Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senator Tomas Garcia, a junior, has introduced a project in the Senate for a resolution that would encourage the university to provide an alternative to its off−campus noise violation fines, designed to help students who are facing financial difficulty or who receive financial aid from the university.
Garcia, who is also the chair of the Senate’s Student Outreach Committee, said he will work this weekend with a group of senators to draft a resolution on which the Senate will vote.
The Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) currently issues a fine of $300 to residents of off−campus housing who violate local noise ordinances, regardless of their financial situation.
Garcia said he based his proposal on the economic feasibility of paying fines for people who are financially strained.
“I wanted to create an opportunity for students to have an alternative option for paying their noise violation fines,” he said.
“I studied social class structure relating to economics, and the situation of the noise violation fines at Tufts is similar to people paying speeding tickets,” Garcia continued. “The wealthy are easily able to pay the speeding ticket, but the situation is financially different for other people.”
A drafted resolution, if passed in the Senate, would call for the university to allow students who receive financial aid or who are otherwise financially restricted to have the option of completing community service hours rather than paying a fine for noise violations at their house.
Students would be able to complete community service hours in an organization of their choice serving the Medford and Somerville communities, serving one hour for every ten dollars they have acquired in fines.
Garcia said he aims to bring a sense of fairness in the way the university handles noise violations in the case of students who are unable to pay the fine.
Senator Yulia Korovikov, a sophomore, agreed that a new system would benefit students for whom the fine poses financial problems.
“The new legislation is great in that it will allow students to pay their fines by completing independent community service hours equivalent to the fine,” she said.
Senator Christie Maciejewski, a freshman, echoed Korovikov’s enthusiasm.
“The legislation definitely makes sense in offering students an alternative option to pay the fines with community service,” Maciejewski said.
The university last semester increased the fine imposed on off−campus houses that violate the local noise levels ordinances from $200 to $300. The increase was a result of meetings last summer between the administration and Medford and Somerville residents who complained about excessively loud student parties.
In addition to the university fee, student residences are subject to additional payments for noise violations from the Medford and Somerville Police Departments.
Judicial Affairs Officer Veronica Carter and a group of senators are also helping to develop the resolution, Garcia said.
Garcia added that he is optimistic that the resolution will pass in the Senate and receive support from the university.