TCU Senate votes on amendments to Treasury Procedures Manual, discusses food insecurity on campus

The jumbo statue is pictured on September 12, 2021. (Ava Iannuccillo / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts Community Union Senate voted on several amendments to the Treasury Procedures Manual and committee chairs discussed their plans for the coming year in their first meeting of the semester on Sunday. 

After a brief roll call was taken, TCU Treasurer and Allocations Board Chair Elizabeth Hom introduced several proposed amendments to the Treasury Procedures Manual for the 2021–22 year. 

Among the proposed changes was a rise in the food cap, which is the amount of money a group can spend on food for its members, for cultural and religious student organizations from a 50% food cap to a 60% food cap. Currently, cultural and religious groups have a food cap of 50% and all other student groups have a cap of 25%. 

“I’m proposing to increase the food cap for cultural and religious groups,” Hom, a senior, said. “The reasoning for this is last year I budgeted cultural groups and I found a lot of cultural groups are still struggling to stay under that 50%.”

The amendment passed unanimously with 21 senators in favor. 

Hom then introduced an amendment that would increase the maximum funding for new student organizations that request funding from $2,000 to $3,000 for the current fiscal year. 

The amendment passed unanimously with 21 senators in favor. 

The discussion then turned to the committee chairs, who shared their goals for the upcoming semester. 

Valerie Infante, administration and policy committee chair, outlined several of the committee’s plans for the year, including tackling big issues like sexual assault, suicide and hate crimes on campus. 

“Less than two weeks in we already have a hate crime on campus,” Infante, a junior, said. “I think administration should be held more accountable about this.”

Infante added that the administration should be more accommodating and sympathetic towards those who have faced sexual assault, suicide attempts or death of loved ones. 

“The least the administration can do is give them extended deadlines for everything and if they need medical leave they should still get credit for their classes and not have to take another semester at Tufts which is a huge financial burden for everyone,” Infante said.

The session concluded with an open forum in which TCU Historian Mariana Janer-Agrelot discussed the issue of food insecurity on campus over the past several weeks.  

“There’s a lot of food insecurity on campus,” Janer-Agrelot, a sophomore, said. “There are times that the dining halls are not open or are completely full . . . dining halls close at nine, not at ten . . . so a lot of people will be left without eating during the day or after their classes.” 

Janer-Agrelot proposed the idea of operating a food bank for students, as well as discussing with Tufts Dining about ways to help create more food options for students. 

“We could possibly do a food bank for our students . . . and also obviously opening a dialogue with Tufts Dining because Tufts Dining also manages Commons and all those places with meal swipes,” she said

Class of 2024 Senator Liani Astacio also emphasized the issue of food insecurity on campus, especially for RAs who are not receiving a meal plan as part of their compensation this year.

“A lot of RAs have been complaining about not getting meal swipes as compensation, they’re only getting free housing,” Astacio said. “And obviously that’s a problem because a higher percentage of RAs are on financial aid and are on campus and can’t cook or use kitchens.”