In previous years, the Duke Student Government Student Organization Financing Committee has repeatedly funded Duke Catholic Center events. 

However, at Wednesday’s DSG Senate meeting, DCC's funding request of $2,250 for a Sunday brunch during parent’s weekend was denied.

Senior Liz Brown, vice president of Durham and regional affairs, was the first to voice dissent. She argued that the event “grossly oversteps its bounds” in its funding request. She said that it does not seem to be inclusive of all undergraduates and that the DCC receives a disproportionate amount of SOFC funding and is already flush with donations from outside contributors.

Junior Luke Farrell, chair of SOFC, explained that the purpose of the committee's funding is to redistribute the student activities fees to groups to “enhance the experience of undergraduates.” Because SOFC standards clearly mandate inclusivity, DCC's brunch would have to be welcoming of all students in order to receive funding.

“Our Family Weekend Brunch will be a celebration of the Duke Catholic Families visiting from out of town," wrote the DCC in their funding request. "All are welcome to eat brunch after our 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. services on this day. We will be catering brunch from the Divinity School Café and are expecting undergraduates and family members who are visiting for the weekend.”

Although the event estimates 450 undergraduates to be present, DCC does not account for non-undergraduate attendees—such as the parents to whom the event is explicitly advertised, Brown said.

In her speech against the request, Brown claimed there is “no purpose to the event other than to convene Catholic students and their parents.” While the funding request does cite efforts to reach out to the Duke community, it is unlikely that these means will foster inclusion let alone reach non-Catholic students, she went on to add.

“Students who are not Catholic would feel it’s not a space meant for them,” said Brown.

Additionally, DCC has historically received disproportionate funding because it “knows the rules [of SOFC],” Brown said.

Farrell confirmed that DCC receives a significant part of SOFC funding.

“Last year, [requests from DCC] did compose a sizable portion of our programming spending,” he said.

He went on to clarify that SOFC funds similar organizations “pretty frequently” and that other brunch events have been approved in the past.

Junior Sean Bissell, vice president for academic affairs, warned that rejecting the proposal would “set a dangerous precedent” because DCC is not technically violating any rules. He suggested for DCC to change the name of the event to make it less exclusive to non-Catholic students. He also noted that—if the request is struck down—it would appear that the Senate is criticizing a specific group when it needs to operate according to “an overarching standard.”

After the majority of Senators voted to reject the funding request, Brown and Farrell both explained that DCC can appeal to SOFC and request alternate funding.

A potential solution to unlimited SOFC requests is potentially on the horizon in the form of a soft cap on funding requests.

Brown explained what this possible restriction would look like for a group like DCC. 

 “If you took the number of the students in the Catholic Center and took it in proportion to the undergraduate population, they would be capped at that amount of the student activities fee," she said. "Once they hit that cap, they would have to come to Senate and explain themselves beyond that cap.” 

In other business:

DSG approved funding for Form Magazine of $5,800 due to the judiciary’s recent decision to award an annual budget hearing to the organization on the basis of due process. 

An additional $8,500 of SOFC funds were allocated to events to be held by the Interfraternity Council and Duke Splash.

Duke University Shotgun Sports—more commonly known as Duke Shotgun—returned to the Senate with guns blazing. After being tabled at last week’s meeting, Duke Shotgun received approval for its chartering as a new group on campus.