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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 22, 2024

TCU Senate debates community senator stipend proposal, hears supplementary funding requests

Members of the TCU Senate are pictured during their Feb. 27, 2022 meeting.

The Tufts Community Union Senate debated a proposal calling for the compensation of community senators and heard supplementary funding requests in a meeting on Sunday night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room.

After roll call, TCU President Amma Agyei opened the floor for TCU Diversity Officer Jaden Pena’sproposal calling for the compensation of community senators.

TCU HistorianMariana Janer-Agrelot read the proposal, which calls for a semesterly stipend of $150 for each community senator. It notes how community senators represent thousands of undergraduate students on campus every single day but do not receive compensation for their work.

After a brief question and answer period, TCU Treasurer Elizabeth Hom gave a short description of stipends. She highlighted the student leadership stipend program for student leaders at Tufts who receive financial aid.

TCU senators are currently ineligible for the student leadership stipend, although members of the body have expressed interest in submitting a proposal to change this policy. If passed, Pena’s proposal could make it difficult for the wider Senate body to someday take advantage of the student leadership stipend because the Senate cannot afford to compensate both groups.

TCU ParliamentarianIbrahim Almuasher moderated the debate on the proposal.

On the con side, senators raised concerns that passing the proposal would cut off other senators from receiving compensation for their work. Some senators felt that these potential financial barriers could pose obstacles for students who want to join the Senate.

On the pro side, senators expressed how being a community senator consists of emotionally taxing work.

Africana Community Senator and Assistant Diversity Officer Hadiya Giwa said that the proposal should be more standardized before the body makes a decision. She suggested that the proposal in its current form assumes that every community senator will ask for compensation.

Assistant TreasurerJalen Little motioned to table the discussion until the next meeting on the grounds that emotions in the room were high. The motion passed with 16 senators voting in favor and five opposing.

Pena requested that the body bring him amendments to the proposal over the course of the next week. Agyei asked that senators send her a proposal for a student leadership stipend for senators.

TCU Treasurer Elizabeth Hom then introduced seven supplementary funding requests.

Tufts English Society requested a new group budget of $1,235, which would include the funding of a general interest meeting, field trips and a professor panel. The Allocations Board recommended $695 because the TCU Senate does not fund books. The request passed with 19 senators in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.

Tufts Freshman 15, a student band on campus, requested $350 to pay for a guest artist concert. The request passed by acclamation.

Hype! Mimez, a mime troupe on campus, requested $2,876 in a new group funding request, which would fund food, supplies and performances. The Allocations Board unanimously voted to completely fund the request, which passed with 19 senators voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining.

Women Entrepreneurs at Tufts requested $2,348 in a new group funding request, which would fund their annual conference, of which the Allocations Board recommended $1,890. The request passed with 18 senators voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining.

Spirit of the Creative, a dance group, requested $150 to fund a workshop on breakdance and hip-hop skill development. The Allocations Board unanimously voted to fully fund the request.

Tufts Students in Biological Computation requested $2,250 in a new group budget request, which would fund their upcoming “hackathon.” The Allocations Board recommended to fund $2,206 of the request, which passed with 19 senators voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining.

The TCU Senate requested $1,295 to fund shuttles that will take students to public transportation areas on the Thursday and Friday before spring break. The Allocations Board recommended full funding of the request, which passed with 11 senators voting in favor, one opposing and seven abstaining.

Committee chairs and members also offered updates on their work to the body.

Jaden Pena announced that he will begin the process for adding the Indigenous Center’s community senator position this week. He plans to table in a public space on campus to get the 250 signatures required for adding a community senator seat.

Members of the Community and Diversity Committee then gave updates, which included work on the SMFA prom, plans for Women’s History Month and financial literacy sessions at the Africana Center.

Janer-Agrelot, who also serves as the Outreach Committee chair,introduced plans to restructure the committee to better meet its goals and responsibilities. Some members expressed concerns that the committee was not consulted before this proposal was brought to the body. Restructuring will be discussed further in a future Outreach Committee meeting.

The Services Committee updated the body on its project to get rid of plastic silverware in the dining halls by the end of the semester as well as a headshot day.

The Education Committee announced that plans are fully underway for the resources fair.

The body conducted a closed session before adjourning the meeting.