s crew team in May 2012.