TCU Senate discusses supplementary funding, committee updates

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met yesterday afternoon in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to discuss supplementary funding requests and general updates.

Benya Kraus, diversity and community affairs officer, started the meeting with project updates from the Culture, Ethnicity, Community Affairs (CECA) Committee, which she chairs. Members are looking at sexual assault training during pre-orientation and orientation weeks and trying to identify problems with how they are run. They want to create a culture that is more engaging and promoting of consent, as well as improving bystander intervention, according to CECA member and first-year senator Pedro Lazo-Rivera.

CECA is also trying to strengthen relations between alumni persons of color and students of color by creating a mentorship program, with additional support from Career Services and the Office of Alumni Relations.

There will also be an emphasis on outreach and advocacy for indigenous students, especially with the continued #noDAPL movement, according to Kraus, a junior. Screen-printed shirts will be sold in Mayer Campus Center today, Wednesday and next Wednesday from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prices will be on a sliding scale from $15-25, and all proceeds will go to the water protectors at Standing Rock.

There will be inquiry into the services offered by Health Services, especially concerning sexual and reproductive health, because according to Kraus there is a discrepancy between what students are entitled to and what they are aware of.

Finally, CECA members will draft a resolution to support the city of Boston’s Trust Act, which seeks to protect undocumented immigrants in Boston by preventing police from helping detain and deport them, Kraus said.

Asian American Community Senator Jacqueline Chen briefly took the floor to announce that tea time will be held at the Asian American Center every Friday with a different community representative. The focus will range from speakers to drop-in hours and will be open to everyone.

TCU Senate Treasurer Chris Leaverton then took to the floor to discuss a few supplementary funding requests. He also announced that signatories from student groups must submit their budgets for the next fiscal year by 5 p.m. on Feb. 17.

The supplementary funding requests came from ENVY and BlackOut for a step competition at Williams Colllege, Tufts Quidditch for a national tournament in Florida, TFL Comedy for advertisement and equipment and Spoken Word Alliance at Tufts (SWAT) for the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in Chicago.

The Allocations Board (ALBO) added personal contributions for ENVY, BlackOut and Quidditch, and their recommendations passed in the body. ALBO slightly increased the amount for posters for TFL Comedy, and the recommendation again passed.

For SWAT, ALBO cut funds for travel and room and added personal contributions. However, the body received an email shortly before the meeting from a SWAT member saying that there was a  miscalculation in the club’s request, and the lodging they found was $150 more than what ALBO recommended.

The members of ALBO then held a vote within the body to approve the $150 increase, which passed, and the new recommendation then passed in the body.

TCU Senate Vice President Shai Slotky then asked the body for committee updates. The Administration and Policy Committee is looking at mental health, Tufts Dining Services meal plans, the creation of a working group on low-income students and the extension of the Senate review survey put out by the Strategic Planning Committee. The Education Committee will be making selections for Professor of the Year soon and will release the results later. The executive board is still exploring issues surrounding club sports, and the Strategic Planning Committee will finish the draft of TCU Senate’s Strategic Plan later this week.

Next, TCU Senate Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel took to the floor to lead the vote on a bylaw change, which would alter the requirements for the creation of a new community senator. The change was proposed by sophomore senator Charlie Zhen for his project of creating a first-generation community senator. The proposition removed a clause in the bylaw that requires the applicant to send a member from the same community to two-thirds of CECA meetings before submitting an application. After a short debate period, the change passed in a vote of 22 in support and 5 against.

TCU Senate President Gauri Seth took to the floor last to talk about the Student Life Review Committee, an initiative begun by University President Anthony Monaco to assess undergraduate student life, including residential life, student groups, sports and Greek life. The committee is composed of faculty, trustees, representatives from Medford and Somerville and six students, three of whom are Kraus, Slotky and Seth. The committee will, however, be looking for more student input.

The meeting then adjourned.

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