The independent news organization of Duke University

Letter to the editor

On Sunday April 24, The Chronicle featured a story describing my presidential veto of the $40,000 DSG senate allotted for the student yearbook the Chanticleer. For the sake of the student activities fee and the future of the DSG programming fund, I want to clarify my reasoning.

The referendum that was voted on by the student body was incredibly misleading. It said that “every senior would receive a free yearbook” after a four-year buy-in that would be docked from their student activities fee. The funding that the senate approved only funds the Chanticleer for two years. Since the Chanticleer is using its surplus funds to cover much of the cost of the books for the next two years, DSG was only asked for $40,000. In two years, when the Chanticleer asks for funding again, they will be asking for $70,000 each year to cover free books for the entire senior class. Since the most recent vote to fund the Chanticleer, which was only over $20,000 from the annual budget (the other $20,000 came from DSG surplus), was so contentious that it only passed by one vote, it is unreasonable to believe that the DSG Senate will fund $70,000 out of the annual budget each year for the Chanticleer when these funds run out. Therefore, all first years who voted to get a free yearbook will be paying their student activities fees for the class of 2017 and class of 2018 to get free yearbooks, while they are unlikely to get them.

Funding the Chanticleer this much money will also be destructive to the SOFC programming fund, which supports needs and events sponsored by SOFC-recognized organizations. An additional $20,000 in yearbook funding is $20,000 less to give to a wide range of student organizations. Student groups will no longer be able to depend on SOFC for events that they have funded in the past. What’s even more egregious is that in two years, the senate won’t just be talking about $20,000 in programming, but $70,000. That’s means 10 percent of SOFC’s overall budget will be allocated to providing 1,600 people with free yearbooks. Small student groups and their events will inevitably suffer greatly.

This statute only passed by one vote in the senate, and it’s impermissible for me to watch hundreds of small student organizations be damaged at the whim of one senator. There is a reason why SOFC—the organization that knows the most about funding—denied the Chanticleer’s outrageous request. It’s my job as President to ensure the needs of the student body are upheld above all else, and that is why I decided to veto.

Keizra Mecklai

President, Duke Student Government

Discussion

Share and discuss “Letter to the editor” on social media.