Groups may share SOFC funds in trial run next year

DSG Treasurer Sam Halls presents the SOFC Reform Commission’s findings at the DSG meeting Wednesday night. Halls proposed the creation of “bucket funds” to cover on-campus performance groups’ spending next year.
DSG Treasurer Sam Halls presents the SOFC Reform Commission’s findings at the DSG meeting Wednesday night. Halls proposed the creation of “bucket funds” to cover on-campus performance groups’ spending next year.

Duke Student Government Treasurer Sam Halls presented senators with the results of the Student Organization Finance Committee Reform Commission at the DSG meeting Wednesday night.

The Senate decided to table approving the committee’s recommendations until next week. If approved, SOFC would run a trial granting the eight performance groups on campus access to “bucket funds” to cover all capital expenditures next academic year. SOFC will also give the coalition of groups a discretionary budget to fund collaborative efforts among groups.

“This is going to give these groups the ability to really work together to collaborate on many issues... and have the freedom to use the money when they need it and when they deem it appropriate,” said Halls, a senior.

SOFC could potentially extend this model to many of its chartered organizations in the future. Organizations with similar interests would receive both the bucket funds and discretionary budgets.

Halls added that the groups’ decisions must fall under University guidelines—groups cannot use funds to purchase alcohol, for example. Discretionary funds, however, will allow the groups to spend money on some things SOFC normally does not allow, such as T-shirts.

The committees to determine how discretionary funds would be used will consist of a representative from each group and one SOFC member.

The Senate tabled the issue after some senators tried to amend the bill. Academic Affairs Senator Danny Lewin, a senior and former Chronicle columnist, proposed that an Office of Student Activities and Facilities member also sit on the committee. Athletics and Campus Services Senator Ben Bergmann, a junior, suggested that other clusters of groups be allowed to petition to be included in the trial.

Executive Vice President Gregory Morrison, a junior, proposed that senators revisit the reform commission’s proposal next week.

“I think right now what we are doing is writing legislation on the fly, and I have never been a fan of that,” Morrison said.

Morrison also spoke to the Senate about possibly changing the voting procedures for DSG elections, especially the presidential election.

Elections are currently an instant run-off system, meaning that students rank the candidates in order of preference, and a computer program automatically regenerates votes based on those preferences until one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. The proposed bylaw stipulates that students instead vote for one candidate, except in Senate races, when students select two. Morrison said many people have questioned the instant run-off process.

“The idea is to have a debate on which voting system is better,” Morrison said. “And that may be this [new method] or that may be remaining with the current system.”

The proposed bylaw also states that there will be a run-off election if the presidential candidate wins by fewer than 150 votes.

But because Wednesday night was the senators’ first reading of the bylaw, the Senate will consider the piece of legislation—and other proposals regarding election procedures—next week.

In other business:

Senators established the DSG Commission on Campus Accessibility, which will increase accessibility for disabled students. The commission will consist of an at-large Duke Transportation Advisory Committee, DSG members and potentially members of other campus bodies, such as Campus Council.

DSG praised Duke Dining Services and OSAF for their support of Haiti relief efforts on campus.

Senators also granted DSG recognition to the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, the Duke Bowling Club, Duke Quidditch and Christians on Campus.


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