Student Senate had a busy night as they prepared for a long break before its next meeting after Thanksgiving break. It discussed seven motions this past Thursday, Nov. 15 — four allocations and three new student organization approvals.
The most controversial motion of the night involved the allocation of $2,000 to the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), a Catholic organization on campus to go to the “SEEK” conference in Orlando, Fla.
The Student Funds Allocation Committee originally granted FOCUS’ request for $1,000 to help with the cost of two charter buses for transportation. The group needs two buses because it has over 50 students interested in going and the price for the two buses is approximately $2,000. The interested students are paying the $379 registration fee out of pocket.
Vice President of Student Life David Karaz asked if Senate would be willing to increase the amount allocated to $2,000.
Senator Natalie Gadbois proposed the amendment to the allocation to increase it to $2,000.
The reasoning behind supporting the increase was that it is very rare to see such high student interest in an event like this, and due to the high cost, it would be appropriate for senate to increase the amount given.
Opponents of the amendment, while not in opposition to the original $1,000 allocation, stated that FOCUS should re-apply to SFAC if it ended up needing more money to cover the costs. In a little over a month of funding, FOCUS has already raised approximately $11,000 with yet another month of fundraising to go.
Another reason Karaz was in favor of amending the motion was to avoid the bureaucratic red tape of FOCUS having to go back through SFAC.
Sen. Stephen Slade moved to table the motion until the increase had been approved by SFAC, though Treasurer Michael Riebel stated that he believed the increase would have SFAC’s approval. The motion to table the issue did not pass.
Ultimately, the amendment to the motion passed with senators Carly Kinzler, Zach Keller, Josh Schoenblatt, Michael Terrell and Slade voting nay.
The allocation passed unanimously.
Senate passed by acclimation to approve the allocation of money for representatives of the Rainbow Union to attend the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference. This money covers the costs of lodging, transportation and registration.
Senate also passed by acclimation to approve the allocation of money to representatives from Student Activity’s Board to attend regional and National Association for Campus Activities conferences. The money covers the cost of lodging, transportation and registration.
By going to these conferences, SAB is able to book performers and acts to come to Drake at a greatly reduced price. Kinzler, vice president of student activities and the chair of SAB said, going to these conferences last year saved SAB approximately $12,000.
Senate voted to table the approval of the new organization, the Bulldog Swing Society, in order to investigate concerns voiced by members of the Student Affairs Committee regarding liability due to the possibility of injury, as well as the high number of non-Drake University students who are part of the group and whether or not the club should be a community group or a Drake student organization.
Senate passed by acclimation the approval for the creation of Drake Club Baseball and Dogtown After Hours.
Dogtown After Hours originally was an initiative run by Student Senate and SAB, however they now wish to become a separate entity in order to not rely upon Senate and SAB, as well as for sustainability reasons so that they can continue far into the future.
Senator Emily Grimm reported Drake Facilities has been receiving complaints about the lack of room for stretching and free weight use in the Underground Fitness Center, as well as space issues in general. They are looking into some sort of expansion of the workout facility.
In his administration report, Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari reported that Drake is looking into the growing phenomenon that is called “MOOCs.” MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. More and more major universities have started offering very large, free online courses open to anyone.
Drake is starting to examine the development and how it will affect the university, whether students who take the courses will ask for them to be counted for credit and if Drake would eventually hold MOOCs, etc.