TCU Senate hears proposed referendum, supplementary funding requests

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate discussed a proposed ballot referendum from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and heard 12 supplementary funding requests and Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget requests in their meeting last night in the Sophia Gordon multipurpose room.

The proposed referendum seeks to address the Tufts University Police Department’s (TUPD) involvement with the Israeli police force and military.

“Students for Justice in Palestine and many other groups are disturbed by Tufts’ participation in the Deadly Exchange,” SJP’s letter to TCU Senate read. “We all believe that safety on campus does not start with military trained police, especially not those trained in a country that is deeply rooted in apartheid and human rights abuses.”

SJP held a seven-day action in November 2019 calling attention to the same issue, during which they sought to highlight the alleged increase in police militarization on campus and end TUPD training trips to Israel.

TCU Parliamentarian Finn McGarghan explained that the referendum would only be put on the presidential ballot in April if they attain 300 signatures in the week following the official submission of the resolution to TCU Senate. If they fail to meet this requirement, TCU Senate will vote on the referendum as they would any other resolution, and it would not be included on the presidential ballot as a referendum question.

If this resolution is indeed placed on the ballot as a referendum question, one-sixth of the Tufts student body would need to vote in order for the referendum to pass. According to McGarghan, the referendum will fail if less than one-sixth of the student body votes or a majority of the voters vote against the referendum.

Elsewhere in the meeting, TCU President Shannon Lee announced that the school has begun the construction of an educational exhibit in Tufts Medical School that will show the history of Tufts’ relationship with the Sackler family.

TCU Treasurer Sharif Hamidi led the body in reviewing weekly supplementary funding requests. TCU Senate heard a total of 12 supplementary funding requests and FY20 budgets from 12 different organizations.

The Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha requested $1,125 to cover the registration fees to attend a Zen Buddhist Retreat in Cumberland, R.I., on March 7. The Allocations Board (ALBO), however, only recommended $1,013.

TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum with 26 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.

The South Asian Political Action Committee submitted a request to fund two speakers who spoke on Feb. 27 for a total of $328. This request passed TCU Senate by acclamation.

The Japanese Culture Club requested a total of $990 to host an arts and crafts workshop hosted by artist Mari Shibuya. This included $500 to host Shibuya and $490 to cover craft supplies and printing costs. This request passed TCU Senate by acclamation.

Women’s Club Basketball requested $1,755 in total for its FY20 budget, covering entry fees, jerseys and referee payments. ALBO recommended $1605, and the budget passed TCU Senate with 26 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.

Club Badminton requested $675 in total for its FY20 budget. The budget, which covered costs for entry fees, rackets and practice birdies, totaling passed the TCU Senate by acclamation.

The Vietnamese Students’ Club requested $3,500 to host Myra Tran, a significant Vietnamese performer who sang on American Idol, on April 18. This request passed TCU Senate with 25 Senators in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.

The American Society of Civil Engineers requested $1,750 to attend the Regional Steel Bridge Competition in Norwich, Vt. in April. The request covers costs for lodging, transportation and uniforms. TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $1,615 with 27 Senators in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.

Public Harmony requested $1,610 to fund equipment for their performances, including funding for a banner, cables, audio and visual equipment and a Cajon drum.

The Cajon cost $171, which caused some debate on whether such an expensive piece of equipment was necessary. ALBO members reassured the body that the sum of $171 was discounted and that the drum was meant to last for five or more years.

TCU Senate passed the request in full with 28 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.

Tufts ENVY requested $300 for lodging costs for a competition in Albany, N.Y., on March 7. TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $270 with 28 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.

Tufts Financial Group requested $399 to attend a networking event in Boston on March 6. TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended request of $344 by acclamation.

Students of Turkey requested $638 in total for its FY20 budget. ALBO recommended $310. The final budget, which included $50 for speaker events, $100 for a Parade of Nations Week cooking class and $160 for an international food festival, passed TCU Senate with 27 Senators in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.

Tufts Economics Society requested $156 to fund their website fees. This request passed TCU Senate by acclamation.

Sino-U.S. Relations Group Engagement (SURGE) requested $608 in total to host speaker Brendan O’Connor on April 10 and April 11. This request included funds for both transport and lodging. The request passed TCU Senate in full by acclamation.


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