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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, December 11, 2023

TCU Senate passes resolution regarding legacy in undergraduate admissions, hears appeal from Tufts Republicans

The staircase on Prez Lawn is pictured on October 19., 2021.

The Tufts Community Union Senate voted on its first resolution of the semester, heard an appeal from Tufts Republicans and heard supplementary funding requests in a meeting on Sunday. 

TCU Historian and Class of 2024 Senator Mariana Janer-Agrelot introduced a resolution submitted by Ameya Menta and Christopher Tomo, calling on Tufts Undergraduate Admissions to cease consideration of familial connection to the university when selecting applicants.

The resolution would call on admissions to stop asking applicants if they have family who are alumni, faculty or are connected to the university, and to remove the question of familial connection from all aspects of the application process. 

Menta and Tomo, both sophomores, were granted five minutes to present their case. Menta said that eliminating legacy in admissions will serve Tufts' anti-racist mission.

The importance of equity in college admission is apparent now more than ever with Tufts’ commitment to an anti-racist institution,” Menta said. “In July 2020, Tufts University recognized a commitment to identify and eradicate structural racism in five key areas and one of the key areas included the selection of the academic body.” 

Tomo explained that several other institutions, including the Tufts University School of Medicine, have eliminated legacy from the admissions process. 

“In July, Colorado as a state banned the consideration of legacy at all of its public universities," Tomo said. "Here at Tufts, the School of Medicine announced that it no longer asks that the student application provides special access to legacies. This particular resolution is about undergrad admissions and we demand that they … set the example for institutions across the country by ending this discriminatory policy.” 

Class of 2025 Senator Natalie Rossinow asked the authors of the resolution how much impact the removal of legacy admissions would have on admitting more students of color to the student body. 

“I don't think that there’s any way for us to explicitly come out with that data,” Menta said. “Something that we are looking forward to is seeing how the … [incoming] Fletcher class demographics have changed when they changed their admissions.” 

Menta explained that Tufts has made changes to other parts of the admissions process, like transitioning to a test-optional system, but has not addressed the issue of legacy in admissions. 

“There are just so many social determinants that are built into a holistic application, but for us, we think that legacy is one of the things that is such an outdated process … that it’s almost ridiculous that it's still there,” Menta said. 

The resolution was voted on and passed with 23 senators voting in favor, one opposing and three abstaining.

The Senate body then heard an appeal from Tufts Republicans, which had requested $560 to attend a shooting range and learn firearm safety training with its members. This funding would cover fees for the shooting range, gun rental and ammunition. The Allocations Board recommended $0. 

TCU Treasurer and Class of 2022 Senator Elizabeth Hom outlined the request and said that TCU Senate has not funded this activity in the past. 

Tufts Republicans then had five minutes to state their case. Andrew Butcher, treasurer of Tufts Republicans, said that despite the Allocations Board’s recommending $0, the trip does support the organization's mission. 

When we requested the reason for this denial … it was that all TCU funding must be central to the mission of the student organization,” he said. “We would argue that this trip is core to our mission as stated in our constitution.” 

Butcher, a junior, explained that the trip contributes to the organization's mission because it would allow its members to learn how to safely exercise their Second Amendment rights. 

The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental tenet of American conservatism,” Butcher said. “We as an organization strongly believe that if you’re going to exercise your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, you have a responsibility to do so safely. This trip would be going to the education of our membership on how to do so.” 

Several senators felt that the trip did not lend itself to the mission of Tufts Republicans and asked how gun safety training was related to political advocacy. During a brief question and answer session, senators also asked why this particular activity had been chosen. 

“The Second Amendment is one of the topics, if not the most important topic to the members of our organization as expressed by them, which is why this is the activity that we’ve chosen,” senior Jessica Parillo, a member of Tufts Republicans said. 

The Allocations Board’s recommendation of $0 was moved and then passed with 19 senators voting in favor, four opposing and three abstaining.

Hom then introduced the other supplementary funding requests. 

Tufts Association of Latin American Students requested $600 to pay for a DJ at a fall gala event. The request passed with 26 senators voting in favor, none opposing and one abstaining. 

The Vietnamese Student Club requested $150 to pay performers at an annual coffee shop event. The request passed by acclamation with eight Allocations Board members voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining. 

Tufts South Asian Political Action Community requested $500 to pay for a speaker event. The request passed by acclamation with nine Allocations Board members voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining. 

Tufts Hillel requested $2,916 to cover venue, food and transportation expenses for a 21-person retreat to Prindle Pond. The request passed with 24 senators voting in favor, none opposing and four abstaining. 

Tufts NeuroNetwork requested $440 to pay for a fall open house. The request passed by acclamation with eight Allocations Board members voting in favor, none opposing and one abstaining. 

Tufts Korean Dance Association requested $1,475 to pay for accessories, a videographer, a venue and food and water for their K-pop Dance Showcase. The request passed with 26 senators voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining. 

Tufts Arab Student Association requested $250 to cover food expenses for a movie night. The request passed by acclamation with nine Allocations Board members voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining.