TCU Senate discusses supplementary funding requests, upcoming resolutions

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met last night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to hear supplementary funding requests and discuss two resolutions.

After the roll call, TCU President Benya Kraus opened the meeting by discussing the upcoming Senate elections on Nov. 14. According to Kraus, a senior, there is one person running for the 2019 seat. There are also three open seats for the class of 2018 and an open position for the LGBTQ+ Community Senator, which has two candidates. Kraus said that two seats were carried down to the class of 2019 because only one person is running for the 2018 seat. Outreach Committee Chair Charlie Zhen told the Daily that the deadline to declare candidacy for the class of 2018 senator position was last week and the deadline to be a candidate for the class of 2019 senate seat is Nov. 7. 

Kraus announced that there will be a candidates’ meeting on Nov. 6 and a candidates’ forum on Nov. 13. Elections Commission Chair and junior Klavs Takhtani told the Daily in an electronic message that elections are being pushed back a week from their original Nov. 7 date due to a lack of interest from the class of 2018. 

Vice President and senior Anna Del Castillo then spoke, and committee chairs gave updates.

Administration & Policy Committee Chair Jamie Neikrie brought up a proposal made to expand Tufts outreach to rural areas. Neikrie, a senior, also brought up ongoing work on increasing transparency around the university’s budget and tuition hikes.

Kraus said that Director of Campus Planning Lois Stanley will be sending someone to evaluate the fire escape at Capen House, and to look into making other improvements. Kraus said that this was part of the discussion on spatial inequality on campus.

Kraus also announced that a website allowing students to request listening sessions on campus space will be launched soon. Services Committee Chair Malachy Donovan, a junior, announced that Turkey Shuttle dates have been solidified. Education Committee Chair Phil Miller announced that Tufts will transition to a system based on credit hours rather than a one-credit-per-class system. Miller, a sophomore, explained that Tufts is one of the few remaining universities not following this system, and that the switch is intended to make the allocation of credit hours correspond more fairly with time students spend in a class. According to Miller, this system will be implemented next year, and upcoming meetings with administrators will shed more light on the details of the switch.

The body then heard updates from trustee representatives. Representative for the Committee on University Advancement Kristen Moran announced the public launch of Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts. Moran, a sophomore, explained that Brighter World is a fundraising campaign with a goal to raise money for financial aid. According to a university press release, $566 million has been raised in the private phase of the campaign toward the $1.5 billion goal.

At the trustees’ meeting Moran attended, she said University President Anthony Monaco discussed efforts to transition Tufts into a need-blind school, although this goal will likely not be achieved in the near future. Moran also mentioned that a number of buildings not named after donors on campus, including the Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), could be possible sources of donations. 

TCU Treasurer Emily Sim then opened discussion of supplementary funding requests.  The body approved funding requests from the National Society of Black Engineers-Tufts Chapter and the Tufts Psych Society.

TCU Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel, a junior, announced that the body will be hearing the first resolution of the year, a resolution on gender-inclusive restrooms, next week.

Zhen, a junior, encouraged senators to sign and share the petition to modify the Asian American Center to make the new center usable by the entire community. Zhen said that this will be a huge step in making the center better by removing the housing component. Diversity and Community Affairs Officer Shannon Lee, a sophomore, said that a resolution on the Asian American Center will be heard at the Senate meeting on Nov. 19.

TCU Historian Jacqueline Chen, a junior, announced that the Swipe It Forward initiative was successful, with the number of meals in the bank available to students significantly exceeding last year’s donations.

Kraus concluded the meeting by mentioning ongoing projects, such as discussions about late-night study at Carmichael Dining Center and the textbook exchange. Kraus also mentioned that she and first-year Senator Janey Litvin had begun conversations about opening a pub on campus.

After the meeting, the body held a closed session to go over the Treasury Procedures Manual in anticipation of the Tufts Republicans’ funding request to bring former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro to campus to speak.