TCU Senate Update

In its second meeting of the academic year, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate allocated funds to several student organizations and approved a resolution supporting a pay model for part-time faculty, which would mimic how full-time lecturers are paid.

The resolution, which is specific to part-time faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences, lays out a three-year timetable in which part-time faculty would earn the same per class wages by 2017 that full-time lecturers currently make. Most part-time faculty have not received an increase in wages since Tufts froze all faculty incomes in 2008.

“We really would like to see Tufts bring its practices in line with its stated values,” Lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages Andrew Klatt, a part-time faculty member of Spanish, said. The passage of the resolution was “a real success in our bargaining progress.”

Several senators raised concerns about the resolution, including its effect on already rising tuition costs. While one of the resolution writers, Daniel Weaver, a sophomore, expects the wage increases would cost $1.5 million, he said it would be possible to reallocate existing funds to pay for the difference.

“Tufts 100 percent is able to implement a pay-parity mechanism,” Weaver, a member of Tufts Labor Coalition, said. “This isn’t something that will sky-rocket tuition. Tuition is rising already, and Tufts has reduced [part-time faculty] wages.”

Preceding the resolution’s approval, TCU President Robert Joseph delivered a State of the TCU speech in which he spoke about Tufts’ handling of campus sexual assault cases and the resulting protest, off- and on-campus housing for upperclassmen, the ongoing searches for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering deans, as well as the college’s Student Affairs Pluralism Initiatives.

“The scars of historical marginalization are joined by fresh wounds,” Joseph said. Senate should “create coalitions of students to tackle the many issues laid out in this speech.”

TCU Treasurer Adam Kochman, a junior, also delivered a State of the TCU Treasury speech, in which he said that the body has retained a $280,000 surplus from last academic year after allocating more than $1.8 million to myriad student groups. However, TCU Senate is operating this year with a smaller supplemental budget than in years past, according to Kochman.

Following Kochman’s address, TCU Senate voted to allocate money to each of the eight organizations that requested funding. While Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had initially requested $2,580 to host the organization’s national conference at Tufts, the national chapter later indicated that Tufts’ SJP would be responsible for funding all keynote speakers’ travel and lodging costs. Subsequently, SJP appealed to the TCU Senate to increase their allocation.

Although conference attendees pay a $25 registration fee, that cost just covers participants’ meals during the Oct. 24-26 conference, which is estimated to attract approximately 350 SJP members from across the country, senior Dylan Saba said. While senators questioned some of the additional requests, including a $100 allocation for a speaker’s taxi ride and a $500 speaker fee, the body ultimately approved a $5,880 allocation.

Other allocations include Tufts Mock Trial, which received $7,527.90 to attend a competition in California, the Korean Students Association, which received $1,251, Spirit of Color, which received $535 for a Boston competition, the ENVY Step Team, which received $2,446.85 for a Chicago-based completion and the International Club, which received $570 for bonding events. Tufts Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists and Tufts Podcast Network, which had missed the spring deadline, submitted and received allocations of $2,750 and $743.03, respectively, for their 2015 fiscal year budget.

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