TCU Senate calls on Tufts to integrate voter registration into SIS

The TCU Senate convenes in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose room on Sept. 30, 2018. Julia McDowell/The Tufts Daily Archives

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate met in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room on Sunday night to hear a resolution supporting an easier method of voter registration in addition to several supplementary funding requests.

The resolution, titled “19-2 A Resolution Calling on Tufts University to Integrate Voter Registration with the Tufts Student Information System (SIS),” was co-authored by Matthew Tolbert and TCU Senator Griffen Saul.

According to Tolbert, a sophomore, the resolution was inspired by a similar initiative at the University of Chicago, which integrated TurboVote with the university’s online platform, similar to SIS.

Tolbert explained that his efforts to garner support from the university administration were unsuccessful.

“The administration doesn’t want to take on the responsibility of another job, but [the effort] needs enthusiastic student support,” Tolbert said.

JumboVote volunteer Lidya Woldeyesus read a statement to the TCU Senate in support of the resolution.

“By passing this resolution, this body will be affirming its commitment to supporting the civic learning of the members of this community,” Woldeyesus, a first-year, said.

TCU Senator Carolina Olea Lezama questioned the authors on the effect of the resolution on students who are not eligible to vote in U.S. elections, should the resolution come into effect.

“There’s a worry that the assumption that everyone can vote can be alienating to undocumented immigrants who can’t vote here,” Olea Lezama, a first-year, said.

Tolbert added that he hoped the resolution would help galvanize student support for the initiative.

“Student support is really what we need to take this to the next step,” Tolbert said. “This resolution can signal that support.”

The first of several supplementary funding requests heard by the TCU Senate was from the Filipinx Student Union, who were appealing the Allocations Board (ALBO) recommendation for their new budget.

According to TCU Treasurer Izzy Ma, a sophomore, the group was officially recognized by the TCU Judiciary in fall 2018.

The Filipinx Student Union was requesting $994, but ALBO only approved $714 for the group, which excluded funding for a speaking event.

Isabella Urdahl, co-treasurer of the Filipinx Student Union, explained why it was important for the funding for the speaking event, which would host four Filipinx Tufts professors, to be included.

“It’s important that we invite these professors and hear how their identities affected their career paths in academia,” Urdahl, a first-year, said.

TCU Senator and ALBO member Ayden Crosby explained why ALBO initially approved a lower total for the new group’s budget.

“There was a miscommunication on the [honorarium request],” Crosby, a sophomore, said. “It was perceived as a social event.”

The original request for $994 was approved in full.

The Senate approved an ALBO recommendation of $694 for the Tufts Asian Student Coalition (TASC) for funding a speaker event with Kelly Uchima. The request was approved with 25 senators in support and one senator in opposition.

Petey Greene, a service initiative supporting correctional education through the Jonathan M. Tisch College for Civic Life, sought $1000 for its budget, according to an ALBO report.

According to TCU Senator Karishma Chouhan, the organization had previously covered its own costs but now sought TCU funding.

“They’ve been paying out of pocket,” Chouhan, a sophomore, said. “But they’re seeking TCU funding now.”

Petey Greene’s request for $1000 was approved unanimously.

Tufts Bhangra, a competitive traditional Indian dance group, requested $930 for transportation and equipment costs, according to an ALBO report. The request was unanimously approved in full.

TCU President Jacqueline Chen reemphasized the importance of the Swipe it Forward program, noting the dismal state of the swipe bank.

Chen, a senior, also mentioned that applications for the Students Lifting Up the Spirit of the Herd (SLUSH) fund will close this Wednesday.

TCU Senator Grant Gebetsberger, in following up on last week’s resolution on gender parity in the Tufts administration, mentioned correspondence with Judy Neufeld (LA ’05), who worked with the nonprofit foundation that commissioned the study on gender parity in higher education which prompted the resolution.

“We were approached by Judy Neufeld to form a group on campus that would contrinue advocacy for gender parity and continue to affect change on the ground in a sustainable way,” Gebetsberger, a sophomore, said.

The TCU Senate then adjourned for the evening.


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