Dean Kyte: “We will not be silent and we cannot stand by”

It’s been a heartbreaking week in the United States. I thought it worth sharing Dean Kyte’s recent statement in its entirety. It’s also available on the website, and interested readers can also read Tufts President Monaco’s recent statement here.

The Fletcher School is angry and grieving. Our Black and minority students, staff, and faculty are angry and grieving, and so we as a community are angry and grieving. We are a community that is deeply invested in furthering human rights, diversity, and justice. The systemic racism and racist violence in the US that has been laid bare, once again, by the murder of George Floyd is inimical to these values. We are a school of law and diplomacy, and as such, we call for an end to the illegal measures taken to prevent people from gathering and protesting peacefully and to the police aggression that targets Black citizens rather than protect them.

Fletcher is a school founded at a time when racism, xenophobia, and hatred were unleashed in the aftermath of economic uncertainty. We must recognize the danger of this moment, when the rule of law is used to protect some and not all, when economic inequality is the highest since the founding of the country, and when the structures of society prevent many from accessing adequate education, affordable healthcare, and livable incomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this injury, with people of color disproportionately falling ill and dying, and bearing the brunt of mounting unemployment and the economic downturn.

We must turn our anger and grief into a determination to listen, learn, and act.

We will intensify the work already begun on a thorough review of all courses and syllabi to ensure diversity of scholarship and experience in international relations. We will deepen our support to the student-led Decolonization of International Relations Conferences, we will step-up the diversification of our faculty, staff and student body and we will systematically examine the impact of Fletcher’s policies and procedures on minorities within our community. We will use this summer to deepen our planning across these priorities.

We will not be silent, and we cannot stand by. We encourage those within our community, near and far, to support organizations, especially people of color-led groups working to address racism, bigotry, and inequality. There are many worthy organizations, including: The Bail Project (and locally here), Color of Change, Showing Up For Racial Justice, and Equal Justice Initiative.

Rachel Kyte CMG

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