TCU Senate hears funding requests, discusses ongoing projects

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met last night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to hear funding requests and discuss ongoing Senate-led projects.

TCU President Benya Kraus, a senior, opened the meeting, reminding the body that the Senate has four regular meetings remaining this semester. Kraus urged the senators to start documenting their progress on projects for the next generation of senators.

TCU Treasurer Emily Sim, a junior, then took the floor to introduce supplementary funding requests.

The body voted to match all initial recommendations of the Allocations Board (ALBO) for the following groups: $50 to Bangin’ Everything At Tufts (BEATs) for the organization to hire a videographer for its spring show; $637 to ENVY, a campus step team, for its transportation to a competition; $375 to Tufts Ballroom for its rental fees for Distler Performance Hall and 51 Winthrop for events; $3,037 to Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) for speakers for its Spring into Islam series; $108 for Tufts Geological Society for its demonstration at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum’s Girls Day; and $1,150 to Public Harmony for a new keyboard.

The floor then went to TCU Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel, a junior, who shared that after spring break, the body will hear a resolution on the affordability of Tufts. He added that there will also be a referendum question in either the regular election or the presidential election in April.

The resolution, authored by trustee representative Nathan Foster, a senior, will call the university to maintain its current level of affordability, according to Foster. He clarified that the resolution will not call the university to increase the affordability, but to maintain the current level.

The Parliamentarian explained that the ballot question, if passed, will amend the TCU Constitution to allow the students to change proposed resolutions to referenda with 300 student signatures. Rapfogel explained that the Tufts Elections Commission (ECOM) will conduct the proposed referendum within 14 days of approval from both the Tufts Judiciary and the Committee on Student LifeRapfogel added that this does not change any of the existing rules on referenda, but merely creates a different kind of referendum. Currently, a referendum can only be proposed on the TCU Constitution amendments, and requires only 250 student signatures.

TCU Historian Jacqueline Chen, a junior, then took the floor to remind the body of the upcoming student leadership dinner. Chen told the body later in the meeting to be aware of where the university is allocating its resources, citing that the university has not provided any funding to refurnish the Asian American Center since its building was repurposed.

TCU Vice President Anna Del Castillo then opened the floor for committee updates, and encouraged the body to provide suggestions on how the Senate Executive Board can better support the senators with their projects and initiatives.

Education Committee Chair Phil Miller, a sophomore, announced that his committee will soon publish a survey for professor of the year, which the Senate Education Committee will review for the quantity and quality of the responses to choose finalists. Education Committee member Emma Phillips, a Class of 2019 Senator, shared the results of her recent survey to the student body on the residency requirement, and she explained that the vast majority of respondents were not aware of the residency requirement prior to their matriculation.

There were no other significant updates from other committees according to their chairs.

Before the meeting adjourned, Services Committee co-chair Janey Litvin, a Class of 2021 Senator, announced that the Senate will host a town hall on campus mental health on April 17 in the Alumnae Lounge, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Litvin added that the said town hall will feature Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon, Executive Director of Health and Wellness Services Michelle Bowdler and representatives from student groups as panelists.