TCU Senate discusses funding for political groups

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate convened yesterday in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to discuss updates, funding requests and upcoming initiatives.

TCU President Shannon Lee opened the meeting with a moment of silence in recognition of the recent passing of a member of the Class of 2023.

The meeting continued with further updates, including that of the upcoming Mental Health Town Hall, which University President Anthony Monaco will attend.

After further updates, the Senate then moved to discuss funding requests from Tufts Democrats, Persian Students Association, Tufts Pulse and Tufts Republicans.

Regarding Tufts Democrats, the Senate discussed their requests for funding in order to help with campaigns for candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. They requested $900, but the TCU Allocation Board’s (ALBO) recommendation was $778. After questions from the TCU body, the Senate passed the ALBO recommendation 20–0.

Next, the Senate discussed the Persian Students Association’s request for their upcoming backgammon event open to Persian student clubs at universities all over Boston. The group asked for $90, which ALBO matched. The Senate voted by acclamation to approve their request.

Following that vote, the Senate discussed Pulse’s request for funding to attend competitions in Raleigh, N.C. and Pittsburgh, Pa. Pulse requested $3,860 while ALBO’s recommendation was $3,494. Following question from the body regarding deposits and airfare, the Senate voted to approve the ALBO recommendation with all in favor.

Finally, the senate discussed the request by Tufts Republicans to send six people to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. The group requested $2,504 in funding, to which ALBO recommended allocating $2,268. After questions from the body, the body motioned to vote on the request, which garnered seconds and objections. As a result, the Senate opened into debate where members discussed the validity of the request. 

TCU Historian Rabiya Ismail discussed controversies surrounding the request regarding the discriminatory histories of certain speakers at the conference.

Lee supported affirming the request, as she asserted that it is not appropriate for Senate to decide which positions are “immoral” or discriminate against a given group for holding certain views.

Following Lee’s statement, another senator mentioned that certain CPAC members spread hate, meaning the request should not be granted. Another member shared her view that she cannot vote to send students to attend a conference where speakers are racist and Islamophobic.

Lee responded by stressing that senators should not penalize members for doing things they have not done yet.

“You cannot police what a group wants to do,” Lee asserted.

With a narrow vote, the Senate voted to continue the debate.

Class of 2020 Senator Phil Miller then if the funding was allocated for the attendance of the conference last year, and TCU Treasurer Sharif Hamidi confirmed that the Tufts Republicans were granted funding.

The Senate then voted to end the debate with 19 in favor and six opposed.

Following the long debate, the Senate then narrowly voted with seven in favor, seven opposed and nine abstentions. As a result, Hamidi moved to reopen to the debate.

The Senate then voted 14–8 to table the request. The Senate will discuss the request from the Tufts Republicans next week.

The body moved to Parliamentarian Finn McGarghan, who discussed future resolutions, including one entitled “Resolution calling for Tufts to formally recognize that it currently inhabits Indigenous land.”

After a call for community updates and an update regarding meetings, Lee reminded the Senate of the December deadline for the Senate’s Election Committee applications. 

Following updates, the meeting adjourned.

Correction: A previous version of this article mischaracterized a statement by Rabiya Ismail, a Class of 2022 senator. The lines referring to Ismail’s statement have been removed from the article. The Daily regrets this error.