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TCU Senate Update

Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 02:02

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate Sunday night passed two resolutions, one of which called for advocates to aid victims and accused witnesses in the school’s sexual assault policy process.

The first resolution, submitted by TCU Vice President Meredith Goldberg, a senior, and LGBT Center Representative John Kelly, a sophomore, cited calls from students over the past five years for a more comprehensive sexual assault policy.

The resolution cited concerns about insufficient policies at similar institutions, such as Amherst College, which have resulted in “negative exacerbating effects on student survivors’ mental health and overall college experience.” The plan called for Tufts to establish a committee of faculty members to investigate the issue and hire necessary administrators, and passed unanimously within 20 minutes of discussion.

The second resolution, submitted by TCU President senior Wyatt Cadley, junior Shaylagh McCole and new Committee for Student Life (CSL) member sophomore Kumar Ramanathan, recommended that American Sign Language (ASL) count as a language acceptable for part I of the university’s foreign language requirement. The three senators cited other private universities, including Northeastern University and Boston University, that consider ASL equivalent to a foreign language and not a “second-class discipline.”

Senators briefly spoke about why ASL should be classified as a foreign language. The resolution was voted on immediately and passed unanimously with one abstention.

During the meeting, the body also elected junior senator Joe Donenfeld to the Allocations Board, filling the seat left vacant when sophomore senator Jessie Serrino resigned last week.

Cadley briefed the body on a recent meeting with University President Anthony Monaco, noting that they discussed the CSL’s recent decision to create a policy allowing religious groups to apply for exemption from the school’s nondiscrimination policy. During the discussion that followed, many senators expressed their disappointment and spoke about potential avenues through which to overturn the decision. Cadley stated that Monaco personally would not overturn the decision but that the last chance to overturn it would be during the next meeting of the full faculty of the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. Cadley and other senators said they will work to get the vote on the executive agenda at one of the faculty’s upcoming meetings.

The Senate also approved a project to add a clause to the university’s alcohol policy eliminating any judicial penalty for students who call Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) on behalf of other students and for students who are actually cared for by TEMS. The Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty clause was proposed by Latino Center Community Representative Marcy Regalado, a sophomore.

A new student group, Tufts Good Neighbors, presented its ideas during the meeting’s public forum, providing details on its operation and requesting support from the Senate. The organization, which seeks to establish sound relationships with people in the Somerville and Medford communities through basic community service, including walking dogs and carrying groceries, was invited to meet with the Outreach Committee to help expand its operation.

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