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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

New TCU senators elected in 2024 special election

Four seats were filled, including the brand-new SWANA community seat, approved by the TCU Senate last semester.

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Clockwise from top left, Lexis Lokko, Iman Boulouah, Mathew Letua and Amelia Farrar are pictured.

Four representatives, including the new Southwest Asian and North African community senator, join the ranks of the Tufts Community Union Senate following a special election, while the Indigenous community senator seat remains vacant. Polls were open from Thursday at 12 p.m. to Friday at 12 p.m.

After collecting votes, the Elections Commission (ECOM) announced the new senators as follows:

Class of 2025 Senator: Lexis Lokko

Disability Community Senator: Amelia Farrar

International Community Senator: Mathew Letua

SWANA Community Senator: Iman Boulouah

There were no candidates for the Indigenous Community Senator seat, leaving it vacant for the time being. ECOM wrote in an email to the Daily that it plans to “work closely with the Indigenous Center and [Indigenous Students’ Organization at Tufts] for the upcoming Spring elections in order to fill the Indigenous Community Senator seat.”

Around 18% of the student body participated in the voting, which ECOM described as “on the lower end as spring special elections generally are.” The commission plans to work with JumboVote to increase voting averages in the upcoming spring elections.

All new senators attended their first Senate meeting on Sunday and have expressed excitement on getting to know their constituents and begin working on projects.

Sophomore Iman Boulouah is the first person to hold the newly created Southwest Asian and North African community seat. She ran for the seat because she believes there is a “lack of representation for SWANA students.”

Boulouah said that it felt “nerve wracking” but also “exciting” to be the first SWANA senator.

“I am setting this foundation [to provide] more [perspectives from] SWANA students,” she said. “I want to focus on having events and many other things that can allow different communities to know SWANA students because I feel like people don’t really know them or anything about our cultures.”

One project Boulouah is excited to work on is the creation of a SWANA identity center. “A SWANA center had been something that people have been working on in the last year, which … didn’t get as far as they wanted,” Boulouah said. “And I want to continue that and see if there are ways we can finally have that be a space.”

Boulouah wants to diversify other students’ knowledge of cultures through her position as SWANA senator.

“I’m already a regional rep at the African Student Organization and my job is to make sure that the organization also includes cultures from North Africa,” she said. “I already plan events that allow people to understand more of Africa and North African culture. … I want to do the same with SWANA where I can collaborate with other communities and just have everyone know what SWANA is. Because right now if I were to tell someone: ‘Hey, do you know what SWANA is?’ They wouldn’t really know what that means.”

For first-year Amelia Farrar, being the disability community senator is about using her past experiences to help others on campus.

“Having ADHD myself and having dealt with that for a long time in my life, I wanted to be able to bring the issues that I face on this campus and the issues that that community on campus faces to light,” Farrar said.

Farrar wants to begin her work by getting to know the community more.

“I want to be sure that I’m talking to the community and making sure that, if there are any issues that [a majority of individuals with disabilities] have on this campus, then I want to address that first and foremost,” she said. “I want to just be sure I’m keeping an open mind when I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish.”

Sophomore Mathew Letua said being the newly elected International Community Senator is “all about growth, all about seeing new opportunities, all about seeing what people go through, all about listening to people’s concerns and ideas.”

Letua also wants to work on providing increased aid to international students.

“I know some who are here under financial aid and struggling with returning home,” Letua said. “It's a big challenge for them.”

The new Class of 2025 senator, Lexis Lokko, underlined her motivations for joining student government.

“[There are] a lot of things that I feel Tufts can do better in supporting us in totality, not just supporting us only when it comes to academics,” Lokko said.

Lokko shared her hopes as a TCU senator.

“I hope to be able to listen and learn from the [Tufts] community … and [other] communities I’m not a part of,” she said. “I’m also in the African community, but as a senator, I’m representing the whole community. So it’s very important [to make] sure that I’m learning from them.”