by Julie Kurtz
The events of Tuesday, November 28 that culminated in Anthony Scaramucci’s resignation from the Fletcher School’s Advisory Board prompted a letter of solidarity for Fletcher from the Friedman Justice League. It also left graduate students across Tufts University campuses feeling contemplative about the kind of impact and influence we have the power to wield—both as individuals and as representatives of this anchor institution where we’ve made our academic homes. AFE/MPH student Julie Kurtz sent the Friedman Sprout a short reflection in response to the actions of our friends at Fletcher. In it, she offers some perspective on why we’re here, what justice means, and how we can contribute to the world around us.
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein
Written Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Today, Anthony Scaramucci resigned from his position on the Advisory Board for Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a position he has held since 2016. Anthony who? Yes, that Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired after 10 short days as White House Communications Director, mostly due to his profane language over a phone call with a reporter.
This morning in our Determinants of US Food Policy course, professor Parke Wilde asked us: What does justice mean? How would you define justice for our field? I wrote down a number of the thoughtful responses of my classmates: Justice—Equality in opportunity; Justice—When harm to others is fairly shared by all people across race, ethnicity, gender, etc.; Justice—values stemming from philosophical traditions, faith traditions, legal traditions.” And though it didn’t come up this morning, after Scaramucci’s resignation today, I want to add one more definition to justice: Justice is paying attention, and taking the time to say something.
That is what Fletcher students Carter Banker and Camilo Caballero did this past month. They didn’t know, then, that beginning a petition for Scaramucci’s removal from the Advisory Board and writing an op-ed for The Tufts Daily would result in personal threatening emails, harassment on social media, and facing a lawsuit from Scaramucci. They were just paying attention. And taking the time to say something.
No doubt Caballero and Banker will accomplish plenty in their Tufts careers and vocations to follow. But perhaps one of their important contributions to law and diplomacy during their tenure as grad students will be outside of academia. Many who signed the petition Carter issued questioned how a man of Scaramucci’s character and poor judgment might impact the school. The time they spent voicing their concerns ultimately made an impact. It’s a good reminder to us, while buried in finals week, that some of the most important contributions we make may occur when we pick our heads up out of our work, and respond to the world around us.
Julie Kurtz is an AFE/MPH dual degree student and active member with the Friedman Justice League.