TCU Senate approves resolution calling for ASL minor

Members of TCU Senate are pictured during a meeting on Feb. 6, 2022. Tess Harmon / The Tufts Daily
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The TCU Senate approved on Dec. 4 a resolution to add more American Sign Language courses to the Tufts curriculum, which would allow students to minor in the language. During the meeting, the Senate also read the text of two new resolutions and approved 14 supplementary budget requests.

Ben Sagerian, a coauthor of the resolution, spoke at the Senate meeting on the importance of offering a minor and more classes to the ASL program at Tufts.

“Tufts currently only offers three sections of American Sign Language, which means that after this semester, [we] have no option to continue this language as it stands,” Sagerian, a sophomore, said. “Tufts has the resources and the responsibility to put a program in place that fulfills the full language requirement and gives students the opportunity to become fluent or proficient in this language.”

The resolution formally calls upon the university to add a minimum of two additional ASL language courses and at least one Deaf culture course and proposes moving the ASL program from the Department of Child Study and Human Development to the Department of International Literacy and Cultural Studies.

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The resolution passed with no senators voting against it, and requested a response from Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences James Glaser within two weeks.

The Senate then read proposals for two new resolutions which would establish a permanent disability community senate seat and call on the university to develop a plan working towards “a true anti-racist institution,” respectively.

The first proposal would “establish a permanent disability community senator seat to begin the work of removing access barriers and supporting community among disabled students at Tufts,” according to the text of the resolution. The TCU Senate currently has several community senator seats, including a women’s community senator and an Africana community senator.

The second proposal calls upon the Tufts administration, president and board of trustees to hire and retain more Black faculty and develop an “action plan which ensures commitment to promises made by the Office of the President to … become an anti-racist institution.” The resolution, which was written by the Pan Afrikan Alliance, comes after the group publicly called for students to “unite against the institution’s false claims of ‘anti-racism.’”

The senate will vote on both resolutions next week.

Following the reading of the resolutions, the senate heard 14 supplementary funding requests from ENVY, Mock Trial, Persian Student Association, Taiwanese Association of Students at Tufts, Boxers on the Hill, Pre-Vet Society, Tufts DREAM, Minority Association of Premedical Students, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Future Histories, Tufts China Care, Ears for Peers and Vietnamese Students Club. The final supplementary funding request was to pay for senate initiatives. All requests were approved.

During the announcements phase of the meeting, senators spoke about the upcoming clothing swap on Dec. 10 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Cummings Center. 

Additionally, TCU President Jaden Pena and Vice President Arielle Galinsky recapped a meeting with the administration to discuss placing menstrual products in each campus bathroom. They said the administration showed interest in the idea, and Pena suggested the project could come to fruition by the next academic year.

TCU Parliamentarian Zachary Ferretti was named Senator of the Week, and the meeting was adjourned. 

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