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DSG confirms Morgan after public opposition

After heated debate, Duke Student Government confirmed junior Jeremy Morgan as next year's head line monitor at its meeting last night and, with less debate, approved the 2002-2003 annual student group budget.

Morgan's confirmation came after almost an hour and a half of fierce debate among members of the public forum--almost all of whom opposed the junior's nomination due to his lack of tenting experience and other commitments next year--and DSG legislators, who had mixed reactions and eventually approved Morgan by a 29 to 10 vote, with four abstentions.

"As a line monitor and a hard-core tenter, I know you can't just come in as an outsider," said junior Rebecca Weksberg, a concerned student that spoke during the public forum. "It doesn't make sense to have someone who hasn't tented before representing students and enforcing rules at Krzyzewskiville."

Throughout the meeting, president-elect Joshua Jean-Baptiste defended his selection, saying Morgan satisfied what he felt were the top three qualities of the position: tenting experience, people skills and managerial ability. Jean-Baptiste said he also considered recommendations from his chief of staff, Emily Grey, and current Head Line Monitor Greg Skidmore. Skidmore, although not present at the meeting, prepared a statement voicing his objection to Morgan. Grey recommended Morgan, although some legislators questioned her objectivity, as the two have dated for a year and a half and he was her campaign manager for her DSG presidential run.

Morgan said he has never tented for a game but that he has only missed a few games in that time. He added that he talked with current DSG President C.J. Walsh last year about applying for the job. Morgan also cited his leadership experiences as Devils' Delivery Service CEO, First-year Advisory Counselor Board co-chair and Sigma Nu fraternity president.

Next year, Morgan will serve as president of the Interfraternity Council, a position opponents said is too time-consuming to allow him to also serve as head line monitor.

"The IFC position is only about 10 to 12 hours per week on average," Morgan countered. "I am not at all concerned about my other time commitments."

Although Morgan's confirmation generated lengthy debate, the Legislature quickly approved next year's $483,471.98 budget, which includes funds for 79 student groups. Fifty groups received more money than the last time they applied, 10 received less and four the same. Eleven groups applied for funds for the first time, and five organizations received money after several years' absence from the budgeting process.

The Student Organization Finance Committee's 2002-2003 budget is more than $47,000 higher than last year. Although some of that figure was created by an increase in the student activities fee, $35,400 was allocated from funds normally controlled by Campus Council's quadrangle and house funds. The increase is part of SOFC's efforts to restructure the budgeting process to alleviate the difficult task of obtaining these funds by student groups.

Chanticleer, the Duke Undergraduate Publications Board, DSG and the Sports Club Council received over $121,000, $65,000, $62,000 and $47,000, respectively.

Cultural groups were the next big winners, with the Black Student Alliance receiving $15,972; the Freeman Center for Jewish Life $11,910; the Asian Students Association $9,805; and Diya $9,025.

BSA's subsidy experienced the greatest decline, down $1,009 from 2001-2002. SOFC Chair Vinny Eng said that was due to changes in budgeting procedures, and that almost all of the difference will be made up next year with programming funds.

IN OTHER BUSINESS: Nine other spots were filled at the meeting. Freshman Maggie Peloso was confirmed as executive secretary; sophomore Pushpa Raja was elected SOFC chair; junior Kate O'Neill as chief justice; and freshman Elizabeth Ladner as legislative pro-tempore. Freshmen Phil Kurian, Andrew Wisnewski and Kristen Jackson, and juniors Kevin Williams and Meera Patel were elected to the SOFC committee.