TCU Senate calls for Tufts’ investments to be carbon neutral, debates funding new Hall Councils

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 to hear a resolution calling for carbon neutrality in Tufts investments; to discuss a funding request for the Office of Residential Life and Learning (ORLL) to fund its Hall Council and Residence Hall Association proposal; and to hear several supplementary funding requests on Sunday night in the Sophia Gordon Multi-purpose Room.

The resolution, titled “S. 19-7 A Resolution Calling on Tufts University to Transition to a Carbon-Neutral Endowment,” was authored by juniors Hanna Carr and Erica Nork, sophomores Abby Raymond, Sophia Carroll and Lindsay Naher and first-years Rachel Wagner, Grace Anderson, Alyssa Attonito, Temple Miller-Hodgkin and Colton Wolk.

The resolution was adopted by the TCU Senate with 24 senators in favor and none opposed.

Carr explained the authors’ rationale for writing the resolution, which follows a similar one passed by the TCU Senate in 2013 calling for full divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

“It is far too risky and a breach of fiduciary responsibility, as well as a breach of active citizenship, to remain invested in fossil fuels,” Carr said. “The time for Tufts to de-carbonize its endowment is now.”

Later, TCU President Jacqueline Chen and Vice President Adam Rapfogel presented the ORLL’s funding request to the TCU Senate ahead of its upcoming budget meeting.

According to Chen, the informal discussion that followed was on whether to fund the initiative and how much would save time and speed along the budgeting process next week.

Chen and Rapfogel explained that the initiative would enable first-year students to plan and lead their own programming in their respective residence halls, while also providing the opportunity to hold leadership roles in a Hall Council that would oversee a given residence hall and the Residence Hall Association that would oversee all of the Hall Councils.

According to Chen, ORLL requested funding for as much as $23,900 to cover the program, though the TCU Senate considered allocating significantly smaller totals.

TCU Senator Karan Rai explained that he was opposed to allocating any amount towards the new program

“This is literally throwing money at a problem … Tufts has little community and [is] just hoping something works,” Rai, a senior, said. “We shouldn’t fund this it at all. If this is successful this year, we can fund it next year.”

LGBTQ+ Community Senator Kathleen Lanzilla added that substantial totals could be better applied towards other organizations that build community on campus.

“If we were to give more money to the Group of Six instead … I think that that’s a way to create community for the groups that are underrepresented and marginalized on this campus,” Lanzilla, a sophomore, said.

However, Rapfogel said that initial funding was a prerequisite to a fair evaluation of the program.

“We need to have a good year of this,” Rapfogel said. “It’ll be pretty bad if they don’t have enough money to make it good, and if they have a good year by [TCU Senate] only spending $3,000, then it’s more likely [that] it will be good.”

Ultimately, TCU Senate voted to include $3,000 in its upcoming budget for use towards the program, with 16 senators in favor and nine opposed.

Additionally, Chen also reminded the TCU Senate about the upcoming elections for all TCU Senate, Judiciary and Committee on Student Life positions this month.

Chen explained that the Elections General Interest Meeting will be on April 2 at 9 p.m. in Braker 001. The Candidate’s Meeting on April 10, at 9 p.m. and the Candidate’s Forum on April 16 are in the same room. TCU elections will follow on April 17, throughout the day until midnight.

Before the end of the meeting, representative for the School at the Museum of Fine Arts Maia Lai informed the TCU Senate of upcoming elections for student government.

Notable among the offices available is a new position open to dual-degree students, Lai, a junior, explained.

According to Lai, candidates will be able to obtain packets to run for office on April 3, which is due for return on April 10. Elections will be held at SPROM on April 12.

TCU Senate also heard 11 supplementary funding requests from student organizations.

Pulse, an Indian classical dance group, requested $150 to cover the cost of jewelry in its performance costumes, according to an Allocations Board (ALBO) report. The requested total was passed by acclamation.

TuftScope Journal requested $269.15 for a panel event on immigration, according to an ALBO report. The ALBO recommended total of $264 was passed by acclamation.

According to an ALBO report, Global China Connection requested $1,590 for a national conference in Washington, D.C. The ALBO recommended total of $1,400 was passed by acclamation.

Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha requested $1,680 for an off-campus retreat in North Andover, Mass. According to Rai, the group’s emphasis on meditation would be difficult to accomplish surrounded by the distracting atmosphere of campus. The ALBO recommended total of $1,479 was passed by acclamation.

Japanese Culture Club requested $1,265 for an upcoming retreat, according to an ALBO report. The ALBO recommended total of $1,114 was passed by acclamation.

According to an ALBO report, Men’s Club Volleyball requested $3,000 for an upcoming competition in Denver, Colo. The ALBO recommended total of $2,640 was passed with 17 senators in favor, six opposed and two abstaining.

Rock Climbing requested $11,455 for an upcoming national competition in Tennessee, according to an ALBO report. The ALBO recommended total of $9,359 was approved with 25 senators in favor and none opposed.

The first of two requests from the Queer Students Assocation was for $50 as an honorarium for speaker Eran Efrati at its upcoming event with Students for Justice in Palestine, according to an ALBO report. The honorarium was approved with 23 senators in favor, one abstaining and one opposed.

The second request from the Queer Students Association was for supplementary funding to cover performance, food and decoration costs at its upcoming 2019 Drag Show. The ALBO recommended total of $872 was approved with 24 senators in favor, one abstaining and one opposed.

According to an ALBO report, the Crafts Center requested $600 for two new sewing machines. The TCU Senate approved the request, which passed by acclamation.

Future Histories Literary Magazine requested $2,250 to cover spring issue printing costs, according to an ALBO report. The TCU Senate approved the ALBO recommended total of $2,250 with 17 senators in favor and eight opposed.


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