Student Senate was lively and somewhat heated last Thursday as it debated the passing of several motions, including the allocation of money for International Night.
The International Student Association appeared before Senate requesting the allocation of $800 to help put on its annual International Night on Nov. 17. The event features ethnic food and performances/shows from around the world.
The discussion and debate over the Student Fees Allocation Committee’s allocation of $600 toward the event quickly turned controversial when representatives from ISA revealed they had already received funding in the annual budget from Student Senate in the amount of another $800.
Due to a miscommunication between the outgoing and incoming leadership, the original allocation of $800 was in-line with past requests for funding. However, this year ISA wishes to decrease ticket prices and, therefore, hopefully increase participation, hence its request of additional one-time funding of $800.
Sen. James Ley made a motion at the beginning of discussion to amend the allocation of $600 to the full $800 ISA had requested from SFAC.
“I feel like this is one of the few times on campus when you have the opportunity to interact with students from all around the world,” Ley said. “Yes, there were mistakes made, but they wish to increase attendance. I move to amend the motion and give the full $800.”
This started debate on the amendment with many senators voicing strong opposition to the amendment on the grounds that senate was going over SFAC’s head and not trusting them to do their jobs. This criticism was met by the assertion that Student Senate has the final say in all motions and can amend resolutions as they wish.
Ultimately, the amendment to allocate the full $800 was defeated with an overwhelming amount of “nay” votes.
Debate on the allocation of the original $600 to ISA was just as spirited.
One aspect of International Night that raised red flags in the minds of some senators is that approximately a quarter of the tickets given out are free tickets for the performers, workers, advisors and select faculty.
Sen. Josh Schoenblatt opposed the allocation of any money at all based on this fact, stating that by cutting down the amount of free tickets given out, ISA can save money that can help go towards costs and not have to come back for more funding.
Sen. Napolean Douglas fully supported the allocation of funds, citing ISA’s and International Night’s past record.
“I think this would be a completely different case if this was an event that wasn’t a success in the past. This (the budget oversight) was a simple mistake, obviously,” Douglas said. “The non-payers, they are the advisors, people helping the committees and people who are responsible the success of the project. People who make the event happen and liven it. ISA is one of the few organizations on campus working directly in line with our mission statement.”
Unlike the amendment to the resolution, the original allocation of $600 was passed with Schoenblatt and Ethan Gascho voting nay.
Three other resolutions were passed by Student Senate.
The first was to recognize FACE AIDS as a new organization on Drake’s campus.
FACE AIDS is a group that focuses upon fighting global poverty and more specifically HIV/AIDS, and whose main activity is fundraising.
Las week, representatives from the group Mission of ONE were allocated money to go to a conference focusing on fundraising, recruitment, etc. The national organization of FACE AIDS was one of the organizations to help put on this conference and are partnering with the Mission of ONE on a national level.
Members of Mission of ONE are responsible for the creation of FACE AIDS here at Drake University and are encouraged by the increased interest on campus in global health.
Senior Katie Bell, a co-president of ONE, explained the relationship between the two groups this way:
“FACE AIDS is similar to ONE in that it is social justice oriented in fighting global poverty and disease, but while ONE is more advocacy based, FACE AIDS is focused upon HIV/AIDS in particular and its main activity is fundraising,” Bell said. “It would be better and more effective for FACE AIDS to be its own organization than to just be a part of ONE.”
Bell said that while many members of ONE will likely be members of FACE AIDS, there would no doubt be students who are members of one who are not part of the other. She also informed Senate that both organizations will occasionally share meetings and that either her or her co-president will become president of FACE AIDS in order to help get it started, with entirely separate elections for both organizations next year.
Approval was passed by acclimation.
The Drake University Dance Team was unanimously allocated $466 to compete in the Iowa State Dance Competition coming up at the Wells Fargo Arena. This amount will cover the registration costs to compete in the Pom and Jazz divisions, as well as a general music fee. The team is made up of 16 members, all of whom compete on the Pom team, while 12 compete on the Jazz team.
Student Senate appointments to Faculty Senate committees were also passed by acclimation.
During senator reports, Senator Stephen Slade reported that there will be a plus-minus grading town hall meeting next week with Faculty Senate in room 201 of Cowles Library, also known as the “fish bowl”. The meeting will be from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 10 and the venue will not be changed to hold more people. It will be open to the entire student body, and the meeting will be a discussion-forum only.
For more information about plus-minus grading, visit this link: http://researchguides.drake.edu/plus-minus.
Senator Joey Gale reported that the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has decided to begin replacing old or overused projectors around campus. With the new bandwidth expansion, Drake is currently operating at 80 percent capacity with enough of a cushion for an increase in usage. Lastly, Gale reported that the Blackboard 9 transition is on schedule and that all teachers should be trained in its use by the transition date, but they will not be forced to make the switch to Blackboard 9 until the end of the school year.
Senator Salwa Janjua reported that she met with the Dannie Crozier, the general manager of Sodexo here at Drake, who said he would cut down costs on Sodexo catering for student organizations if there is no service-charge in the price. Also, more Hillel and vegetarian options will be available.
Student Senate will be serving dinner to the student body at Hubbell Dining Hall from 4:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 24.