Groups tackle recognition process
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 01:10
With nearly 200 clubs and on-campus organizations at Tufts, there is never a shortage of activities to strike your fancy. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always start up a new club — every year several new groups apply for recognition through the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ).
As a part of the process of recognition, student groups must provide the TCUJ with elements including a constitution, concrete proof of activity and a varied membership base. According to TCUJ Chair Adam Sax, a senior, these are the objective components of their decision to recognize or not recognize a group.
“There are certain key elements that each group needs to bring to the table,” Sax said. “The objective parts are just there so ... there’s this level playing field for groups within the TCU as well as groups applying to become part of the TCU.”
There are aspects of the decision that are judged on a case-by-case basis, however. The Judiciary works to determine whether or not the group will serve a certain niche that is not already addressed by other groups on campus.
“These subjective elements — in combination with the objective elements -— are as fair as it can be. We don’t see, and there hasn’t ever been, a truly 100 percent objective way to do this,” Sax said. “It is a judgment call on the part of the Judiciary, but, as elected officials, we’re elected to make these judgment calls, in a way.”
This year, four groups have been recognized — or rerecognized — including Midnight (at Tufts), Tufts Armenian Club, Amnesty International and Love146.
Midnight (at Tufts)
Midnight (at Tufts), which puts on free concerts for all Tufts students, was rerecognized by TCUJ this fall. Sophomores Max Bienstock, Dan Katter and Dan Turkel applied for recognition seeking to continue the group’s mission after last year’s leadership failed to complete the paperwork in the rerecognition process this past spring.
Katter expressed frustration about this arduous process given their prior status as a TCU-recognized group.
“In the time spent trying to get re-recognized, we could have been planning concerts and just doing what we wanted to do,” Katter said.
Midnight (at Tufts) has worked to realize its goal of being an alternative source of music on campus. The group hosts eight shows each semester on a small budget, whereas Concert Board only puts on two shows per year on a larger scale. While the acts may be comparatively smaller, the breadth of the performances’ genres is greater, including rock, jazz, pop and folk music.
“It just so happens that we can hit a wide variety of genres or music tastes, so we can keep drawing in people. The concerts put on are free and for everyone in the Tufts community,” Bienstock said. “We are going to have music that is both something you probably haven’t heard before, but is also accessible and will [hopefully] be appreciated by the student body at large.”
Turkel says that Midnight (at Tufts) provides a different vibe and has a wide appeal for students.
“We don’t have to cater to the lowest common denominator,” he said. “We provide an alternative to the mainstream, large scale events that Tufts puts on, that feel very ‘Tufts-put-on.’ It’s kids putting on concerts for kids.”
The Tufts chapter of Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, was also rerecognized this year. According to co-President Christina Luo, a senior, the organization focuses on a wide variety of human rights issues around the world including freedom of speech, gay rights, torture and the death penalty.
The Tufts chapter holds weekly meetings and other events, including a concert in April called Jamnesty, letter-writing campaigns and guest speakers.
“Last year we had the former representative to the special mission in Kosovo speak to us, and another year we had a former interrogator at Guantanamo Bay,” Luo said.
Tufts Amnesty’s next project is an art installation called the One Million Bones Project, which stems from a nationwide initiative to raise awareness about genocide in the Congo.