TCU Senate elects trustee representatives

TCU senates are reviewing the changes for the new treasury policies at the first senate meeting in SoGo on Sept. 8, 2019. Mengqi Irina Wang / The Tufts Daily

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate elected Veronica Stewart-Frommer, Charming Dube, Tiffany Xie, Kevin Gleason and Philip Miller to the five open slots for student representative to the Tufts University Board of Trustees at its meeting in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room last night.

There were seven students who ran for the posts.

TCU President Shannon Lee told the Daily following the meeting that she and TCU Vice President Sylvester Bracey appointed Dube, Miller and Gleason as a non-voting representatives on the Administration and Finance Committee, Academic Affairs Committee and University Advancement Committee respectively. Xie and Stewart-Frommer will be suggested by the Senate to the Board for the single post of a voting member of the Student Affairs Committee

The Board will choose between them. The decisions were made based on the Senate preference vote, according to Lee.

Lee said that all the students the Senate elected showed through their interviews, which took place in a closed session of the Senate before the open meeting, that they are passionate about making students’ voices heard on the Board.

“The Board of Trustees can be an intimidating place, but they’ve all demonstrated that they are all very committed to learning and listening to the process.” Lee said. “I also think that they come from very different parts of campus, so they’ll be able to represent students very meaningfully.”

Andrew Vu, a Class of 2022 senator said that the candidates had stressed making the position of trustee representative more accessible to students in their interviews.

“A very good thing that they all brought to the table was that they are problem-solvers … and their history of how they interact with student government made me really confident that the people I voted for are going to make a much bigger impact than we’ve seen,” Vu said.

He highlighted a proposal Dube had made in his interview of engaging directly with student groups to get their input, which Vu thought would be a novel way of involving students in the workings of the university’s governing body.

Class of 2021 Senator Ayden Crosby stressed the preparedness of the elected candidates during their interviews.

“It was really clear that they could hit the ground running at the Board of Trustees meeting, because there’s only three of them and they need to act quick and adapt really quickly. They’re also all really well spoken and it was clear they would be able to stand up when needed to,” Crosby said.

The election, however, did not go off without a hitch; after the first round of voting produced a tie, the senators went into a tiebreaker vote. The 21 senators still managed to tie the tiebreaker, forcing a third vote at a meeting that ran more than three hours.

After the trustee representative elections were finished, the senators heard a presentation from Matt Soderberg and Patrick Liu of the Tufts Community Outreach Project on their upcoming Outreach Day, during which hundreds of students will head into Medford and Somerville to work with 17 local community organizations to do service.

The organization is funded through partnerships with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.

The pair also said that a focus of the day would be educating students about Tufts’ host communities.

Liu said that while the program is funded by the university and they have worked with the Tufts’ office of government and community relations to create the materials, the presentations will provide positives and negatives of the relationship.

The final order of business for the night was a discussion of the rubric on which senators write their reports on teaching evaluations of professors up for tenure.

Senators made suggestions on changes centered on making sure that professors are approachable for all Tufts students and efforts to increase affordability.