Duke Student Government Senate passed its 2018-2019 annual budget at Wednesday’s Senate session in a meeting that stretched more than five hours.

Junior Luke Farrell, chair of the Student Organization Funding Committee, estimated the total allocations this year to be around $380,000 after the meeting, which would mark an increase of about $10,000 from last year's budget but a decrease of more than $30,000 from the proposed allocations discussed at last week's meeting.

Senate denied appeals on the allocations by Mock Trial, Duke Catholic Center, Devils En Pointe, The Archive, America's Mock World Health Organization, The Standard and the InterVarsity University Christian Fellowship. However, J Street Union, Duke Quidditch Team and Line Monitors were approved by the Senate for additional funding than the Student Organization Financing Committee had originally allocated.

Mock Trial

Senior Jamie Dohopolski, treasurer for the organization, appealed for $10,000 more to their budget allocation. In her request for an appeal, Dohopolski stated that the team's budget has been cut by more than 40 percent in the last four years, from $28,000 to $15,640. 

“We request higher knowing [SOFC is] going to slash it,” Dohopolski said.

Senior Kevin Mutchnick, senator for academic affairs, asked why Mock Trial had originally requested $50,000 for this year's annual budget.

Because Duke is “generally a top-10 program out of more than 700 teams” nationwide, Dohopolski explained that the team is invited to far-away, top invitational tournaments. Therefore, she claimed that Mock Trial is requesting more funding for travel to be able to compete with comparably ranked teams.

As a result of a reduced budget allocation last year, she claimed the team had to stay at a hotel that “endangered [its] safety.” She also highlighted other expenses, like student eating costs, that “discourage those of lower socioeconomic status to participate in Mock Trial." 

She also spoke to the merits of those on the team in her explanation of “why [mock trial] deserves this funding.” 

“We boost Duke’s reputation,” Dohopolski said.

However, Farrell clarified that accomplishments are not part of SOFC's considerations.

Farrell said that Mock trial should not have a “disproportionate” consideration in the annual budget. He also explained that the decline in mock trial’s funding is “reasonable to expect” from SOFC’s trend of decreasing overall annual budget allocations, saying that programming fund requests are a more efficient way to distribute funds from student activities fees.

Farrell said that the appeal of $10,000 was not precise, and that imprecision represents a lack of specific need. Dohopolski said that they needed $3,000 for two tournaments and $2,000 for another two respective tournaments.

Lizzie Speed, vice president for campus life, gave a speech in favor of the appeal. Recognizing how “ridiculously expensive” of an activity Mock Trial is, she considered factors such as the importance of students not having to face socioeconomic barriers. 

“I don’t think we should further perpetuate inaccessibility to this activity,” Speed said.

Although the appeal initially did not pass, Mutchnick proposed an amendment to allocate $5,000, instead of $10,000 as the appeal requested, for two invitationals. Farrell delivered a negative speech in which he stressed that the team had was allocated largest budget, and it serves 30 people.

Only 11 senators voted in favor of the amendment, meaning it did not pass and leaving Mock Trial with their original SOFC allocation.

Duke Catholic Center

The Duke Catholic Center's request for funding for a videographer for mass services created tension between SOFC's precedent and rules.

Such funding was not suggested by SOFC because they were told that the video was for students studying abroad to be able to watch mass, Farell said. Students who are abroad do not pay student activities fees, and thus would not be accounted for in the annual budget. DCC also appealed for funding for a Beach Weekend and Awakening. Although the appeal was initially denied, a $7,000 line item for videography was later debated.

Members of the Duke Catholic Center—junior Michelle Krogius and senior Gerardo Párraga—clarified that the videos have more than 100 views for every mass and that the videos are also used by students who are not able to make it to one of the three masses on Sunday. 

Párraga justified the large amount that DCC is provided by noting that one-in-four students coming to Duke identify as Catholics. The Catholic Center's website states a similar number—that 20 percent of Duke's 13,600 total students are Roman Catholic. 

Dellinger suggested an amendment for $3,600 to the videography line item, but it failed. Breaking with last year's precedent, the senate did not overturn SOFC's denial of funding for videography.

J Street Union

The tale of the chartering of J Street Union is quite a confusing one. Three years ago, J Street Union applied to have an annual budget, but it was not supposed to.

Junior Josh Curtis of J Street Union spoke at session to clarify the organization’s situation.

“We applied for annual budget and were approved," Curtis said. "That’s how we went to this conference last year. There was an error on part of [that president]."

As it did not receive a budget allocation last year, Farrell explained that this is technically the first time that J Street Union has been chartered. Therefore, J Street Union would be capped at $1,000 for its budget allocation. Despite denying their appeal, senate did allocate the group $100 in additional funds.

Line monitors

Next year’s head line monitors, juniors Peter Potash and Steve Hassey—a columnist for The Chronicle—requested an appeal for 14 instead of 11 line monitor jackets, website upkeep costs and two head line monitor jackets. According to Potash, head line monitor jackets would provide “clarity for tenters on who to go to for questions specifically for them.”

“Having a head line monitor jacket would make everything run more efficiently,” Potash said.

Senate ultimately funded the additional line monitor jackets and website costs, but denied the Head Line Monitor jackets.

In other business:

Treasurer Nick Santangelo, a sophomore, presented a budgetary statute and a bylaw to establish a DSG Quasi-Endowment. Partnering with Student Affairs and the Duke University Endowment, DSG would allocate $50,000. The funds, currently located in DSG's surplus account, largely come from a mass de-chartering of groups in 2014.

Although the Duke University Endowment will manage the investment portfolio, the proposed bylaw creates a Financial Stewardship Committee within DSG to manage the fund's creation and continuation. 

Senate will vote on the statute and bylaws at next week’s meeting. If they pass, the ultimate fate of the quasi-endowment lies in the hands of Duke's Board of Trustees, which would be expected to vote on the items in Fall 2018, Santangelo explained.

Sophomore Avery Boltwood, senator for campus affairs, proposed an amendment on senatorial attendance and a new title on attendance within the Senate by-law. The change would enumerate specific requirements for attendance records and attendance enforcement. Wednesday was the proposal's first reading, and it will be given a second reading and a vote at the next meeting.

Associate Chief Justice Ross Winston, a junior, and Associate Justice Michael Brunetti, a junior, were unanimously reconfirmed to the Judiciary.

Duke Sports Management and Duke Healthy Policy Forum were deemed as recognized student organizations, and Duke Academy of Model Aeronautics was chartered by the Senate. 

For programming events, Senate allocated $4,130.83 to Blue Devils United for its Lavender Ball, $1,700 to DurhamCares for Bull City Madness, $3,500 to Duke Swing for its annual spring showcase and $1,486.80 to Duke Asian American Theater. 

Senate unanimously approved the Financial Oversight and Appeals Committee’s recommendation to deny the appeal of Duke Environmental Alliance for full funding of its Earthfest event. Reasons for denial consist of funding giveaways, tee shirts not being within SOFC guidelines, “no clear relevance” of funding henna at the event and the event involving a non-undergraduate population.