Tesser delivers State of TCU, calls for further change to university policy

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate began last night’s meeting with State of the TCU speeches delivered by President Brian Tesser, Treasurer Shai Slotky and the Diversity and Community Affairs (DCA) Officer Anna Del Castillo.

Tesser, a senior, opened the floor by reflecting on his experiences as member of Senate, recalling some of the changes implemented by Senate since his first year at Tufts. He said that Senate should continue to create change on campus, especially regarding issues involving sexual misconduct, alcohol policy and the Late Night Dining program.

The president also addressed new challenges facing Senate — mainly, the state of housing on and off campus.

Tesser expressed concerns about a lack of support for students looking to find off campus housing, the lack of sufficient on-campus housing and the quality of the whole housing experience.

Slotky, a junior, then took the floor to give the State of the Treasury address. He began by thanking his colleagues in the Treasury and on the Allocations Board (ALBO).

Slotky spoke about the various changes made to the Treasury Procedures Manual (TPM) for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, elaborating specifically on the controversial travel policy change. Last semester, the Senate chose to remove off-campus travel funding from its budget. Slotky asked Senate members to individually scrutinize the TPM and to think critically and deeply about the various policies.

Slotky also urged all Senate members to help out students who are confused about the intricate fiscal policies of student funding. He acknowledged the unease that some students feel about approaching Senate for supplementary funding, but said that it was important for Senate to help students, emphasizing equal chance and equal opportunity.

The third speaker, Del Castillo, a sophomore, took the floor and began her DCA report for the 2015-2016 academic year. Del Castillo talked about the various achievements that the Tufts community has made over the past year, such as accepting undocumented students and creating gender neutral bathrooms on campus.

Del Castillo also said that there are still various issues that the university has yet to address, referencing the wage gap between certain Tufts administrators and janitors, sexual assault problems on campus and financial strife caused by the high cost of tuition.

Before moving on to the supplementary funding requests, Tesser gave quick updates about the recently formed Residential
Strategies Working Group (RSWG)
and the state of Late Night Dining. According to Tesser, conversations with the administration highlighted the lack of janitorial staff on duty during these nights. Students create a mess during Late Night Dining and leave it for janitors to deal with the following morning.

Tesser, who firmly supports Late Night Dining, said he hopes to move the program to a bigger venue, such as the Carmichael or Dewick-MacPhie Dining Centers.

Slotky then began the Treasury report with Baseball Analysis at Tufts (BAT), which requested supplementary funding of $1,625. The Senate decided to fund the full amount requested in a 25-0-3 vote.

Senate then passed supplementary funding of $1,257.45 to be awarded to the African Students Organization, $200 to Tufts Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), $650 to Tufts Ballroom Dance Team, $1,000 to the Pan-Afrikan Alliance, $1,460 to Urban Policy, Planning and Prosperity (UP3) and $2,227.48 to the Alliance in Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES).

After the Treasury Report, TCU Vice President Gauri Seth, a junior, ended the meeting by opening the floor for sophomore Benya Kraus, chair of ALBO’s Student Outreach Committee, who reminded the whole body of the responsibility of the senate liaison position.