TCU Senate discusses updates, entertains funding requests

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met on Sunday, Jan. 31 for the first time of the semester to review relevant updates from the fall semester and discuss its first set of supplementary funding requests from student groups. 

TCU Senate President Brian Tesser opened the meeting with welcoming remarks to the Tufts community. He also welcomed back junior Allison Aaronson, former diversity and community affairs (DCA) Officer, who was abroad last semester and has been re-elected to serve on the TCU Senate.

Current DCA Officer Anna Del Castillo, a sophomore, gave a general report of the state of the DCA, in which she discussed the two resolutions the Senate passed last semester.

The first resolution aims to change the name of “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples Day” on all Tufts calendars. The other one was the #ThreePercent resolution, which includes provisions aiming to make Tufts a safer and more equitable environment through actions such as reducing racial profiling, and increasing black student attendance.

Following a series of other updates, TCU Treasurer Shai Slotkya junior, gave a report on the state of the Treasury. He discussed the role of the Treasury and noted its importance to the student body. He also mentioned the recent formative changes to the fiscal procedures, which would aid in promoting egalitarian funding to several groups on campus.

He explained that student groups should provide preliminary budgets for the new fiscal year by Feb. 19, after which meetings between the TCU Allocation Board (ALBO) and signatories of the student groups would take place. Final decisions on budgets will be made on April 10, according to Slotky. 

Next, Tesser, a senior, took the floor again to briefly speak about the state of the TCU. He discussed improvements made last semester in the Late Night Dining service, Sexual Misconduct policies and Alcohol/Drug Policy, along with other university improvementsCurrently, students are working with the administration to improve the housing system, he said.

TCU Vice President Gauri Seth, a junior, then took the floor to ask for any changes in the Committee meeting times.

TCU Parliamentarian Sam Berzok, a senior, followed by discussing an upcoming parliamentary workshop for TCU Senators, which will review resolution writing and parliamentary procedure.

Slotky then took the floor to introduce the funding requests from two student groups. The first one was from SURGE, a group which focuses on U.S.-China relations, and the other request was from Spoken Word Alliance at Tufts (SWAT).

SURGE applied for $3,440 for travel and hotel accommodations for seven speakers for its annual symposium, an amount which matched ALBO’s recommendation. The motion to grant this amount to SURGE was carried with unanimous approval.

SWAT appealed for $4,175, which was over ALBO’s recommended amount of $2,035, to fund its trip to the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in Austin, TX, the only annual spoken word competition at the collegiate level.

With the geographic radius set in the Treasury Procedures Manual (TPM), the Treasury is only allowed to supply funding to trips within the U.S. stretching West – roughly to Chicago- and South -roughly to Washington D.C.

As CUPSI is in Texas, which is outside of this radius, the first order of business was a vote to remove the radius constraint, and there was unanimous approval to do so.

In distributing the grant, ALBO cut out $370 of funding for a coach. As according to TPM, the Treasury cannot fund individuals that are not affiliated with a Tufts student group, primarily because they did not pay the student activities feeALBO reasoned that SWAT could find another source to supply the funding. ALBO also cut down funding for travel expenses to $100 per person, which is the maximum travel funding allowed by the TPM. Finally, the expenses for $500 of snacks and drinks were cut.

The recommendation of $2,035 was debated on the floor before a vote, where it failed in a vote of 1-26-1.

However, by an oversight during ALBO’s initial discussion of the recommended funding last week, personal contributions were left out of the $2,035 proposal. Typically, it is expected that the individuals in the group make some contribution of their own for such trips, with a usual amount of $15 per day per person. In this scenario – a four-day trip scheduled for five people – the total personal contribution would be $300.

Therefore, the new recommended allocation included a $300 deduction from the original proposal to $1,735. This recommendation was debated on the floor, and it passed in a vote of 23-5-0.

After the Treasury report, a Committee on Student Life (CSL) representative took the floor and spoke about work being done to approve a university shift to adopt “Indigenous Peoples Day.”

Finally, the Judiciary took the floor to give its report. Two of the open seats have been filled by first-years, and the Animal Welfare is appealing the Judiciary’s decision to not recognize the group. The report also mentioned that the student group recognition process will begin soon.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to the CSL representative as the Community Service Learning representative rather than a Committee on Student Life representative. The Daily regrets this error.