Olivia Dehm, Labor Organizer with 1199 SEIU, Peace and Justice Studies and Psychology, Class of 2017

“Peace and justice education should absolutely be studied by students in higher education and at Tufts. All too often, academic programs and our education system in the United States focus on cognitive knowledge as if it is removed from our social and emotional knowledge. Students graduate from high school and college without understanding their place as an individual in society and how to treat others and make decisions that benefit society as a whole. Immense power inequities, often created by our hyper-capitalist world, have led to the oppression of many groups. We have a duty and obligation as human beings to work to deconstruct these systems of oppression. This duty exists on a personal level and a greater societal level. We must learn how to treat others, how to cooperate and collaborate, how to value positive relationships and cultivate supportive communities, how to respect and preserve our planet, and how to create nourishing environments that place the health and joy of a society above all.

Many students and individuals are reeling with uncertainty and fear about where our world is headed; we absolutely NEED the tools and knowledge that will help to guide us make decisions and lead a meaningful life that contributes positively to the world. Education that focuses on justice and peace is nourishing and rewarding. It fills the soul with a sense of greater purpose in a world where that can be difficult to find. It also allows for the development of tools and strategies that foster problem solving and communication; peace and justice education teaches us strategies to reach and communicate with those who have differing opinions or motivators. It is undeniable that without an emphasis on developing the ability to “cross the aisle” and problem solve, our society here in the United States is headed down a troubling path.

Tufts University has the resources to decide which paths and majors flourish at Tufts, and right now they are making an active decision to starve the Peace and Justice major of resources. Although I do think that some changes need to be made to the program, I feel very, very strongly that there needs to be a genuine commitment to revive and continue the program.”

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