TCU Senate meets to hear funding requests and begin reviewing bylaws

The TCU Senate convenes in the Sophia Gordon Multi-Purpose Room on Sept. 30, 2018. (Julia McDowell / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met on Sunday night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to hear several supplementary funding requests and to begin the process for amending the TCU Senate bylaws to prepare for next week.

The TCU Senate heard ten supplementary funding requests; all but four of which were approved in full by the TCU Senate Allocations Board (ALBO).

The Women’s Volleyball club requested $435 for competition and officiating fees, according to an ALBO report provided to the Daily.

According to TCU Senator Pedro Andre Lazo-Rivera, a junior, the request was approved unanimously by the TCU Senate.

Shotokan Karate was granted $1,500 for new sparring gloves, staves and padded floor mats, according to Lazo-Rivera.

The Men’s Basketball club requested $1,000 to pay in part for competition fees and equipment, according to an ALBO report, with the rest of the cost covered by external fundraising. According to Lazo-Rivera, the request was approved unanimously.

The Men’s Spikeball club requested $675 for fees for five tournaments, though ALBO recommended only $375, according to its report. The request was approved for only $225, allowing for three tournaments, by a 21–3 margin, according to Lazo-Rivera.

Friends of Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy group, initially requested $8,035 for travel and registration costs to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference in late March, according to an ALBO report.

The TCU Senate voted to allocate only $5,397 to the group with nine senators supporting, seven abstaining, and seven opposed, adhering to the allocation rule which states that no more than six members of an organization may be allocated funding for travel to a conference, according to Lazo-Rivera.

TCU Senate Historian Rebeca Becdach, a sophomore, explained that although most of the debate focused on transportation costs, senators abstained from voting for other reasons.

“[Senators] abstain because they’re not informed or they want to avoid biases,” Becdach explained, “but I can’t speak for the opinions of others.”

The Brazilian Students Association (BRASA) initially requested $980 to fund its itemized fiscal year 2019 budget, according to an ALBO report. ALBO recommended $810, which was approved unanimously by the TCU Senate, according to Lazo-Rivera.

The School at the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) Yoga requested $1200 for a yoga instructor payment, according to an ALBO report. The amount was approved in full, according to Lazo-Rivera.

WuZee, a Chinese fusion dance troupe, requested $80 for travel costs to a performance at the Boston Public Library. ALBO denied the request and was subsequently supported unanimously by of the TCU Senate, according to Lazo-Rivera.

Tufts Cricket requested $962 as initial funding to start the group, according to an itemized request submitted to the ALBO. The TCU Senate unanimously approved the request in full, according to Lazo-Rivera.

The final supplementary funding request heard on Sunday night was by QuestBridge Scholars, who requested $725 for conference travel costs for three members, according to an ALBO report. The request was approved unanimously by the TCU Senate.

Before adjourning, TCU Senate Vice President Adam Rapfogel, a senior, updated the status on the Student Leadership Stipends initiative.

According to Becdach, $10,000 was allocated for this year, and 29 applications were received for 51 positions, 17 of which have been approved.

“One of the considerations is ‘Is this keeping you from a part-time job?’” Becdach explained. “The applications are for a position to be funded if the person is on financial aid.”

TCU Senate Parliamentarian Sharif Hamidi, a sophomore, announced the opening of the TCU Senate bylaws to amendments next week, according to Becdach.

Becdach explained that Hamidi would aid senators in drafting their own amendments before debate at the TCU Senate meeting next Sunday, but the meeting was intended to focus on the amendment proposed by the TCU Senate Executive Board.

“Anyone who wants to draft an amendment can do so and present it in front of the body,” Becdach explained. “But the reason we’re doing it is that we’ve been discussing a clause so that people who observe a religious holiday can petition, and we won’t hear resolution on those days.”