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Senior files discrimination complaint against Senior Class Council

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 01:01


Courtesy Kelsey Bell

Tomorrow night, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Judiciary will discuss the complaint that Senior Night events are not properly inclusive to seniors who are not yet 21 years old.

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Judiciary will hear senior Anjuli Branz’s complaint tomorrow against the Senior Class Council for its selection of Senior Night venues that are restricted to students 21 and older.

If the TCU Judiciary decides Branz’s complaint qualifies as discrimination, the Senior Class Council will have to find a site that accommodates seniors, regardless of their age, a feat that the Council said is not feasible given budget and space constraints.

“There is no active decision made to host events at 21−plus venues over some other type of venue,” members of the Council wrote in a statement to the Daily. “A ruling that Senior Nights are discriminatory would not only fail to provide an alternative for the complainant, but ruin a long−standing tradition for the vast majority of the senior class this year and for all future years.”

Though Branz said she does not want Senior Nights to be cancelled, she said it is important to ensure that there is no discrimination in any Tufts event.

Finding a venue that does not preclude seniors younger than 21 is not the responsibility of those students, Branz said.

“If someone in our class was in a wheelchair and we went to a place that wasn’t wheelchair accessible, people wouldn’t be okay with that,” she said. “I believe there are ways to make Senior Nights exist and not be discriminatory, but I hope I’m right about that and it can become a reality.”

Branz will not be 21 by Senior Week this May.

“I don’t think it’s fair for me to feel like less of a senior because I won’t be 21,” she said. “All events that are branded as senior events should be open to all seniors. It shouldn’t be that certain people can’t go because of certain elements of their identity.”

Because Programming Board’s Senior Class Council receives student activities fee funding through the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate, a part of the Tufts tuition, its events must adhere to the TCU Constitution. That document bans TCU recognized organizations from discriminating based on age for participation, “membership, rank or voting privilege.”

Each event funded through the TCU Senate is accessible to those 18 and older, according to the Senior Class Council statement. Seniors pay for tickets to Senior Night, which fund the expenses for this event.

Before she filed a complaint with the TCU Judiciary this month, Branz discussed the venue switch in a meeting with the Senior Class Council last week. However, the two were unable to mediate a solution.

Branz said that she had also sent emails to individuals in the Senior Class Council as well as Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman and the Office for Campus Life.

While Branz said that members of the Senior Class Council have been receptive to her suggestions, she wishes they could have resolved the issue before she had to bring it to the TCU Judiciary.

“There’s a difference between being understanding and not perpetuating discrimination on this campus of any kind,” she said. “It’s a little frustrating that we can’t see this as we’re all students and have compassion for one another.”

At the public hearing tomorrow, Judiciary Chair Greg Bodwin said that Branz and the Senior Class Council will each receive five minutes for opening and closing remarks. TCU Judiciary board members will then ask questions about the parties’ positions. After a private deliberation, TCU Judiciary will email the body’s decision later tomorrow.

“We’re going to stay minimally involved in this process,” Bodwin, a senior, said. “We would really not like to organize events for [Senior Class Council] but just say broadly you can or cannot do so in this case.”

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