TCU Senate shares updates from JumboVote, hears funding requests

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to hear a presentation by JumboVote, table a supplementary funding appeal, approve supplementary funding requests and hear committee updates.

After brief introductions from the newly elected Class of 2020 Senators Danny Cashman and Alexa Weinstein, and First Generation Community Senator Alejandro Baez, the TCU Senate then heard from senior Annie Roome, a leader in JumboVote, and Student Outreach Coordinator for Tisch College Marian Woznica (LA ’17) about JumboVote, an on-campus organization dedicated to registering Tufts students to vote.

Roome and Woznica began their presentation by noting that Tufts students have a voter turnout of 63.2 percent, and they want to improve this to 70 percent or above. After, they mentioned that JumboVote is looking for volunteers to help with their upcoming events, which include voter registration week in September of next year and VoteFest, an event with live music, food and voter registration. They then noted that it is important for them to drive students to the polls and emphasized that they believe it would be very important for them to have the Senate’s support.

Following Roome and Woznica’s presentation, the TCU Senate moved into the treasury section to hear supplementary funding requests.

Public Harmony’s request for $1,155 for transportation to a performance was passed with 27 in favor. Generation Citizen’s request for transportation to school sites was passed by acclamation.

The TCU Senate then moved to hear the supplementary funding appeal from the C. Stacey Woods Programming Board, a group working to promote evangelic Christian programming on campus, for their disaster relief trip to Houston during spring break. The request had been previously tabled.

The coordinators of the trip shared their updates on their initiatives to acquire funding from sources outside the TCU Senate in order to fund 18, rather than six students to participate in the trip. They noted that the Tufts University Chaplaincy declined their request and that they have an interview with the Tisch College Civic Life Fund for Civic Engagement, from which they are looking to receive a maximum of $1,000 in funding.

Following a brief three-minute question-and-answer period, the senate opened the floor for Allocations Board (ALBO) members to discuss why they made their initial funding recommendation to adhere to the six-person rule and grant $1,741 in funding to the trip.

Class of 2020 Senator and ALBO member Kevin Gleason spoke in favor of adhering to the six-person rule, arguing that is what the TCU Senate has traditionally done and it is important to follow the Treasury Procedure Manual (TPM) guidelines.

Class of 2021 Senator and ALBO member Izzy Ma said she agreed with Gleason and mentioned that although many groups have amazing causes similar to that of C. Stacey Woods, ALBO still almost always sticks to the six-person rule when granting funding, and nothing differentiates this particular group as an exception.

The TCU Senate decided to hold a debate in order to vote on ALBO’s initial recommendation of $1,741 to the C. Stacey Woods Programming Board.

During the debate, Class of 2020 TCU Senator Shannon Lee argued in favor of ALBO’s initial recommendation because the six-person rule is only broken when groups must travel to pursue opportunities not offered locally. Lee then argued in favor of ALBO’s recommendation to stick to the six-person rule because there are many alternative community service opportunities available in the local Medford/Somerville area.

Cashman argued in favor of voting against ALBO’s recommendation because the trip could be a very powerful experience not only for the students who participate but also for the people in Houston who would know that students were willing to travel long distances to help them rebuild.

Following other statements by TCU Senators on both sides, the TCU Senate voted on whether to fund the Houston trip, adhering to the six-person rule, which passed with 20 in favor and 10 opposed.

The Senate then moved to hear additional supplementary funding appeals from Major: Undecided, Tufts Bhangra, Jumbo Jugglers, Tufts Make, Tufts Culinary Society, Tufts Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) and the French Society.

Major: Undecided’s request of $200 for gas and food in order to attend a retreat was passed, Tufts Bhangra’s request of $2239 was passed by acclamation, Jumbo Jugglers’ request to hold their annual Wombat event was passed and Tufts Make’s request of $680 to help fund a smart cane project involving constructing a cane that would help elderly people locate their belongings was passed. MAPS request of $114 for parking was passed by acclamation, Tufts Culinary Society’s request of $300 for a culture crawl event was passed and the French Society’s request of $208 for food for cultural events was passed.

The TCU Senate then moved to hear updates from TCU Vice President Senior Anna Del Castillo.

Castillo spoke of two opportunities for students, one being the Provost’s Office fully funded two-year summer research project of the student’s choosing, and the other regarding volunteering for Read by the River, a Hillel-sponsored event where children from the local area come to Tufts for a literacy carnival.

After, the TCU Senate heard Administration and Policy community updates from TCU Trustee Community Senator Nathan Foster regarding affordability and economic accessibility metrics and from Class of 2018 TCU Senator Jordan Kemp about the progress of the Brown and Blueprint initiative.

Updates from the Education Committee followed, regarding the possibility of students getting credit for IB courses taken in high school.

The TCU Senate then heard an update from the Student Outreach Committee about the upcoming Student Leadership Dinner to be attended by all senators.

Lastly, Class of 2019 TCU Senator and Historian Jacqueline Chen discussed the return of the Swipe It Forward initiative that will run during the week of March 12 and where students can donate meal swipes to those in need.

Then the meeting adjourned.