Though the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate takes a lot of criticism from the student body, it would be a mistake to undervalue its importance on campus. TCU Senators are responsible for allocating $1.5 million to more than 200 student groups each year, and they meet regularly with administrators to discuss campus issues. Students should think very carefully about whom they want representing their needs to University President Anthony Monaco, and regardless of how you value our opinion, we urge you to look closely at Wyatt Cadley’s and Logan Cotton’s agendas and judge each of their visions of Tufts for yourself.
Cadley and Cotton, both juniors, have run campaigns of substance, and both have refrained from resorting to empty buzzwords to sell themselves. They each present compelling solutions to a number of campus issues, including the need for better social programming, sensible drug and alcohol policies and a more accessible TCU Senate.
With this in mind, our endorsement did not come easily. Our decision resulted not just from our opinions on the particulars of the two candidates’ agendas but also from a consideration of the role that the Senate would assume on campus with each candidate at the helm. Ultimately, we believe Cadley presents the more compelling vision for both the TCU Senate and the student body, and we support his candidacy for TCU president.
The Senate is in a unique position to influence university policy, and in his three years as a TCU Senator, Cadley has performed admirably in this regard. Cadley worked with the administration and campus women’s groups two years ago to revise a disgracefully vague and outdated sexual assault policy. The new policy explicitly spells out the rights of both victims and alleged perpetrators and directs victims to medical and counseling services available on campus. Cadley has also successfully lobbied the administration to perform much-needed dorm renovations and implement a less draconian alcohol policy.
Cotton, to his credit, boasts a record of tremendous accomplishments outside the Senate. Most notably, he has been instrumental in forming an unprecedented alliance between the Greek life and LGBT communities, two groups that historically have had a very tense relationship on this campus. He has also partnered with women’s groups on campus to host consent workshops and was part of the task force that lobbied the administration for the creation of an Africana studies department.
Cadley, however, has worked consistently with university administrators over the last three years — and particularly over the last year as TCU vice president — to craft solutions to longstanding problems on the Hill. Since September he, TCU President Tomas Garcia and Monaco have held bi-weekly meetings to discuss campus issues. While Cotton has accomplished a great deal for Tufts over the last three years, he does not match Cadley’s record of working in concert with the administration to effect change, and this is integral to the job of the TCU president.
Cadley has proposed a number of projects that we believe are promising. In the academic realm, he has outlined a “students’ bill of rights,” which, among other improvements, calls for the creation of an online database where students can access Tufts course ratings, a standardized process for picking up final exams and access to course syllabi a month before the start of each semester. He has also proposed that the university host an “Alumni Day,” during which alumni are invited to campus and students have an opportunity to network with professionals in their chosen fields. Cotton, too, has made a number of worthwhile proposals — his idea to improve the Safe Ride program is one the administration should implement immediately. But Cadley has the advantage of having spent the last year discussing the feasibility of many of his proposals with Monaco and other administrators and has taken steps toward implementing them already. We talked last week about the importance of making the items on a campaign platform a reality, and if Cadley takes over as TCU president in the fall, he’ll be able to hit the ground running.
We also believe that aspects of Cadley’s agenda are more practical than Cotton’s. Both candidates aptly identify the need for more cultural diversity in Tufts’ curriculum. In his platform, Cotton emphasizes his support for the eventual creation of Asian American, Latino and Queer studies programs. We agree that the university features an overly Eurocentric curriculum, but we don’t agree that adding multiple new programs of study to encompass each culture of interest is the most effective remedy. Instead, the administration should enhance the curricula and faculty within existing departments so that students can approach disciplines like English, history and political science from a variety of cultural perspectives. Cadley has said he would work with the administration to do just that.
Likewise, both Cadley and Cotton have promised to work toward effecting better financial aid policies at the university, but they differ markedly in their approach to the issue. Cadley and his Senate colleagues are currently in the process of establishing the new $10,000 Capen Fund, which would defray costs for students in need when an emergency situation arises, such as by covering travel costs when a relative dies or by paying to repair home damages caused by fire or flooding. This is a small step, to be sure, but it underscores one of the biggest strengths of Cadley’s platform: that he has a proven track record of working with administrators to enact cost-saving measures for students, even if those measures are incremental.
Like Cadley, Cotton has said that as TCU president, he would make improvements to financial aid a priority. Cotton also said that if the administration were intransigent on the issue, he would urge the Senate to take on a more activist role, such as by demonstrating outside Ballou Hall.
This gets at perhaps the fundamental difference between Cadley’s and Cotton’s campaigns: their divergent views on the role of the Senate on campus. We believe it is the Senate’s job to challenge university officials, but we don’t believe the Senate should incite organized demonstrations against the administration. One of the most important roles of the Senate is to lobby the administration for change, but we do not want to see the body transformed into a forum for every student group on campus to air grievances against the university. This would only inhibit the Senate’s effectiveness. Those kinds of forums can and should exist, but student government should not be one of them. To succeed in his job, the next TCU president will have to challenge university officials while also collaborating with them, and Cadley has shown a clear ability to succeed within this framework.