The independent news organization of Duke University

DSG approves annual budget at penultimate meeting of year

Senate decreased allocation for sexual pleasure products as part of new PASH center

<p>DSG discussed funding for several groups Wednesday, including the Chanticleer and three religious student groups.</p>

DSG discussed funding for several groups Wednesday, including the Chanticleer and three religious student groups.

At its meeting Wednesday, Duke Student Government reduced funding for sexual pleasure items provided by the new Peer Advocacy for Sexual Health Center (PASH) and gave final approval to the annual budget.

Three religious student organizations—Muslim Students Association, the Catholic Center and Presbyterian Campus Ministry—requested more funding than their original allocation in the Student Organization Funding Committee's annual budget. The Senate also debated funding Chanticleer, Duke's annual yearbook.

The Senate cut the funding for PASH to $12,000—down from the original $15,000—with $10,000 allocated for traditional sexual health items and $500 for sexual pleasure products in a 19-18 vote.

"Students made it clear that DSG erred in using their activity fees to subsidize personal pleasure products, and defunding that budget allocation is a victory we can be proud of,” wrote sophomore Sean Gilbert, senator for Durham and regional affairs, in an email.

The Senate also discussed opening student positions on the Board of Trustees—which are usually held by DSG vice presidents—to the student body.

“Our job is not to claim to be student's voices, but to elevate student's voices,” President-elect Tara Bansal, a junior, wrote in an email. “There are countless students at Duke with the professionalism, intellect, and persuasiveness to sit on that Board and while I wish they were in DSG, making it better, they aren't always; those students shouldn't be deprived of this opportunity.”

Next Tuesday, DSG will vote to confirm the change, as only the first reading occurred Wednesday.

After debating the budgets of several organizations, the Senate approved the annual budget as a whole without reviewing each allocation individually. Bansal, a junior, Executive Vice President-elect Ilana Weisman, a junior, and senior JP Lucaci, vice president for services, voted against approving the annual budget in such a manner. SOFC Chair Nikhil Gavai, a senior, emphasized the importance of approving the cuts that SOFC made, as the reductions would put more money into the programming fund.

Senior Jay Sullivan, a senator for equity and outreach, noted that DSG's decisions to add money to some organization's budgets could cause a shortfall for the programming fund.

“The cumulative effect of the positive decisions we've made for students have put us into a position where we know the programming fund will run short on money and we won't have the surplus to account for that shortage,” Sullivan wrote in an email.

The Senate also debated funding the Chanticleer. During last week's elections, the student body voted for $14 of each student’s annual student activities fee to fund the Chanticleer, which senate decided to subsidize with $20,000 from the annual budget and $20,000 from the surplus fund.

Some senators voiced concerns that $20,000 from the annual budget would take too much money from the programming fund. Others argued that the Chanticleer needed to be funded. 

Junior Tanner Lockhead, vice president for Durham and regional affairs, noted that he thought DSG should respond according to the referendum that the student body had the opportunity to vote on.

“The economies of scale and cost structure of the Chanticleer make a subsidy a far better policy option,” Lockhead wrote in an email. “It’s also critical to understand that the funding level approved by DSG does not jeopardize student group funding.”

Originally, 17 senators voted for this funding allocation, and 19 voted against it. However, two senators missed the original roll call vote later voted in favor of the proposal, resulting in a tie, which Executive Vice President John Guarco, a junior, broke by voting for the funding allocation.

In other business:

MSA requested that its annual retreat receive funding because the University cut its support for retreats. The Senate tied in the vote to increase the allocation by $3,800, and Guarco cast the deciding vote to approve the request.

The Senate approved three of the four increases in the budget requested by the Catholic Center as well as a funding request brought by the Presbyterian Campus Ministry.

The Senate unanimously approved SOFC’s allocations to the annual budgets of the DSG newspaper program, DIYA, Swing Dance Club, A Cappella Council and the National Society of Black Engineers.

The Senate chartered two new groups—Global Health Review and GateKeepers.

The Senate approved the Financial Oversight and Appeals Committee's decision to give the Eastern European Association more money for a rotisserie.


Likhitha Butchireddygari

Follow Likhitha on Twitter

Class of 2019

Editor-in-chief 2017-18, 

Local and national news department head 2016-17

Born in Hyderabad, India, Likhitha Butchireddygari moved to Baltimore at a young age. She is pursuing a Program II major entitled "Digital Democracy and Data" about the future of the American democracy.

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