A Tufts Admissions Scandal

Tufts’ Dean of Admissions for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering is under investigation for alleged racial discrimination (photo credit: Jellymuffin40).

Trouble is brewing in the Tufts admissions office. Apparently, Joseph “JT” Duck, Tufts’ Dean of Admissions for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, is being investigated for alleged discrimination against former Tufts admissions staffers. Duck, the former director of admissions at Swarthmore college who assumed leadership of Tufts’ admissions office in 2019, is now the subject, along with some other Tufts admissions leaders, of a Tufts internal investigation — one led by an external law firm. So what exactly did Dean Duck allegedly do?

As Liam Knox reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Admissions Dean Under Investigation for Alleged Discrimination,” “Duck…has been the subject of multiple complaints from current and former employees—including allegations of racial discrimination, sexism and creating a ‘toxic’ workplace environment…A former Tufts admissions office employee…acknowledged filing two formal discrimination complaints against Duck and making several other informal complaints about other admissions office leaders. The former employee, who left earlier this year after well over a decade at the university, said colleagues had voiced similar complaints about alleged discrimination in the office. The employee said that under Duck’s leadership, the admissions office has suffered from high turnover—22 employees left since his arrival, according to the Daily—and ‘lost a lot of talent.'”

And it gets worse. As Knox reports, “The employee, who is Black, also alleged that Duck played favorites with white male employees, promoting some with pay raises over Black women who had worked there longer or were more qualified. The employee also said that Duck repeatedly ignored or dismissed complaints of microaggressions and alleged discrimination against other members of the admissions office.”

The irony, of course, is surely not lost on us. The admissions process at an elite university that prides itself on diversity, on admitting classes of students of all different backgrounds, is being led by a white man who is allegedly discriminating against Black women on his own staff? As loyal readers of Ivy Coach’s college admissions blog know all too well, we’ve got a crystal ball — and it’s highly accurate. Our crystal ball hereby predicts — well in advance of the findings of the outside law firm hired by Tufts — a major shakeup at the Tufts admissions office. Dean Duck’s tenure, it seems, will soon abruptly draw to a close.


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1 Comment

  • Seth Halpern says:

    Evidently Tufts simply lacks the administrative logistics to handle an increasing influx of applicants while lately trying both to compete directly with the top Ivies (an unfamiliar challenge, to be sure) and to satisfy all manner of modern cultural whims. It sounds like Dean Duck’s response was to issue bromides and platitudes while retreating into a personal safe space.

    He must have flourished reasonably well as admissions director at Swarthmore, which has an almost identical endowment but only one quarter the undergraduate population.

    Somebody should have handed him a life preserver before throwing him into the deep end.

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