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Duke Student Government funds DevilsGate, questions lack of support for women's sports

<p>The Duke Student Government Senate voted to fund DevilsGate during its meeting Wednesday night.&nbsp;</p>

The Duke Student Government Senate voted to fund DevilsGate during its meeting Wednesday night. 

The Duke Student Government Senate voted on two budgetary statutes regarding sports and fitness at its Wednesday meeting. 

The first statute dealt with funding for DevilsGate, the group responsible for organizing tailgates before home football games. Sophomore Kayla Thompson, vice president for social culture, proposed the budgetary statute—which was unanimously approved—to fund future tailgates and reimburse funding for past tailgates. However, some senators raised questions about what was being done to increase attendance at other sporting events, specifically women's sports.

“I don't think DevilsGate is impeding attention to women's sports in any way," said senior Jessica Van Meir, a senator for equity and outreach. "I am rather concerned that there are not similar efforts to increase attendance [for] women’s sports."

As an example, she noted that women’s basketball is typically less popular than men’s basketball, as the latter is seen as more of a social event.

"I think it's really unfortunate and sexist that we don't have the same kind of social culture around women's [sports]," Van Meir said.

She said that she saw the value of DevilsGate—especially to improve Duke's social culture and athletic support—but had reservations because women's sports would not subsequently receive the same attention. 

The second budgetary statute—which failed via a 46 “nay” to 14 “aye” vote—would have allocated $3,000 of the budget surplus to Plyo Boxes. Plyo Boxes are exercise tools allowing the user to jump onto a platform and work on various lower body muscles. 

Proposed by Senate President Pro-Tempore John Turanchik, a senior, the legislation noted that the current Plyo Boxes in Wilson and Brodie gyms have injured students who did not land on the boxes correctly. 

Other senators, however, said the legislation would only help a small portion of students. 

“I think that it serves a very niche group of people and that there is no demonstrated or widespread need for this service," said Treasurer Luke Farrell, a sophomore. "I think this is another classic example of senators representing senators’ friends as opposed to representing the student body as a whole. I don't think that the fact that [the surplus fund] is so large is justification for spending it so wastefully.”

This legislation was introduced to the Senate only after Duke Recreation and the Graduate and Professional Student Council voted not to fund Plyo Boxes.

In other business:

The Senate unanimously approved funding for the first all-female Student Living Group, Illyria, for the year. 

Sophomore senators Adam Bullock, Kristina Smith, Josh Curtis, Jackson Dellinger and Trey Walk, as well as first-years Ake Kankirawatana and Dietrich Tribull, were appointed to the Internal Affairs Committee.

The Senate also approved a Student Organization Funding Committee-recommended budgetary statute to fund CrossFit Blue Devils for insurance purposes.

Bre Bradham contributed reporting. 

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