TCU Senate hears supplementary funding requests, passes resolution

The Tufts Community Union Senate convenes in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose room on Sept. 30. Julia McDowell / The Tufts Daily

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met last night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to hear supplementary funding requests as well as an appeal of an Allocations Board (ALBO) decision by the Tufts Financial Group (TFG), vote on a resolution endorsing the campaign of Nathan Foster (LA ’18) for the Board of Trustees, elect a new member of the ALBO and hear a presentation by the students involved in a statewide Yes on 3 campaign at Tufts.

The Senate approved supplementary funding requests by the Tufts South Asian Perspectives and Conversation group for $5,000 to bring Alok Vaid-Menon, an artist and LGBTQ rights activist, to campus.

The body also approved $2,087 for Tufts Quidditch to go to its regional qualifying tournament, $977 for the Tufts chapter of National Society of Black Engineers to send 10 people to its national organization’s fall regional conference, $2,065.52 for Baseball Analysis at Tufts to attend a competition in New York City and retroactively approved $1,008 for the Singapore Students Association to go apple picking.

The body then heard TFG’s appeal against ALBO’s recommendation.

According to TCU Treasurer Izzy Ma, a sophomore, TFG had made a supplementary funding request for transportation and alumni gifts for their biannual networking trip. Originally TFG had requested flights back to Boston from New York at the price of $73 per person on a trip with 25 members of the club; ALBO would only grant money for bus transportation back citing the fact that buses would be one third the cost, according to Class of 2021 Senator Ayden Crosby, who serves on ALBO.

TFG Co-Vice President and Class of 2020 Senator Harry Kong told the body that buses leave at inconvenient times and get back around three or four in the morning.

Elizabeth Clarkson, president of TFG, argued that the group had cut 50 percent of applicants and that the group emphasized diversity among those selected.

“[We] really made a point to make this trip more inclusive to people of all different backgrounds, whether underrepresented students, students of color [or] first generation students,” Clarkson, a senior, said.

Clarkson also told senators that TFG had first asked for funds from the Office of the President, which were granted, in order to reduce the cost for the Tufts community.

Jillian Kleiner, TFG co-vice president, said that, as a woman, she didn’t feel entirely safe in the New York City Port Authority Bus Terminal late at night. But Class of 2022 Senator Iyra Chandra said that she had done the trip by buses many times alone and had never felt unsafe at Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The Senate voted to uphold ALBO’s recommendation by a vote of 21-4-5.

Next, the body heard a resolution to support Foster’s candidacy for a four-year-term as an alumni trustee. The resolution claims that Foster would pursue “transparency, accountability and substantive change that will benefit the Tufts community.”

Authored by Class of 2019 Senators Jonah O’Mara Schwartz and Shane Woolley and Class of 2021 Senator Sarah Wiener, the resolution also calls for reform of the Tufts University Board of Trustees.

O’Mara Schwartz argued that Foster can help bring transparency to the Board of Trustees’ decisions, as many university decisions currently lack transparency.

“All of these things … are, at the end of the day, rubber stamped by the Board of Trustees,” O’Mara Schwartz said. “This is a kind of shady organization that has no accountability and I think that us, as future alumni, should get involved in this campaign by endorsing [Foster].”

The body passed the resolution by a 25-3-2 vote.

The body then held an internal election to fill an open seat on ALBO. Klavs Takhtani, a senior, was elected to the post by ranked choice voting.

TCU Parliamentarian Sharif Hamidi, a sophomore, took the floor to share with the body that it will vote on two resolutions at next week’s meeting, one of which, currently titled “A Resolution Affirming the Tufts Community Union’s Support for Massachusetts Ballot Question 3″ will be in support of a “yes” vote on Massachusetts ballot Question Three. A “yes” vote moves to uphold protections for transgender individuals signed into law in 2016. The other resolution, titled “A Resolution Supporting Tufts Dining Workers in Their Ongoing Contract Negotiations,” will move to endorse dining workers through their contract negotiations.

Martina Tan, a junior and volunteer leader for Yes on 3 at Tufts, presented before the body and encouraged the senators to support the campaign. Tan told the Daily in an electronic message that it was a coincidence that the Senate resolution on Massachusetts ballot Question Three was introduced during the meeting.