The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate passed two resolutions and approved 14 supplementary funding requests, including an appeal, during its meeting on March 8 in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose room.
While TCU Senate had originally planned on reviewing more supplementary funding requests, TCU Treasurer Sharif Hamidi announced at the time that some events had been canceled due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. Hamidi added that at the time, which was prior to Tufts’ decision to suspend in-person classes for the semester, the events were not canceled due to any action taken by TCU Senate or Tufts, but instead were canceled by the parties involved in hosting the events.
“Due to concerns relating to the global coronavirus outbreak, the [Collegiate Alliance for Imigration Reform] Conference hosted by Tufts [United for Immigrant Justice], as well as two of the three competitions attended by the Tufts Ballroom [Team], have been canceled,” Hamidi said. “As a result, Senate will not be voting on those requests.”
The first resolution passed by the TCU Senate, titled “S. 20-1 A Resolution Calling for Tufts University to Publish Undergraduate Course Syllabi” stated that course syllabi should be published and updated frequently on the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives and that course descriptions on the Student Information System (SIS) should be more accurate.
The resolution also called on Tufts to update Tufts’ yearly Bulletin with general course information and academic program descriptions
This resolution, sponsored by the TCU Senate’s Education Committee, passed with 24 senators in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.
The second resolution passed by the TCU Senate, titled “S. 20-2 A Resolution Calling on Tufts University to Reevaluate the Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences’ World Civilization Foundation Requirement in its Current Form,” called on the school to review and update the university’s World Civilization requirement.
The resolution cited an op-ed authored by members of the Education Committee published in the Daily on Feb. 4, in which they argued that educating students on matters relating to diversity would promote inclusivity at Tufts.
The TCU Senate called on Tufts to review the World Civilization requirement and consider including instruction on “cultural competency skills,” or replace it entirely with a “diversity and inclusion requirement.”
The resolution also stated that the revised requirement should focus on teaching students to better understand the experiences of marginalized communities, as well as how non-marginalized communities can contribute to advancing “equity, inclusion, and acceptance.”
The resolution also called for including the revised requirement into the undergraduate curriculum of the School of Engineering, a comprehensive and transparent review of Tufts’ undergraduate curriculum and establishing policies to do so regularly.
Hamidi, a junior, also led the body in reviewing 14 supplementary funding requests from 13 student organizations.
Ears for Peers requested $995 to cover food, travel and lodging costs for an additional 10 members to attend a previously approved retreat to Cape Cod. The Allocations Board (ALBO) recommended $896, 90% of the requested amount.
TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $896 by acclamation.
Tufts Applejam requested $800 to fund a publication, group merchandise and artist fees. ALBO recommended that TCU Senate cover all but the publication fee, totaling $550. Applejam appealed this recommendation to the entire TCU Senate body.
TCU Senator Tim Leong voted against funding publication fees in the initial ALBO vote. He argued that they should not cover Applejam’s publication fees in the goal of reaching consistency across all organizations regarding publication fees.
“We don’t really offer … publications to any other … organizations like TUSC or TEDx,” Leong, a sophomore, said. “We felt in order to be consistent, it was only fair that we treat Applejam the same as those organizations, and we weren’t prepared to fund a publication for every single programing group.”
TCU Senate eventually voted to increase the allocation to the originally requested $800. TCU Senate passed the requested sum of $800 with 19 Senators in favor, nine opposed and one abstaining.
Tufts Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES) submitted two separate supplementary funding requests, one of which sought $2,682 to fund transportation and food costs for a simulation in Rhode Island in early April. TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $2,109 with 28 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.
The second request from ALLIES, totaling $700, would fund transportation and lodging for two speakers. TCU Senate passed the request in full by acclamation.
The Muslim Students Association requested a total of $3,200 to fund a series of five guest speakers. TCU Senate passed this request in full with 29 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.
Tufts Turbo requested $3,830 to fund its Turbomania Breakdance Competition. This request would fund judges, an emcee, a DJ and videographer. TCU Senate passed this request in full with 29 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.
Tufts Democrats requested $1,410 for registration, housing and transportation costs to attend the College Democrats National Regional Conference in Washington, D.C. in early April. TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $1,269 by acclamation.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society requested $820 to fund a guest to lead a workshop, covering transportation and lodging costs. TCU Senate passed the request in full with 29 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.
Tufts’ Ballroom Dance Team requested $3,435 to attend a competition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $3,092 with 29 Senators in favor, none opposed and none abstaining.
Girls in STEM requested $179 to provide lunch swipes to elementary school students on a field trip. TCU Senate passed this request in full by acclamation.
The Arab Students Association requested $3,045 to cover per diem and travel costs to host speaker Rabab Abdulhadi from March 26 to April 2.
TCU Senate passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $2,782 with 19 Senators in favor, eight opposed and one abstaining.
Students for Justice in Palestine requested $2,250 to fund two guest speakers. TCU Senate passed this request in full with 28 Senators in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.
Global China Connection requested $840 to fund an alumni luncheon, including funds for food, supplies and gifts. TCU Senate passed the request in full by acclamation.
TEDxTufts requested $2,000 to fund the printing of 400 program booklets for itsTEDx event on March 8.
This request entered a period of debate, in which some senators protested that it would constitute retroactive funding — not allowed by TCU Senate’s policies.
Others in favor of the request believed that the booklets improved the experience of attendees, noting that the request had been discussed with TCU Treasurer Hamidi prior to the event.
TCU Senate eventually passed the ALBO-recommended sum of $1,000 with 19 Senators in favor, eight opposed and none abstaining.