Working Group on TUPD Arming Final Report

Message from Michael W. Howard, Executive Vice President and Chair, Working Group on TUPD Arming

Dear members of the Tufts University community,

I am pleased to announce the release of the final report of the Working Group on TUPD Arming (WGTA). This report is the culmination of almost a year of extensive work undertaken by a group of dedicated faculty, staff, and students representing the diversity and complexity of the Tufts community. I invite you to read more about the working group’s efforts and the final report on Tufts Now.

This group, which I was honored to chair, was established on the recommendation of the Working Group on Campus Safety and Policing (WGCSP), one of five workstreams within the Tufts University as an Anti-Racist Institution strategic initiative, to study the issue of the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) arming.

Between April 2021 and February 2022, the WGTA met regularly to collect and analyze data, discuss findings, and develop recommendations. With the assistance of Margolis Healy and Associates, a leading national campus safety consultancy, the group reviewed the current TUPD organization and operations, conducted an in-depth analysis of more than 150,000 calls for service within the last several years, and engaged with community members through a university-wide survey, forums, and focus groups.

Based on its findings, which revealed a wide range of views on university arming, the group is recommending a hybrid model with differential response. In this model, the Department of Public Safety will employ a mix of armed officers and unarmed security professionals. This will enable Public Safety to choose the best option for responding to calls for service given the situation. This approach will result in fewer interactions between community members and armed officers, supporting the psychological and emotional well-being of our community and reducing potential trauma.

I am proud of the group's thoughtful and thorough approach to this important work and its commitment to meeting the safety needs of the entire university while also helping Tufts achieve its goal of becoming an anti-racist institution. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to community members who provided their invaluable feedback throughout the process and to the Public Safety employees who will work with Executive Director of Public Safety Yolanda Smith to implement this important change over the coming 12-24 months.

With best wishes,

Michael W. Howard
Executive Vice President
Chair, Working Group on TUPD Arming