DSG senators propose compromise to 40 Percent Plan
The Duke Student Government presented an alternative to the 40 Percent Plan for allocating student annual activities fees.
Senators Abhi Sanka, a sophomore, Mousa Alshanteer, a sophomore and editorial pages managing editor for The Chronicle, Jay Sullivan, a sophomore and Chronicle sports writer, and James Ferencsik, a freshman, proposed the new 25 Percent Compromise to the Senate Wednesday night. The plan allows students to allocate 25 percent of their student activities fees to the student organization of their choosing, a decrease from the previously proposed 40 percent figure.The plan would have rising sophomores, juniors and seniors allocate their fees in March of each year to fund groups for the following year. Rising freshmen would not participate since they would not yet be on campus.
“As opposed to the 40 Percent Plan, the 25 Percent Compromise would allow students to allocate their funds prior to annual budgeting, which would allow SOFC to gauge how much money remains for submitted budgets of student organizations,” Alshanteer said.
Although the senators supported student control over student organization funding, the exact percentage of funds to control is yet to be determined by the Senate.
“We thought that in order to still preserve to some degree a new funding model, it’s important to leave a significant amount to student allocation,” Sanka said. “There wasn’t really a good way to pick a number, but we believe that if it was too small a number, then students wouldn’t have a true say in the matter.”
Sullivan noted that March is an ideal time to allocate funds for the next year because it coincides with both the timelines of many student organizations’ executive board elections as well as internal reviews of the organizations' performance over the previous year.
“When student exec boards are being elected, after students have been members of a group for a whole six months, this is a way that students can give back with both their time and their money,” Sullivan said.
The proposal of the alternative plan is the first of two required readings of the legislation before the matter is put toward a vote in the Senate next week.
In other news:
In response to the resignation of SOFC vice-chair Matt Schorr, a senior, the Senate confirmed freshman Gary Yeh as new SOFC vice-chair.
Junior Cameron Tripp, junior Mary D’Amico, sophomore Nikhil Gavai, freshman Lara Haft, junior Jonathan Hill-Rorie, sophomore Molly Walker and freshman Annie Straneva were confirmed by the Senate as newly instated Senators-At-Large.
The Duke Asian American Theater was granted $1,545.95 for the DAAT 24 Hour Play Festival that will take place on February 23. Kappa Alpha Psi was granted $3,000 for the 35th Annual Corey T. Williams Ball: Diamonds of Revolutionary Achievement that will take place on February 8. Duke Chinese Dance was granted $3,045.50 for the 7th Annual Showcase 2014: Rainbird, that will take place on April 4.
Duke University Club for Latin American Studies was granted recognized status.
The Senate approved an amendment, proposed by senior Patrick Oathout, senator for services, to the SOFC by-law that will require a student election, rather than a Senate election, of the SOFC chair.
“Whether or not you want a 40 percent plan or a 25 percent plan, having an elected SOFC chair will benefit the student body because it will create an adaptive and accountable organization,” Oathout said. “By having an elected SOFC chair, will have a more informed and active student body.”
SOFC Chair Joyce Lau, a junior, noted that this amendment would be problematic during SOFC chair campaigns because candidates could gain student organization endorsements through corrupt funding agreements.
“There would be a direct conflict of interest that comes from endorsements that do not exist for other members of the exec board,” Lau said.
The Senate adopted the Election Rules and Procedures for Spring 2014, which include regulations for campaign schedules, budgeting, materials and correspondence as well as penalties for failing to comply with regulations.
The Senate approved an allocation of $5,000 to the formation of a bike sharing program on campus through Zagster. The program will cost $20 per year and will be open to undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. The plan currently includes 20 bikes on West campus, 10 on Central campus and 20 on East campus, although sophomore Lavanya Sunder, vice president for services, noted that this number may increase.