TCU Senate discusses updates to housing gender codes

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met last night to discuss two resolutions, a project approval and supplementary funding requests from various student groups.

TCU Senate President Brian Tesser took the floor to give general updates. He mentioned that Sasaki Associates, a planning and design firm, came to campus to do a review of housing and inspect the current state of buildings. The firm is working with the university to seek student feedback and will make recommendations to the administration based on the response. A campus-wide survey will be sent out on behalf of the company in the coming week, and Tesser, a senior, urged the community to respond because he feels that it will yield tangible results.

Tesser went on to speak about the prospect of gender-neutral housing. Starting next academic year, there will be no rooms with “male-only” or “female-only” designations, as all gender codes are going to be removed, he said. This does not mean that rooms will all be gender-neutral, but it opens up the possibility in the future and allows for more flexibility without the gender limitations.

TCU Senate Treasurer Shai Slotky then took the floor to bring up supplementary funding requests. The first was from Tufts Urban Planning, Policy, and Prosperity (UP3), which was for $445 to bring a speaker to campus. The Allocation Board (ALBO) recommendation was $395, and this recommendation passed in a vote of 30-0-0.

The next request was from Queer Students Association (QSA), which requested two speaker honoraries. The group asked for $4,750, but ALBO cut the proposal down to $4,400 because there of a $5,000 funding cap, and QSA has already received $600 earlier in the year. The ALBO proposal passed 30-0-0.

The Debate Society requested $850, but ALBO recommended $760 after factoring in personal contributions. This passed in vote of 29-0-1.

The next request came from Tufts Culinary Society, which requested funding to purchase food form different markets in Somerville. There was contention about whether it was worth it or whether it was appropriate to fund, and the ALBO recommendation, which matched the request of $120, passed in a vote of 22-6-1.

The Robotics Club next requested $1,699 in funding for a thermal camera and ALBO matched this. The request passed 29-0-1.

The final request was from PULSE, which requested $210 of funding for the stage setting for one of its dances/performances. ALBO’s recommendation was the same, and it passed in a vote of 29-0-1.

TCU Senate Vice President Gauri Seth next introduced the sole project approval of the night, which was for an on-campus pub for students above the age of 21, graduate students and alumni.

According to the project coordinators, sophomore Senators Peter McCawley and Ian Clarke and first-year Senator Rayane Haddar, the stated purpose of the pub is for easier networking, added safety benefits and relief of tension between Somerville’s existing pubs and population and students, since complaints have been common regarding noise and age. The Tufts University Police Department is willing to work with the organizers on any reservations, and the administration has been very open to the idea for a while, the coordinators said.

The timeline for the project begins with researching past efforts on this initiative, concerns, potential benefits and possible conflicts. The next steps will involve discussions with administrators and asking students what they want, followed by a stage of presenting a plan to all of the administration and trustees, and finally figuring out a method for implementation. In terms of location, possibilities are conversion of Brown & Brew Coffee House, or the construction of a new building altogether. The project was approved in a vote of 27-3.

Other project updates include a signup sheet for Spring Break Shuttle being sent out this week, as well as attempts at obtaining stipends for EMTs on campus.

TCU Parliamentarian Sam Berzok then took the floor to introduce the two resolutions of the night. The first is to change graduation requirements for the School of Arts and Sciences by the fall term of the 2018-2019 academic year, including revisions in the foreign language, first-year writing, and world civilization requirements. Additionally, the requirements must be reviewed once every four years, and the end of the resolution calls for a review of the graduation requirements for the School of Engineering by Fall 2018.

One amendment was suggested, and the debate period for this lasted over an hour, with a brief unmoderated caucus in between, ending with the amendment being rescinded. The motion to move the resolution was initially objected to, and after a short debate period, it passed in a vote of 26-2-2.

The second resolution called for subsidization of printing for all undergraduates by negotiation of a contract with a vendor and that this change be implemented no later than the fall of 2016. After a short discussion, this passed 29-0-1.

The meeting concluded with a TCU Judiciary representative mentioning that the Judiciary had met with the Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS) about organizing groups, and a Committee on Student Life (CSL) representative said the group met with the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) to discuss Greek life and general judicial affairs.