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TCU Senate Update | Senate tables CSL resolution

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 15:12


The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate voted in a an emotionally-charged session last night to abstain voting on a proposed resolution condemning the Committee on Student Life’s (CSL) decision to allow religious groups exemption from the university nondiscrimination policy. After nearly three hours of deliberation the Senate voted not to vote on the “Resolution to Affirm the Inviolability of the Tufts Nondiscrimination Policy” submitted by four senators. 

Under the CSL’s decision, the University Chaplaincy may decide whether a group’s violation of the Nondiscrimination Policy is a “justifiable departure,” allowing it to receive funding and other perks given to TCU-recognized groups.

The decision condemned the CSL’s decision, which would allow groups to disqualify potential leaders on doctrinal grounds. Furthermore, it called upon the TCU Treasury to amend its Treasury Procedures Manual to forbid the Treasury from allocating the Student Activity Fee to any group which sought recognition through ‘justifiable departure.’ 

TCU Judiciary Chair Adam Sax, a senior, halted the resolution’s introduction to read a letter from the Judiciary calling the resolution unconstitutional. Sax explained that the CSL’s decisions are implicitly part of the Senate’s constitution and that any vote for or against the resolution would constitute a violation of the Senate’s constitution and would open up voting senators to impeachment.

TCU Senate President Wyatt Cadley pledged his support to the intent of the resolution but strongly discouraged senators from voting on it, citing his duty as president to prevent the Senate from passing unconstitutional measures. In response, senior senator Joe Thibodeau, one of the senators who put forward the resolution, vowed to risk his  position on the body to see the resolution’s passage.

“The four of us are ready to put our names on this resolution and take whatever comes to us,” Thibodeau, a junior, said. “A watered-down resolution would be a shot in the gut.” 

Senators and the attending students debated for more than an hour over an amendment that would remove two unconstitutional clauses pledging that the Senate and Treasury would refuse funding to groups claiming ‘justified departure.’ The lines were kept on the grounds that removing them would leave the resolution ineffectual. 

Finally, Cadley stepped in to exercise his executive privilege over the Senate’s agenda, tabling the resolution. In a tense 14-16 vote, a motion to overturn Cadley’s action failed, effectively postponing a vote on the resolution or anything until next semester. 

“Many of you are very hurt by the decision that I just made,” Cadley said as debate closed. “Don’t take the decision to mean that I do not value your voice.” Cadley said that at next semester’s first Senate meeting, he will put forward a resolution denouncing CSL’s decision.

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