TCU Senate approves project for Counseling and Mental Health Services, funding requests

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met last night to discuss supplementary funding requests and appeals, as well as a project approval.

TCU Senate President Brian Tesser opened the meeting by saying that the housing survey from the external firm, Sasaki Associates, which Tesser first brought up to Senate two weeks ago, should be sent out [to the Tufts community] later this week.

TCU Treasurer Shai Slotky then took the floor to entertain a series of supplementary funding requests. The first was an appeal from Tufts International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM), which requested $3,500 for two people to attend the five-day competition for next year.

The Senate Allocation Board (ALBO) did not want to fund the competition at all because it saw the request as a research venture rather than a competition, since iGEM would be gaining access to laboratories and equipment that could be used for research. According to the Treasury Procedures Manual (TPM), competition fees that fall under the category of any sort of research cannot be funded.

After a long debate period, the ALBO recommendation of zero dollars in funding failed in a vote of 10-18-0, and the original request of $3,500 was objected upon. After further debate, the vote on $3,500 was taken and resulted in a tie. In the event of a tie, the treasurer makes a decision according to the TPM, so Slotky, a junior, decided against the amount of $3,500.

A new amount, $3,350, was proposed, which was calculated by incorporating $15 of personal contribution per person per day, resulting in a total $150 in personal contributions by the two people attending the competition, bringing the requested $3,500 down to $3,350. This recommendation passed in a vote of 20-8-0.

The next request was from the Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES), which revised its budget from last week. The new request passed by acclimation.

Further requests came from Spirit of Color for uniform shirts, Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine for a speaker honorarium and Tufts Association of South Asians for its Bhangra group to participate in a competition in Madison, Wisconsin, a request which breaks the radius of funding for travel. The requests were all approved.

The last supplementary fund hearing will be on March 30, and the last supplementary funding vote will be on Apr. 3, Slotky said.

TCU Senate Vice President Gauri Seth, a junior, brought up project updates, and various senators spoke about their groups’ work on their respective projects. Senators said that there is work being done to get culture groups to hold a minimum of three events, to continue with the on-campus pub project, to meet with the head director of Tufts Emergency Medical Services for stipends for emergency medical technicians, the creation of a newsletter in place of Jumbo Digest and the creation of an Urban Studies major.

Senate then voted to approve a project by Trustee representative Sylvia Ofoma, a junior, for improvements to Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS). Some of the aims of her project include increasing the amount of care available to students, easing the process of finding off-campus counseling and ensuring that CMHS follows-up with students after counseling. The project was passed unanimously.

Diversity and Community Affairs (DCA) Officer Anna Del Castillo, a sophomore, then briefly took the floor to make some announcements about upcoming community events.

There were no updates from the TCU Judiciary, so the meeting moved into its closed session.