DSG senators debate SOFC spending, share committee updates

DSG member Alex Dray conversing with the DSG advisor Juwan Jacobs amid a discussion about policy changes.
DSG member Alex Dray conversing with the DSG advisor Juwan Jacobs amid a discussion about policy changes.

Duke Student Government senators met Wednesday to debate funding for two student group events that faced spending cuts and share committee updates.

SOFC debate

The Student Organization Finance Committee announced cuts to funding for food allocation to two student group requests, lowering lunch allocations from $10 to $8 per person and dinner allocations from $12 to $10 per person for certain funding requests.

When responding to a question about whether these cuts would apply to future allocations, junior Ariella Ruiz, SOFC’s DSG liaison, said that was a “decision [they] haven’t made yet.”

Some senators criticized the decision, questioning why SOFC did not adhere to the usual food funding allocations. SOFC representatives responded that the volume of requests had increased with an influx in events after spring break, given that requests must be made two weeks in advance.

Ruiz emphasized that SOFC did not consider the change lightly, and “thought about it long and hard.” 

The Duke East Asia Nexus originally requested $14,330 for its Duke-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill China Leadership Summit, a two-day conference from March 23 to 24. 

Of the $8,700 requested for catering, $2,900 was for lunch and $5,800 was for dinner. The total approved by SOFC was $2,100 for lunch and $4,000 for dinner.

Ruiz and SOFC Executive Chair Ayanna Chatman, a junior, agreed to an amendment proposed to allocate funds for the original $8,700 requested for catering and stated they would discuss the cuts further. Senators passed the amendment soon after.  

SOFC then addressed the Duke Persian Student Association’s request for a New Year celebration formal, which originally requested $4,100 for catering. SOFC cut the funding to $2,500, which was consistent with the new $10 per person dinner allocation. 

A senator commented how cultural events needed more funding and requested going up to $15 per person — $12 for dinner and $3 for dessert.

The senators voted to raise the food allocation budget by $1,250. 

Some senators defended SOFC, stating that the committee is conscious of decisions they will make for the rest of the year and must make tough choices about where to allocate money. 

Others reminded the senate that while SOFC was advised the prior week to be more mindful of their spending, they were now receiving criticism for the food allocation cuts. 

Committee updates

The equity and outreach committee described meetings with Duke administration about their recently-passed laundry initiative

The services and sustainability committee shared progress on the creation of a house course to aid first-years in adapting to life at Duke and in Durham. The committee also announced headway on a collaborative effort with the University to place napping pods around campus and shared that the Duke Climate Committee advisory council scheduled its next town hall for March 18.

The academic affairs committee is implementing a survey for feedback on Blue Devil Bridges, a program which connected Duke students with alumni mentors.

The Durham and community affairs committee described its plans for Democracy Day, which will take place Friday from noon to 4 p.m. The day will include a march to the polls, a “rock the polls” initiative, a “democracy” screen printing, nonpartisan ballot guides on the candidates, a voter ID pick up station and food truck vouchers.

The committee also introduced progress on orientation week training to help first-years get more acquainted with Durham.

In other business

DSG senators allocated $5,567 for a Daal Bhaat Shaak Raas dance showcase and $3,781.25 for TEDxDuke.

Aseel Ibrahim

Aseel Ibrahim is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news department.       


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