TCU Senate elects new trustee representatives

Editor’s note: The Daily has not been permitted to cover TCU Senate debates on internal appointments including trustee representatives in the past. However, the Daily was initially told by Senate that access will not be given for the entire meeting discussed in this article, including parts that did not concern trustee representative appointments. Senate later clarified a day after the meeting that this was incorrect. 

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met Sunday evening in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to elect trustee representatives, assign committee placements and review proposed changes on the Treasury Procedures Manual (TPM) that had been shelved in the previous meeting.

According to Senate’s meeting minutes, the body read through applications, interviewed candidates and debated before electing sophomores Connor Goggins and Insiya Naim, and senior Noah Weinflash as the three new Senate trustee representatives.

The Senate-elected position speaks on behalf of TCU at meetings of the university’s Board of Trustees, according to the TCU website.

Class of 2020 Senator Pedro Lazo-Rivera discussed the election process as well as the decision to close the meeting.

Each candidate was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and speak on their interests in the position and underwent a Q&A,” Lazo-Rivera told the Daily in an electronic message. “The Senate also discussed its thoughts on each candidate after each of their individual interviews and compared their performance to one another once they had left the room.”

Closed-session format allowed the senators to speak to and review candidates’ applications candidly, Lazo-Rivera said, stating that such privacy is “crucial to making an effective appointment.”

Lazo-Rivera also said that a closed session ensured that the candidates would not be influenced by each other.

“A closed session avoided one candidate’s interview impacting another candidate’s participation, especially considering that a generally consistent set of criteria were discussed,” Lazo-Rivera said

Weinflash explained the importance of the role he will be assuming. 

“I’m excited to start working with the Tufts community to figure out ways we can work with the Board of Trustees to help our students and members of the broader Somerville and Medford communities,” Weinflash told the Daily in an electronic message. “I hope that this can make students feel less disaffected on our campus, and also get the word out to Tufts students that this position exists, and can help change our policies.”

Goggins emphasized the connection he hopes to build between the Tufts community and the Board of Trustees.

“The position is a crucial link in ensuring communication between the Board and Senate, making sure each body can make well-informed decisions,” Goggins told the Daily in an electronic message.

After the elections, members of the Senate were allocated to committees for the coming semester. Newly elected first-year members will be able to join the committees once they join the body, the minutes indicate. 

The minutes indicate that TCU Treasurer Izzy Ma then took the floor to explain a recent policy change, which had been announced in last week’s meeting, regarding personal contributions for Senate-subsidized off-campus events. Ma told the Daily in an electronic message that the policy change had caused some confusion among the body when it was announced. The change sets the rate of personal contributions for off-campus events at 12 percent of the total spending. Previously, personal contribution amount was set at $5 per line item, multiplied by the number of people participating and the number of days during the which the event takes place.

Diversity and Community Affairs Officer Grant Gebetsberger welcomed the changes.

“I’m optimistic that the new personal contribution system will reduce the burden on students to supplement funding for group trips,” Gebetsberger, a sophomore, told the Daily in an electronic message. “I see groups being more fully funded for their off-campus competitions and conferences which will increase accessibility for all Tufts students to participate as fully as possible in campus organizations.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the body voted to pass the policy change in personal contributions for Senate-subsidized off-campus events. However, the TCU Treasurer only explained the implications of this policy change — which did not require a vote — at this meeting. The article has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily regrets this error.