Duke Student Government senators reviewed upcoming projects for the semester and debated funding for one of Duke’s historically Black fraternities during its Wednesday meeting.
Senators initially tabled the historically Black fraternity Phi Beta Sigma’s request for $1,600 from the Student Organization Finance Committee for its AAXcellence event. The event seeks to assist fraternity members with networking opportunities and lead up to the fraternity’s weekend of charity.
The request was initially tabled due to the lack of a final receipt of costs and the fact that the AAXcellence event would be held on Thursday, Oct. 21, only a day after the Wednesday meeting. The tabling was eventually reversed and the funding request was approved after senators motioned to reconsider.
“[The fraternity] wants to bring in speakers and help improve the cultural awareness at Duke and just help ignite a fire inside of the Black students at Duke and just give them inspiration of things to hear about. And we're not giving them funding,” said first-year senator Kunmi Ojo.
Several senators remarked how DSG already has a less than favorable relationship with identity groups on campus.
“We’re asking questions, but for what groups?” Ojo said.
Senators also questioned if there was a framework for consideration of excess expenses, while others noted that regardless of the circumstances, the fraternity was still entitled access to SOFC funding.
Senior and accountability ombudsperson Zac Johnson gave a brief overview of senators’ accountability worksheets, which look to view project proposals through a “lens of accountability,” as stated in a previous DSG meeting.
“We just want to make sure that your projects are the most efficient and they can broaden the scope you’re working with,” said senior and executive vice president Ramya Ginjupalli.
During the project proposal period, committees gave brief overviews of their budding projects, followed by peers asking questions about the projects.
The Durham and Community Affairs committee elaborated on one of their projects modeled after Duke’s FLUNCH program, which allows students to get lunch with faculty. The DSG version would allow students to meet instead with community leaders to foster a closer connection between Duke students and the Durham community.
“By partnering with a local leader and brainstorming solutions to these different problems that Durham faces, students can get more involved in the effort to solve them,” said first-year Emma Zubak.
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The Campus Life committee is working to expand operating hours for Duke Vans in response to student demands and safety concerns, as well as send out a survey to show administration that their project has the student support.
Junior senator Sawyer O’Keefe mentioned that ideally the vans would run until 6 a.m. to combat student safety concerns, but that the committee would be willing to negotiate, saying that “4 a.m. is better than 2 a.m.”
In other business
SOFC approved an additional $440 of an overall $7,161.50 allocation for the Hindu Students Association’s Diwali celebration, $4,525 for Duke Motorsports’s Go-Karting social and $3,625 for duARTS’s Spooky Ruby night.
DSG also allocated $4,500 for HackDuke under the Duke Undergraduate Quantum Information Society, $2,500 for the Native American Student Alliance for its Native American Heritage Month speaker event, $2,600 for Duke Mixed Martial Arts’s weekly practices, $1,770 for the Asian Students Association’s Corn Maze Madness event and $1,520.88 for Inside Joke: Double Stuf’d Newbies.
DSG approved $700 for its own retreat over the weekend of Oct. 23.
Senators recognized Duke University Diabetics, a group that seeks to connect Duke students with type 1 diabetes and raise awareness among Duke students and the Durham community.
Audrey Wang is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news department.