The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate elected two additional members to the TCU Senate Allocations Board (ALBO) and discussed an effort by Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to present a resolution titled “End the Deadly Exchange at Tufts” as a referendum to the entire student body.
TCU Senate President Sarah Wiener opened the meeting by introducing Joe Golia, director of the Office of Campus Life (OCL), to the body. Golia explained how the OCL works closely with the TCU Senate and Judiciary.
He introduced the OCL team and described some of the projects the office worked on during the summer and at the beginning of the semester, including releasing JumboLife, an online, student engagement platform.
Golia also reminded the Senate that many projects do not always produce immediate results.
“There’s so much that has happened, based on what Senate has brought to the floor, but it may have happened after [past senators] graduated,” Golia said. “I always give that piece of advice to just keep it going … and hopefully it is something that could happen.”
Following Golia’s discussion, Wiener, a senior, spoke about Indigenous Peoples Day and providing a platform for members to share resources commemorating Indigenous history.
“We clearly had classes on Indigenous Peoples Day, and we didn’t have Senate, but we want to spend some time of our meeting today talking about Indigeneity and giving everyone some resources about how to talk about Indigeneity in other spaces,” Wiener said.
During the meeting, Senate also heard one supplementary funding request from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
NSBE requested $126 to send 11 members to a virtual networking conference. Six members of ALBO voted in favor, none opposed and one abstained. It passed TCU Senate by acclamation.
After hearing the single supplementary funding request, Elections Commission (ECOM) Technician Spencer Ha led an internal election where TCU Senate elected two members to ALBO.
“ALBO is basically chiefly responsible for having this first look at all financial stuff that Senate has to do,” TCU Treasurer Sharif Hamidi, a senior and chair of ALBO, said. “Whenever Senate has to appropriate any kind of money, ALBO gets the first look at it, so in the spring that means writing the budgets for every club that’s recognized at Tufts, and then throughout the year it also means passing funding requests.”
Hadiya Giwa, Trenton Debonis, Arielle Galinsky, Mariana Janer Angrelot and Miela Efraim, all first-years, contested two vacant seats on ALBO.
After an opening statement from each candidate and a brief question and answer period, Ha announced that Giwa and Janer Angrelot won the election.
Giwa’s platform consisted of supporting student organizations that emulate diversity and support students of color.
“I can really see the charge and initiative that ALBO has when it comes to determining the amount of funding that different clubs get,” Giwa said. “Part of my platform was seeing that there is higher funding for diverse clubs, who specifically support students of color.”
Janer Angrelot’s platform consisted of emphasizing activities that adhered to COVID-19 health guidelines.
“I’m interested in this division because I want to know how ALBO works from the inside,” Janer Angrelot said. “It’s very important to me that a lot of COVID-19 activities are emphasized, [and] I feel ALBO should take a role in that.”
TCU Parliamentarian Taylor Lewis then explained SJP’s goal to convert its resolution titled “End the Deadly Exchange at Tufts” into a referendum and present it to the Tufts community.
While resolutions are only voted on by the members of the TCU Senate, referenda, on the other hand, reach the entire student body.
“A referendum is usually thought to be a little bit more powerful than a resolution, at least in my mind, because this is something that they have to get signatures for,” Lewis, a senior, said.
According to Lewis, resolutions are usually transformed into referenda by opponents of a resolution, who are hoping to take the decision away from a limited number of senators.
“I think it’s important to understand [that this process] was introduced as an amendment to the TCU Constitution, as a way for opponents [of a resolution] or anyone in the body to basically take the vote out of Senate’s hands,” Lewis said.
The meeting concluded with remarks from TCU Vice President Grant Gebetsberger and TCU President Sarah Wiener.
Wiener spent time discussing ongoing projects between Senate and the OCL. She also spoke about developments that would make it easier for students to continue spending time outdoors, despite the colder weather and diminishing amount of daylight.
“Some of the ideas that are being pursued and floated around are having twinkly lights wrapped around trees to have more lighting outside, heaters that either project heat off buildings and on the ground and …heated benches,” Wiener said.
Wiener closed the meeting by recognizing the university’s successful efforts in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on campus, but warned Senate to remain cautious.
“We’ve been here longer than a lot of people expected, and it’s starting to show,” Wiener said. “As leaders, something good to keep in mind [is] that we are taking risks every day, and every day the public health and the health of our host communities is in our hands. The best practices that you can have and be a leader in your friend groups and other circles are really important to continue.”