TCU Senate passes resolutions in support of trans rights, dining workers

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, an appeal of an Allocations Board (ALBO) decision by the Tufts Ballroom Dance Team, as well as vote on two resolutions that would affirm the Senate’s support for a “yes” vote on Massachusetts Ballot Question 3 and support Tufts Dining Workers in their ongoing contract negotiations with the Tufts administration.

TCU Treasurer Izzy Ma, a sophomore, began the meeting by introducing the Tufts Ballroom Dance Team, who appeared before the body to appeal a previous ALBO recommendation.

According to Ma, the student group had made a supplementary funding request for $1,700 to cover transportation to the Brown Ballroom Competition on October 28. ALBO had declined to meet the entirety of the request, and instead voted to fund $1,496, subtracting 12 percent in personal contribution fees that are attached to most ALBO recommendations.

Tufts Ballroom Dance Team Treasurer Graham Bright, a senior, said that the personal contribution added to an already high financial burden for members that most other student groups are not subject to.

“Each article of clothing for the leaders (shirt, shoes, pants, vest) is upward of $100. Followers have to pay for dresses which are often several hundred dollars as well as shoes. Fees for the competitions are $40-50,” Bright told the Daily in an electronic message. “I therefore don’t think students should also be expected to pay for transportation to the events.”

After a debate and vote, the Senate voted to overturn the recommended $1,498, instead voting to fund the entirety of the requested $1,700 by a vote of 19-6-1.

The Senate then turned to hear supplementary funding requests.

The body approved supplementary funding requests for the following groups: $1,000 for Tufts Tap Ensemble, $1,000 for Tufts Culinary Society, $750 for the Crafts Center, $169 for Tufts Bhangra, $225 for Amnesty International, $4,012 for Tufts ALLIES, and $880 for Enchanted A Capella.

Next, the Senate moved to hear and vote upon two resolutions.

TCU Parliamentarian Sharif Hamidi, a sophomore, introduced the first of the resolutions, intended to affirm “the TCU Senate’s support for the 2018 Massachusetts Ballot Question 3,” according to resolution documents provided to the Daily.

Affirming support for the ballot question would guarantee that, “the TCU Senate fully and unequivocally stands behind the passage of Massachusetts Ballot Question 3 and equality in public accommodations for the transgender community at Tufts,” according to the document.

The resolution, authored by Diversity and Community Affairs officer Grant Gebetsberger, Class of 2019 Senator Shane Woolley and LGBTQ+ Community Senator Kathleen Lanzilla, a sophomore, also states that the “TCU Senate urges all members of the TCU to stand in solidarity with transgender students, faculty, and staff by supporting the passage of Massachusetts Ballot Question 3.”

Gebetsberger, a sophomore, argued that the resolution is important as the Senate has often passed resolutions in favor of the greater Tufts community, and should continue precedent.

“In the past, the TCU Senate has stepped up to condemn racism against the Asian American community in the 1980s and homophobia on campus in the 1990s. TCU Senate has endorsed positions on ballot questions as recently as two years ago, along with its support for the Safe Communities Act,” Gebetsberger told the Daily in an electronic message. “TCU Senate has a long and recorded history of taking strong stances, and it’s crucial that we continue to speak out in the face of injustice.”

The body passed the resolution by a unanimous vote.

Next, the body moved to consider a resolution in support of the Tufts Dining Service employees, who are currently engaged in contract negotiations.

Submitted by Woolley, senior Mia Lambert and sophomore Jesse Ryan, the resolution states that, “the TCU Senate urges Tufts University to continue to bargain in good faith and fully respect the dining workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain.”

Additionally, the resolution calls for the administration to, “negotiate a fair and just contract with the dining workers’ union that meets their demands for a living wage … affordable and comprehensive health care provided by Tufts University, dignity and inclusion in the workplace, and a fully staffed workplace in which dining workers are not overworked or forced to work outside of their job descriptions,” according to the text of resolution.

After the Senate discussion, the body passed the resolution by a 24-1-0 vote.

Finally, TCU President Jacqueline Chen took the floor to announce an upcoming special election to fill currently vacant two Class of 2020 Senator seats, a First Generation Community Senator seat and an International Community Senator seat. Chen said that the general interest meeting will be held on Oct. 29, the candidate’s meeting will be held on Nov. 1, the candidates forum will be held on Nov. 7 and the election will be held on Nov. 8.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the date of the candidate’s meeting for the upcoming Tufts Community Union Senate special election. The article has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily regrets this error.


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