TCU Senate update

In a nearly four-hour meeting Sunday evening, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate passed a resolution urging the university to establish equal opportunity in admissions for undocumented students and hosted Sexual Misconduct Prevention Specialist Alexandra Donovan for a discussion on the sexual assault prevention programming that the university is developing. The TCU Senate also discussed new bylaws on formal recognition of student groups and allocated funds to several student organizations.

The Senate passed “A Resolution to Establish Equal Opportunity for Undocumented Students” 25-0-1. The resolution, which was drafted and presented by members of Tufts United for Immigrant Justice (UIJ), urges the university to “consider undocumented students as domestic students” and to establish an explicit admission and financial aid policy for undocumented applicants.

Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine, Tufts Labor Coalition, the Association of Latin American Students and Tufts Asian American Alliance attended the meeting to support the resolution. With Senate’s endorsement, UIJ will now present the resolution to the administration.

The Senate also hosted Donovan to discuss her newly appointed role as sexual misconduct prevention specialist. The position, along with the new sexual misconduct response and resource coordinator, was introduced this semester by the university’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Task Force to address the recognized need for preventative sexual misconduct programming and resources on campus. Students on the task force, however, have maintained this semester that the administration has still not taken enough substantive steps toward promoting a culture of consent.

Donovan said she plans to expand the sexual assault education program during orientation and develop a bystander intervention program for juniors and seniors, who she believes have the social capital necessary to initiate change that first-years may not. Donovan explained that although plans for such programs are still in their early stages, she plans to work with fraternities and student groups to develop tailored education programs.

The TCU Judiciary presented new bylaws and strengthened preexisting bylaws on formal recognition of student groups. Recognition allows student groups to apply for funding from the TCU Treasury, to reserve campus space and to use the Tufts name, but it is not necessary for operation.

The new bylaws differentiate between funded groups (those groups that require an annual budget for operation) and non-funded groups (those that do not), Chair of the Judiciary Becky Goldberg, a senior, explained. Unfunded groups will still be allowed to apply for supplementary funding twice a year with a $1,000 funding cap, according to Goldberg.

The current requirements for recognition are a membership of at least 15 students, proof of having hosted three events or activities, a written constitution, and one semester in existence. The new bylaws strengthen these existing qualifiers by requiring phone numbers of all members to verify active membership, defining “proof of activity” more concretely and requiring differentiation between the mission statements of student groups, according to Goldberg. The bylaws, which were drafted by and will be voted upon by the Judiciary, are in its final revisions and will take effect next semester.

The Senate voted to allocate money to each of the six organizations that requested funding and approved an appeal from Sino-U.S. Relations Group Engagement (SURGE) to increase its previous approved funding for the annual China-U.S. Symposium hosted in April. Due to a miscommunication that was the fault of both SURGE and the Allocations Board, the Senate previously approved funding for 11 speakers rather than the 18 speakers the group intends to host. The appeal to increase the budget by $350 to a total allocation of $2,764.01 in order to fund the seven additional speakers passed 20-7-0.

The Senate also approved unanimously 26-0-0 an unadjusted allocation of $25,000 to Concert Board to fund additional talent for Spring Fling. This allocation will supplement its existing $100,000 budget, according to TCU Treasurer Adam Kochman, a junior. Also passed by acclimation was an adjusted allocation of $2,964.00 to the Tufts Premedical Society to attend a medical conference, an adjusted allocation of $780.00 to the Tufts Undergraduate Research Journal and an adjusted allocation of $2,750 to sQ! to help supplement its annual winter trip.

The Senate also approved 25-1-0 an adjusted allocation of $263.96 to Tufts Tabletop Gaming Club to fund various programming and approved 24-1-1 a largely reduced allocation of $5,455 to Pulse to fund costs for an upcoming competition.

Tonight, Senate will be sponsoring its biannual Cause Dinner, in which a portion of proceeds from dinner meal swipes at Carmichael Dining Center and Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center will benefit Tufts Timmy Global Health. Other committee updates included an update from Education Committee Chair Sam Berzok, a junior, that a resolution to extend the 1+4 joint undergraduate-graduate program is being drafted, and an update from Services Committee Co-Chair Janna Karatas, a junior, that tickets for the annual Turkey Shuttle are now on sale for $5. The committee is also working to make Brown & Brew available to student groups to host events.

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