DSG senators discuss SOFC changes, debate funding allocations

Duke Student Government senators heard an announcement about SOFC changes, reviewed parliamentary procedure and debated funding allocations at their Wednesday meeting.

SOFC updates

SOFC DSG Liaison Ariella Ruiz made an announcement clarifying recent changes to SOFC policy. Ruiz said that in March 2023, the organization received $30,000 in requests. This week alone, it received $100,000 in requests, which it reduced to $29,000. Her comment was met by applause from senators.

Ruiz proceeded to explain that SOFC would not fund any events after the last day of classes and that it cut catering allocations in half for the day’s funding requests, with the exception of the Duke Arab Student Organization’s Iftar gala, which was a religious exemption.

SOFC is planning to review its policies and guidelines throughout the month of April and is accepting senator feedback, Ruiz said. 

Committee updates

The campus life committee announced that committee representatives will attend an upcoming lunch with John Dailey, Duke University Police Department chief of police, and members of the student working group on safety.

The equity and outreach committee announced plans to unveil a new project at an upcoming meeting. The committee also reminded senators to vote in the DSG election, which takes place on DukeGroups from Wednesday to Thursday at noon. 

The services and sustainability committee announced plans for a climate town hall at 6 p.m. Thursday in Gross Hall.

Procedure reminders

First-year Yash Sharma, a senator on the academic affairs committee, shared a slideshow presentation reminding senators about the available motions and their intended uses. He reminded senators to direct comments through the chair and be conscious of which comments should be reserved for closed executive sessions.

Senators also reviewed the potential election proceedings for the role of president pro-tempore, a role which will be implemented if its proposal passes in the election with a 15% voter turnout.

In other business

Senators considered a funding request from Duke Catholic Center for catering and a space rental for an Easter brunch. Ruiz described the decision to allocate half of the $3,500 catering request.

Senator Aubteen Pour-Biazar raised a motion for a two-minute moderated caucus to further discuss the funding decision. 

“This is a cultural event, and how we want to fund catering for cultural events is probably a conversation that we should be having. They didn’t choose for Easter Sunday to fall in April,” he said.

During the caucus, Ruiz explained that groups may request funds earlier in the year when SOFC funds are more plentiful. Sophomore senator Liv Schramkowski later recommended to Ruiz that when SOFC reviews its guidelines, they include a reminder to student groups about the possibility of requesting funds early.

Senators agreed to take a five minute recess to consult on the issue. Following the recess, Ruiz explained that she had mistakenly missed an update in which SOFC had insufficient forms from Duke Catholic Center to approve the request according to guidelines. The discussion was tabled for one week.

Senators also approved budgetary statutes, which are allocations from the DSG General Fund.

Senators approved $2,104 to the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee for student performances and catering for an event called “Gothic Grill and Chill,” which seeks to promote the use of Gothic Grill as a venue. 

Two senators raised concerns about why the food was catered from Thrive Kitchen & Catering, rather than Gothic Grill explicitly. Other senators resolved their concerns by explaining that Gothic Grill is a subsidiary of Thrive Kitchen & Catering.

Senators also approved $250 from the DSG General Fund to the Undergraduate Environmental Union for an environmental art gallery.

Senators considered a $6,000 request to the DSG General Fund for a mental health awareness campaign called Fresh Check Day, which would be hosted collaboratively by CAPS and DSG. Senators voted to postpone the funding decision one week due to inadequate information about the use of CAPS funds.

Senators allocated $5,035.10 to Runway of Dreams for a fashion show space rental and $3,895.63 to Momentum Dance Company for an end-of-year performance space rental. Senators approved $4,847.31 to Duke Chinese Dance for a showcase, agreeing with the SOFC decision not to fund gifts to guest performers. Senators approved $4,002 to Defining Movement for a showcase, $4,490 and $4,150 to the Duke Arab Student Organization for an end of Ramadan celebration and an Iftar gala, $2,225 of a requested $7,500 to Duke NeuroCare for a mental health advocacy concert and $2,925 of a requested $9,500 to the Chabad student group for a concert and talk on the intersection of racism and antisemitism.


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Michael Austin | Associate News Editor

Michael Austin is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor for the news department.  

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