If you had asked me on Aug. 19, 2019, whether I would vote for Tim if he were to run for TCU president, I would have emphatically said, “Yes!” Keep in mind that this was the day that I had my first-ever conversation with Tim, so just knowing that he was “that guy on Senate” was enough for me. Almost two years later, I would echo the same “Yes!” but now with solid evidence and confidence backing up why I would vote for him.
The jury’s still out on when I actually met Tim for the first time, but our friendship began when we both were put in the same support staff group during the First-Year Orientation CommUnity Service pre-orientation program in 2019 (thanks JulZAddy!). I immediately noticed how dedicated Tim was to getting to know our group and making sure that we could create the best experience for the incoming first-years we were about to greet. We made plans for all of us to get acquainted with each other at Dunkin’ and the rest is, dare I say, history…
Tim’s role in FOCUS is just one reason why he would make an amazing TCU president. As a member of support staff, he went out of his way to be a resource to first-years, and his enthusiasm about Tufts as well as his humility and confidence helped foster meaningful connections with our FOCUS-ers. He went on to co-coordinate the program in 2020, the year when the coordinators had to plan a virtual FOCUS experience from scratch, all while focusing(!) on improving the program for students of color, especially for Black and brown students, and creating a better space for reflection, dialogue and action by implementing training for leaders to facilitate conversations about social justice.
As a FOCUS leader myself last year, I was initially worried about what FOCUS-ers would take away from a virtual experience, since I continually cite FOCUS as the best part of my Tufts experience. My worries quickly subsided as I witnessed the care and preparation that the coordinators put into planning the program. Throughout the program and beyond, Tim made lasting connections with community leaders and organizations in Medford and Somerville, as he led events and moderated panels with thoughtfulness, uplifted the work of leaders in our host communities and made sure that incoming first-years had the resources to become active members of the Medford and Somerville community. The last night of FOCUS, I remember thinking, “Wow, he did THAT!”
Tim is dedicated to making Tufts an accessible space for all students, uplifting the voices of marginalized students on campus and ensuring that Tufts promotes values of equity and justice. His time and accomplishments on TCU Senate are a testament to how hard he works for the Tufts community and that he can get stuff DONE. He was instrumental in the adoption of exceptional pass/fail grading, expansion of late-night study during finals at Dewick and the expansion of the Turkey Shuttle for transportation to the airport during Thanksgiving break (all things that have personally improved my Tufts experience!). When campus closed last year during the start of the pandemic and all of us were processing being on campus one day and forced off campus the next, Tim was busy circulating petitions and talking to the administration to make sure that we adopted a progressive pass/fail option. When the late-night study program took place in fall 2019, I remember making plans with Tim to hang out at Dewick because he wanted to take extra shifts late at night to cover for others and make sure that everything was running smoothly. These are just a few out of countless examples where Tim goes out of his way to improve Tufts and listens to the concerns of Tufts students to make sure that the administration actively responds to the growing needs of the Tufts community.
Tim is running on the values of solidarity, equity and accountability by advocating to work with campus organizations to build coalitions, amplifying the voices of all marginalized students and holding the Tufts administration accountable by students. His thorough policy plans have taken the interests of every Tufts student, as he will push for streamlining the financial aid appeals process, abolishing (not just renaming) TUPD, creating an equitable vaccine clinic on campus, expanding academic accommodations, mandating bystander training and many other policies that will greatly enhance the Tufts experience. Tim is also committed to making sure that TCU Senate is a student advocacy body that welcomes, rather than antagonizes, students of color, low-income students and other marginalized students. From watching Tim coordinate FOCUS, I know that he will not just work with his fellow senators to generate ideas, but he will also meet with students and groups on campus to find innovative solutions to our most pressing problems. Tim recognizes that being TCU President means being the leader of the Tufts Community UNION. As such, he will bring every voice to the table in his work with the administration. This is not an empty promise. Tim led an effort to bring a farmer’s market onto campus to involve local food producers and reduce barriers to accessing healthy food. Although this effort was interrupted by the pandemic’s onset, Tim will continue to push the administration as president to embrace ideas like that and much more. I know that Tim can follow through on his goals because he has already followed through on so many of his ideas in Senate.
Voting for Tim this election is an easy “Yes!” for me. I’m in awe of his creativity, attentiveness and ambition, and I know that with everything that he has achieved so far, on and off Senate, there’s no doubt in my mind that his leadership will bring the necessary improvements to Tufts that we’ve all been looking for. From his sense of humor to sense of urgency in responding to pressing issues, Tim embodies all the qualities I appreciate in a friend and would like to see in our TCU President. I can’t think of anybody else who genuinely cares about the well-being of every Tufts student and staff member more than Tim does. To me, Tim went from being “that guy on Senate” to one of my closest friends at Tufts, so I’d be thrilled to see him become the Tufts student body’s closest friend as TCU president.
Nithya Badrinath is a junior studying international relations. Nithya can be reached at [email protected]