Administrators address TCU Senate, encourage engagement

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate had a full schedule at its meeting last night: they met with three administrators, held elections for the Allocations Board (ALBO) and tackled supplementary funding requests.

TCU President Brian Tesser, a senior, opened the floor for three administrators who attended the meeting to discuss future opportunities for collaboration with Senate.

Director of the Office for Campus Life (OCL) Joe Golia spoke about his role as the point person between student organizations and the operations of the Mayer Campus Center. Golia, citing his eight-year tenure and experience at Tufts, encouraged members of Senate to reach out to him and ask for help.

He said that the Senate’s community projects, which often take years to implement, are valuable to the Tufts community, and he asked the Senate to continue brainstorming project ideas.

“Keep working on it. It may not happen until you graduate, but keep working on it because things do take time, especially the things you want to see changed,” Golia said. “But I have seen many projects that people start, and once they graduate, are carried on by the next class, so these projects may still have life after you leave, and may happen eventually.”

Christopher Rossi, assistant dean of Student Affairs, then discussed his role as the point of contact for first-year students who wish to connect with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.

Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon took the floor after Rossi and said that she strongly encouraged all members of Senate to work together with her office to improve the engagement of the student community.

McMahon echoed the two previous administrators’ calls for active participation and cooperation between Senate members and the administration.

After the administrators spoke, Chair of the Elections Commission Paige Newman, a senior, facilitated an election to fill vacancies on Allocations Board (ALBO), where two out of the seven eligible nominees of the first-year senators were selected. After a fully body vote, first-years Chris Leaverton and Rayane Haddar were elected as the new ALBO members. A secondary election was conducted, in which Leaverton was voted Assistant Treasurer of Senate.

TCU Treasurer Shai Slotky, a junior, presented the supplementary funding requests for the first time this year in front of a full body Senate.

The Senate approved funding of $3,297.26 for Tufts Quidditch, $540 for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), $4,392.74 for the Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES) and $266 for Spirit of Color. Senate voted to break its policy on a set radius for student group travel and approve travel funding of $540 for Active Minds at Tufts. The location of Active Mind’s intended travel — Irvine, California — is beyond the “radius of 500 miles south of Boston, 300 miles north of Boston, and 1000 miles west of Boston,” according to the Treasury Procedures Manual (TPM).

ALBO and Senate spent the majority of the Treasury report debating the funding requests of Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) and Tufts Financial Group (TFG). According to the TPM, the number of students funded for a non-competition event such as a conference is limited to six members of an organization, and only in extraordinary circumstances will more members be permitted to attend.

TCU members debated whether MAPS’ request for funding for the registration fee at a conference at Yale University merited an extraordinary circumstance, eventually voting 17-12-0 to fund the group in the amount of $478.28.

Senate then took up a debate about TFG’s funding request for $1,100. Some members of Senate believed that the group’s networking conference benefited only a few students, and others believed that Senate needed to maintain consistency in voting after funding the MAPS networking conference. After an initial vote of 10-16-3 to overturn ALBO’s original recommended amount of $600, the Senate then re-voted 17-11-0 to approve a lowered amount of $500.

At the conclusion of the supplementary funding requests, Tesser reminded Senate of the open Community Outreach Liaison position. He explained that the liaison position, which is intended as a point of contact between Tufts and the host communities of Medford and Somerville, is important, and he encouraged members to apply.

Tesser then referenced the newly formed Residential Strategies Working Group (RSWG), a university-wide committee that will represent Tufts students in issues of housing. According to Tesser, the university committee will include four members of Senate, who will work with administrators to deal with the fundamental residential issues of on-campus housing, off-campus housing and the residential life experience.

Tesser explained that the administration has taken notice of the issues surrounding housing and residential life. He encouraged all Senate members to join a separate new ad-hoc committee that will work with the Senate representatives from RSWG to list all the housing issues brought forward by students.

TCU Vice President Gauri Seth then concluded the meeting by reminding the Senate of committee meeting times and the pending application process of the Student Faculty Committees.

Seth, a junior, echoed Golia’s earlier statements, saying that continuing community projects were important, despite the long processes that come with them.