A heated debate ensued Wednesday night at the first Duke Student Government meeting of the semester as senior Daniel Strunk, DSG chief justice, proposed a new plan for student activities fee allocation.
Termed The 40% Plan—formerly known as the $100 plan—Strunk proposed that students should be allowed to allocate 40 percent of their student activities fee to student groups of their choosing during the first week of each semester. The remaining 60 percent of the fee would go to the Student Organization Finance Committee’s pool of money, as would any money not allocated by students.
“One of the most common objections I hear is that students just don’t know enough to allocate their own money,” Strunk said. “The ethical response is that this is the students’ money to begin with, they should be able to decide where it goes.”
Students would not be able to allocate their funds to student living groups under this plan, Strunk said, as these tend to be selective and would therefore not host events open to all undergraduate students.
Strunk’s argument focused on the prediction that this plan would incentivize groups to be more efficient with their allocated funds and would increase student interest and involvement in student organizations.
“What it boils down to the most is, do you trust students?” Strunk said. “I trust students, I think students would be empowered by this.”
DSG President Stefani Jones, a senior, said SOFC is concerned with allocating funds equally to all student organizations on campus and that The 40% Plan would ultimately harm student groups with few members.
Jones said visible and popular student groups such as Duke University Improv would likely garner the greatest amount of funding, even though their group operates on a very limited budget. She added that students would likely not research individual student groups’ funding needs in the same way that SOFC does before granting funds.
“This isn’t the kind of thing that a student could do on their own,” Jones said. “I really don’t think students are going to research all 400 student groups on campus prior to allocating their money.”
Strunk is currently collecting signatures to put The 40% plan on a referendum.
In response to the recent DSG judiciary case, Daniel Strunk v. DSG—formerly known as the $100 plan v. DSG—Executive Vice President Nikolai Doytchinov, a junior, informed the senate of resultant changes to voting protocol. Doytchinov said students will continue to use their Net ID and password to log in to vote, but that electronic signatures are now accepted with corresponding Net ID and unique ID.
In other business:
Student email will be migrating to Office 365 in February. Douglas Drum, senior information technology manager, addressed the senate about the change, noting that email in the new program will be integrated with calendaring, tasks and Duke contacts. The migration to the new system will begin February 3 and will conclude February 14.
The senate granted $3,695 through SOFC to Delta Sigma Theta for their upcoming charity ball on January 25, which will be open to all students and held at the Washington Duke Inn. The senate also granted $2,812 to Duke Cru to bring a speaker to campus for the annual Veritas Forum on January 29, $4,629.22 to the Jewish Student Union for B’lue Mitzvah on February 8, and $35,571.33 to the Duke Marketing Club for the annual Duke Library Party on February 21.
Duke Atlas, a mentorship and service group with the goal of helping adolescents with chronic illnesses, was granted recognized status by the senate. The 3D Printing Club was granted chartered status.