The Tufts Community Union Senate held a weekly meeting on Feb. 26, hearing an abstract calling on the university to fully divest from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. During the meeting, roughly 20 students gathered in the Joyce Cummings Center atrium outside the meeting room holding posters with phrases such as “protect the right to protest.”
The protesters said the event was not organized by a specific student organization. After standing outside the senate room for about 20 minutes, the crowd dispersed. The TCU Senate Executive Board released an official statement via Instagram early the next morning addressing both the protest outside the TCU meeting and the Feb. 21 protest which disrupted an Israel-Palestine discussion.
“We strongly support the right to protest,” the statement read. “We also believe that protests can create effective change. We’re committed to supporting our community’s right to protest to promote social justice both on our campus and beyond.”
The board reaffirmed the Senate’s commitment to creating “a respectful culture where all student organizations can hold events that align with their missions.”
During the meeting, the Senate heard a new abstract by Tufts Climate Action, called “A Resolution Calling Upon Tufts University to Commit to Institutional Climate Justice.” Tufts currently pledges to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, but the new abstract calls on Tufts to bring the deadline forward 20 years and “establish a plan that entails accountability for benchmark accomplishments.”
The Senate introduced two full-text resolutions calling on the university to create a Southwest Asia and North Africa space on campus and to divulge the costs of courses on SIS enrollment pages.
The Senate approved 13 supplementary funding requests from student organizations.
Ears for Peers requested funding to take their members ice skating for their annual spring retreat. The request passed by acclamation.
Engineers Without Borders requested $10,000 to complete the final implementation of their water tower in a Malawian School District. An independent company will link the water system to indoor bathrooms and sinks, improving the school system’s general sanitation. The request passed unanimously.
Tufts Climate Action requested $1,050 for pre-rally speakers and transportation to Boston’s Global Climate Strike, taking place on March 3. The request passed with 31 senators in favor, zero opposed and two abstaining.
Tufts Students for the Exploration and Development of Space requested $2,627 to improve safety for their upcoming rocket launch. The request passed unanimously.
The Tufts Tap Ensemble requested $860 for new costumes for upcoming performances. The request passed by acclamation.
TEDxTufts requested $6,317 to further fund a rehearsal event before their main TED events on March 11 and March 12. The request passed with 32 senators in favor, zero against and one abstaining.
Tufts’s student jazz band, Freshman Fifteen, requested $338 for performance equipment. The request was passed unanimously by the Allocations Board.
Tufts NeuroNetwork requested $2,242 for several upcoming events including an open house. The request passed with 32 senators in favor, zero against and one abstaining.
Tufts Pre-Dental Society requested $400 for six upcoming bi-weekly events. The request was passed unanimously by the Allocations Board.
The National Society of Black Engineers requested $7,200 for flight tickets to a conference in Kansas City. The Allocations Board modified the request to $4,500 to reflect a $500 per person cap on travel costs. The request passed with 31 senators in favor, zero against and one abstaining.
Tufts Model UN requested $200 for an upcoming brunch event. The request was passed unanimously by the Allocations Board.
The Tufts Observer requested $2,610 to send three members of their executive board to a journalism conference. The Allocations Board removed personal contributions from the request and recommended $2,349, which passed unanimously.
The American Society of Civil Engineers requested $2,140 for an upcoming steel bridge-building competition. The request was passed unanimously.
After successfully passing all supplementary funding requests, Zachary Ferretti, TCU parliamentarian, was named Senator of the Week and the Senate held a closed session.