The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate passed a resolution allowing students to select their own gender identity and pronouns in all Tufts systems, such as the Student Information System (SIS), during its meeting last night.
Before discussing the resolution, Senate first spent some time in passing a project approval proposed by Chair of Student Outreach Committee Benya Kraus.
Kraus, a sophomore, spoke about her project to get all university language departments to post reading, video or any miscellaneous material over winter and summer breaks so that students will have the resources available to continue practicing languages. Citing her own and other students’ personal experiences, Kraus argued that the university should provide a system for those who want to practice their language of study over the long breaks.
“The goal of this is to help students become better language speakers,” Kraus said. “I don’t want to be able to come back and…not be able to remember any of the tenses and grammar. It comes down to helping student get as many resources as they can to do the best at [their] language.”
The Senate approved the project by a majority vote.
TCU Parlimentarian Sam Berzok then opened the floor for the main resolution of the night.
The resolution, written by first-year Parker Breza, sophomore Anna Del Castillo, junior Gauri Seth, sophomore Shai Slotky and senior Brian Tesser, will allow students to change their pronouns whenever they want to and as many times they need to. The writers hoped the resolution could be utilized by administrators and student groups as lobbying tools to effect change in university policies.
According to the resolution, Tufts has a responsibility to make a space in its systems for students to indicate their pronouns, since Tufts prides itself on being an LGBTQ-friendly campus and was included in non-profit Campus Pride’s yearly list of Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities.
The resolution also states that Tufts should provide “clear and explicit instruction on how a student may change their name, gender identity and pronouns in university systems” as there is no easily accessible method of doing so.
“This is really important because the student is being acknowledged by the university for their full identity,” Breza said. “And instead of outing yourself to the administration and go through a convoluted process to change anything, we are hoping that through this resolution, it will push students to recognize this as an important issue as well as expedite the implementation of this change in system.”
According to Tesser, the resolution will not affect any legal measures and laws, such as financial aid, which require students’ full legal name and gender as requested by the United States government. The resolution will only look to effect change in platforms that Tufts has control over, Tesser said.
According to the writers, the resolution represents an important step to help ensure a safer campus for all Tufts students. After much discussion, Senate passed the resolution through a roll call vote of 25-0-2.
After the conclusion of the resolution, Slotky, the TCU treasurer, opened the Treasury Report and presented the week’s supplementary funding requests.
Senate then approved supplementary funding of $484 for the Tufts History Society by a vote of 13-8-5. Senate members then debated GlobeMed’s funding request of $480. After voting to reduce the Allocations Board’s original amount to $450, Senate approved the altered funding amount by a vote of 26-1-0.
Senate then quickly approved supplementary funding of $125 for the Sharewood Project by acclimation, $1,701.50 for Tufts Ballroom Dance Team by a vote of 26-1-0 and $362.50 for Melisma Magazine by acclimation. Tufts sQ!’s supplementary funding request was tabled for a future date.