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

TCU Senate votes on community senator stipend proposal, hears election timeline

The Tufts Community Union Senate heard a presentation from the Election Commission and voted on a proposal calling for the compensation of community senators in a meeting on Sunday night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room.

Before taking roll call, Director of the Office of Campus Life Joe Golia joined the meeting to discuss TCU Diversity Officer Jaden Pena’s proposal calling for a stipend for community senators. Golia advised TCU to think collaboratively and carefully about their decision and to focus only on the question of paying community senators, not the broader question of student leader stipends.

TCU also heard from Ethan Walsey, who is in charge of technology oversight for the Election Commission, who announced the timeline for the upcoming spring elections. The general election is set to take place from April 13-14. Presidential elections will occur from April 26-27.

After TCU President Amma Agyei took roll call, the floor was opened to revisions on Pena’s community senator stipend proposal. TCU Historian Mariana Janer-Agrelot read the proposal and Pena summarized the main points.

The resolution proposes a semesterly stipend of $150 for each community senator and lays out the requirements for receiving the stipend. These include submitting a written report to Pena  about the senator’s work throughout the semester, as well as hosting an open house or other space for community engagement every other month.

In order to receive the stipend, the resolution also required that community senators work together on a semester-long project that highlights the diversity and intersectionality of the student body.

Pena then answered questions about the specific events that community senators could hold and some of the amendments that were not included in the revised resolution. He emphasized that the resolution is only a proposal to subsidize community senators.

The proposal passed with 23 senators voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining. 

The Education Committee then introduced a new resolution that calls for university-wide adoption of open educational resources. Janer-Agrelot read the resolution and Academic Affairs Committee member Max Miller and Allocations Board member Nessren Ourdyl summarized some of the main points and took questions.

The proposal builds upon efforts by Tisch Library to make academic material more accessible and affordable to students. Initiatives include distributing online access codes and textbooks for free or at discounted prices. One of the goals of the resolution is to decrease additional costs per major by 33% over the next five years.

TCU Parliamentarian Ibrahim Almuasher motioned to table the resolution to be voted upon at the next meeting.

TCU Treasurer Elizabeth Hom introduced six supplementary funding requests.

 The Children of Cultures of Africa dance team requested $700 to rent Cohen Auditorium for their end of year showcase. The request passed by acclamation.

The Chinese Students Association requested $800 for costumes for their upcoming culture show and $400 to fund a Loj retreat for active members. Both requests passed by acclamation.

The Korean Students Association requested $700 to fund their end of year culture show, which involves paying outside dance groups, including the Wellesley Korean Dance Team and professional Korean fan dancers, and purchasing prizes for the event. The request passed by acclamation.

The Education Committee, on behalf of TCU, requested $3,289 for a Student Resources Fair that will be held on April 6. The money would be allocated to setup and facilities for the event as well as hiring food trucks. Part of the funds would also be used to pay senior René Jameson, who plans to hold a table at the event, and the remaining funds would be divided between advertising and prizes. The request passed with 23 senators voting in favor, none opposing and none abstaining.

NeuroNetwork, a group of undergraduate students interested in neuroscience, requested $1,986 to fund catering for their Spring Research Open House on April 1. The request passed with 22 senators voting in favor, none opposed, and one abstaining.

The Institute Sketch Comedy requested $1,992 to cover costs for a comedy contest at Skidmore College. The fund would go towards registration, lodging and transportation fees. The request passed by acclamation.

Committee chairs then updated the body about their work.

Members of the Education Committee discussed their plans for the upcoming Student Resources Fair, an event to educate students about inaccessible or underutilized resources.

The Services Committee asked senators to continue spreading the word about the spring break shuttles, which are available to take students to transportation stops the weekend that spring break begins. They also reminded TCU that tickets for the Class of 2024 Prom would be available on March 14.

The Outreach Committee discussed the future of their committee and Allocations Board member Enrique Rodriguez noted that the group should focus on making TCU more accessible and understandable to the larger student body. Other members proposed a senator spotlight feature on social media, as well as a potential year-in-senate reflection.

Pena reintroduced his plan to create a petition to add a community senator seat for the Indigenous Center. He plans to present the petition outside the campus center during the week of March 14 in order to gain the 250 signatures necessary for the seat to be added.

The body conducted a closed session before adjourning the meeting.