TCU Senate shares updates, hears funding requests

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met last night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to share updates on ongoing Senate-led initiatives and to hear funding requests and one appeal. 

TCU President Benya Kraus started the meeting, sharing with the body that the university has recently hired Matt Callahan to assume the role of assistant director of recreation and club sports, a position that is new to the university. Kraus, a senior, then announced that the university will implement a council for club sports organizations that will play a similar role as Allocations Board (ALBO) for organizations under the TCU Senate umbrella.

Kraus also mentioned that the next regular Senate meeting on Dec. 10 will be the last session of the semester. At that meeting, Kraus will give a State of the TCU address, TCU Treasurer and junior Emily Sim will deliver a State of the Treasury address and Diversity & Community Affairs (DCA) Officer and sophomore Shannon Lee will give a State of the DCA address.

TCU Vice President Anna Del Castillo took the floor to announce that there will be an internal election on Dec. 10 to elect the new chair for the Services Committee, as the current chair, Class of 2019 Senator Malachy Donovan, will be going abroad next semester. Then Del Castillo, a senior, opened the floor for the committee chairs to share announcements.

Donovan announced that the Senate will be hosting late night study in Carmichael Dining Center as it has in previous years and encouraged the senators to sign up for shifts. Rebeca Becdach, Class of 2021 senator and a Services Committee member, shared with the body that she has been working with Jake Taber, a clean energy fellow at Environment America, to petition the university to use only renewable energy by the year 2050.

Administration & Policy Committee Chair and Class of 2018 Senator Jamie Neikrie encouraged the body to attend the upcoming Budget Transparency Town Hall on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Alumnae Lounge. Outreach Committee Chair and Asian American Community Senator Charlie Zhen also stressed the importance of this event and said that it will be an opportunity for students to have their questions answered regarding tuition hikes and the rising administrative cost.

Zhen, a junior, then announced that there is an opening in the Elections Commission (ECOM) and that the applications are due on Dec. 8. While there were no significant updates from the Education Committee, committee chair Phil Miller, a sophomore, encouraged the senators to volunteer for the TCU Senate Textbook Exchange program.

After the committee updates, Kraus briefly took the floor to announce that a floor plan with a single-stalled gender-neutral bathroom in the Mayer Campus Center will be submitted to an architecture firm. Kraus added that the university will also soon submit floor plans with gender-neutral bathrooms in Carmichael Hall and Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center. She explained that construction for these bathrooms will begin by the spring 2018 semester.

Then the floor went to TCU Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel, a junior, who announced that the body will discuss bylaw changes in the next meeting. Rapfogel explained that the proposed bylaw change will entail reverting the Culture, Ethnicity, and Community Affairs (CECA) Committee back to a standing committee with a weekly meeting and mandatory attendance policy.

TCU Senate then heard five funding requests and a funding appeal from Tufts Republicans.

Tufts Republicans came to appeal ALBO’s denial of a $3,330 request for their trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in the Washington, D.C. area from Feb. 21 to 24. ALBO recommended to provide $2,840 in funding, which covers the cost of the trip for six people. Emma Phillips, a Class of 2019 senator, explained that she had voted for $2,840 in an initial ALBO vote, as the Treasury Procedure Manual (TPM) limits funding for non-competition groups at six people. She cited a recent funding request from Tufts oSTEM, for which ALBO also only recommended funding for six people. Associate Treasurer Finn McGarghan, a sophomore, agreed with Phillips, noting that he also recommended to provide funding for six people, based on the TPM and precedents.

Robert Whitehead, vice president of Tufts Republicans, argued that this trip carries significant educational benefit and possible networking opportunities for the attendees. Whitehead, a sophomore, also suggested that the organization won’t ask for another funding request for a trip until the end of the academic year, should the Senate choose the fund the trip for eight people.

Sim said while the body appreciates the gesture, Tufts Republicans are within their rights to ask for another funding request for a trip whether they receive funding for six people or eight people.

The appeal went into a debate phase after a roughly 10-minute question-and-answer session. Several senators favored providing more funding. Neikrie, for example, said that he finds Tufts Republicans’ request reasonable and that he feels comfortable providing funding for eight people.

The body then voted to match the initial ALBO recommendation of $2,840, with 17 in favor and nine opposed.

Next, the body voted to match ALBO’s initial recommendations for following groups: $1,065 in funding to Tufts Bikes for its maintenance cost for biking equipment, $329 to ENVY Tufts for its trip to compete at Princeton, $720 to Tufts Pulse to travel to a competition in Pittsburgh, Pa., $2,690 to Garba (TASA) for its travel to a competition and $485 to the Korean Students Association (KSA) for its winter formal in Curtis Hall on Dec. 8.

The meeting then entered a closed session before adjourning.