TCU Senate discusses resolution on DAPL in weekly meeting

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met Sunday night in the Sophia Gordon Hall Multipurpose Room to discuss a resolution and supplementary funding requests.

TCU President Gauri Seth, a senior, started the meeting by briefly discussing the Turkey Shuttle, which will run from the Mayer Campus Center to Logan Airport and South Station to provide transportation for students traveling for Thanksgiving break.

TCU Senate Vice President Shai Slotky, a senior, then asked for committee updates. The Student Outreach Committee talked about the Senate Student Leadership dinner, which will be held this Thursday at the Breed Memorial Hall, and the Services Committee talked about the Cause Dinner on Tuesday night.

According to the Services Committee, the Cause Dinner is an event in which students can choose to donate a portion of the cost of their meal swipe or JumboCash when they swipe into Dewick-MacPhie or Carmichael Dining Centers. Proceeds will go to the North American Indian Center of Boston. This money will then go toward aiding indigenous communities in Massachusetts as well as fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota.

Representatives from the TCU Judiciary then announced that they have updated their bylaws for clarification. Rather than sending a representative to weekly Senate meetings, they would show up as a group once a month. The Committee on Student Life (CSL) has to approve the change before it is made.

TCU Senate Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel, a sophomore, then took the floor to introduce a resolution for Tufts to support protestors fighting the DAPL and to divest from financial institutions funding the construction of the DAPL. The resolution was written by Diversity and Community Affairs Officer Benya Kraus, a junior, along with LGBTQ+ Community Senator Parker Breza, a sophomore, and junior Gabriela Bonfiglio.

There was a motion to pass the resolution, but one senator objected so the body moved into a debate over it. One of the main issues was divestment from financial institutions and how this could affect the endowment, the nature of the investments and the use of the word “divest.” Another question was how realistic divestment would be. There was an amendment to redefine the term “divest,” but it failed.

Ultimately, the debate period ended with a request to vote on the resolution. Once this passed, the resolution itself was moved, and the final result was a passage in a vote of 19 in favor, six opposed and two abstentions.

Next, TCU Senate Treasurer Chris Leaverton took the floor to discuss the supplementary funding requests for the night. The first was a special set of supplementary funding, termed “discretionary funding,” offered when a senator sponsors any member or group of members of the Tufts community, including groups not recognized by the Judiciary to get funding.

Seth brought the Men’s Club Soccer team for a discretionary funding request for money to attend their Nationals game in Alabama. Club sports receive a lump sum of money at the beginning of the year, but Senate is not responsible for allocating the money. The Club Soccer team was not allocated any money for the game, so each player had to raise roughly $700 on their own, in addition to group fundraising efforts. After an initial objection to the Allocations Board (ALBO) recommendation and a subsequent debate, a modified recommendation of $4,250 for the trip was passed.

Leaverton, a sophomore, then asked to move money from the surplus fund, which had over $600,000, to the buffer fund, which is used for supplementary funding and had less than $10,000. Seth proposed that $100,000 be moved. This was approved after a vote. Any money left over in the buffer fund at year end can be moved back to the surplus.

ALBO recommendations were passed for the next four funding requests, which came from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyLa Salsa, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Student and the Russian and Slavic Students Association. While ALBO’s recommendation for the latter was initially objected to when it went to vote, it was passed after debate.

A representative from the CSL then provided updates, including that the Wendell Phillips Award nominees were announced on Monday and that they can submit an application for the award by late January. They also added that the committee is working with Greek institutions on current issues within Greek life.

The meeting adjourned without a closed session.