Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Tufts Community Union, 1924
The Tufts Community Union comprises all undergraduate students in the colleges of liberal arts, Jackson, and engineering, who pay the annual student activities fee. Student Government serves as the representative body of the TCU, dealing with all aspects of student life. Students can be elected to positions within the TCU's government structure, or they may apply for appointments to student, student-faculty or trustee committees.
Discussion of establishing a student government system at Tufts College began in campus media as early as 1885, while the first proposal for such an organization, put forth in 1917 by members of the junior class was rejected.
The first constitution of the Tufts student body was ratified in 1924, establishing agoverning body called the Student Council of Tufts College. Formed to support the "unification of the various lines of extracurricular life at Tufts College, and the placing of some authority in the hands of a representative body of Tufts undergraduates. The original structure included ten representatives from student organizations and one faculty member.
In 1943, the constitution was altered for the first time, to unify the civilian students and military on campus as a result of World War II.It was again changed in 1962, creating more opportunities for student representation. The presidents of all four classes and sixteen representatives formed the council, with the president elected by popular vote of the student population.
The term Tufts Community Union (TCU) was first used in 1968. Including all students on the hill, the TCU was governed by a five-person board and four subsidiary committees, including a student Committee on Student Life and a faculty Committee on Student Life. Drastic changes were made to the constitution in 1970, with members of the TCU being defined as all students paying the Student Activites fee. The 1970 document outlined a Student Tri-Partite Committee with five members, the Committee on Student Life, the Educational Policies Committee, and the Committee on Extra-University Affairs, with a student caucus regulating the allocation of the student activities fee.
In 1972, additional changes to the constitution were made, with thirty-five senators being elected from the student body and in-house elections used to appoint its officers. The major function of the TCU Senate at that time was to allocate the Student Activities Fee among student organizations.
In January 1981, the Committee on Student Life called a constitutional convention to re-draft the constitution. The proposed document included a Judiciary to rule on matters on constitutionality and an impartial election board to run future elections. It also lowered the number of voting senators from thirty-five to twenty-nine. The constitution was again amended in 1996.
The student government system includes the Senate, the Judiciary, the Elections Board, class councils, and the student members of the Committee on Student Life.
Source: OBS, April 24, 1981