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Drake Curling Club denied annual funding

Three student groups were officially recognized as annually funded organizations at Drake University and one was denied the status at this week’s Student Senate meeting.

Drake Outdoor Leadership Club, Respect for Life and Drake Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club will now all be a part of the Student Allocation and Fees Committee annual budget, but Drake Curling Club was declared ineligible for now because of its short time on campus. It was approved as an organization by Senate just last semester, in May 2010.

The student handbook states that an organization must have been present on campus for two consecutive semesters, but does allow for discussion of individual cases. Drake Curling Club was approved by Senate in May 2010.

As student affairs committee chair, Sen. Megan Hutcheson brought the motion to table and told senators that her committee had discussed the issue. She said that opinions had differed and their final vote had been close.

She said they’d considered that the club had organized activities before Senate had recognized them and during the summer, and that they had been so successful in recruiting members and gaining interest in such a short time.

“My committee felt that it (the Handbook statute) could be something that could be overridden,” Hutcheson said.

But she added that, “My committee was not unanimous on any of these decisions, so don’t hesitate to criticize us right now.”

Senators made cases for both sides of the argument, some reasoning that this club could be an exception and others noting that rules were rules.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable in my view bending the rules for this instance,” Vice President of Student Activities Greg Larson said.

However, Sen. Reed Allen pointed out that the provision left room for interpretation, and that the committee had fulfilled its responsibility in analyzing the request and presenting it to Senate.

“That’s what they’re there for,” Allen said. “I’m not saying it’s not our job to scrutinize the motions and look over them, but they wouldn’t have sent it to us it if they didn’t think it was a worthy motion.”

“I feel that I need to vote with the student handbook,” said Sen. Michael Riebel.

He and 10 others voted against the motion, two senators abstained and 10 voted in favor. The 11-10 result was by far Senate’s closest this year, inspiring murmuring around the table.

“Oh my god, we actually have to count it,” Sen. Hutcheson said.

The other organizations, all more than a year old, fared better, each receiving unanimous approval votes. Although several senators paused hesitantly before giving their affirmation to Respect for Life’s request, none raised any debate.

The Student Fees Allocation Committee presented only one motion this week, allocating $500 to the Student Senate Community Outreach Committee for its Holiday Wish party.

The event, last night in Olmsted, invited families from the area onto campus to enjoy holiday-themed crafts, games and snacks. It also provides parents who might otherwise have trouble affording gifts with presents bought by Drake students. The allocated funds will cover any remaining necessary gift purchases.

This motion passed unanimously, but Larson posed questions about it later on.

“This is student activities fee going toward something that’s not student-related,” he pointed out, saying that he was curious to hear what others thought.

Some senators conceded his point, but nearly all of them offered validations for the event’s funding.

They pointed to the fact that a number of students participate in the planning of the event, bought many of the presents and gave donations, even if the event was not actually being hosted for their benefit.

“I like to think I go to a college where the whole campus would be OK with that,” Sen. Dana Hansen said. “I’d like to think that Drake students would be OK with that.”

Overall, the consensus was that the event was worthwhile, but that other sources of revenue would be examined for future years.

Senators also briefly discussed a proposal from Assistant Dean of Students Melissa Sturm-Smith about a possible change in the hours of operation at Olmsted Center. Sen. Ben Cooper said that the subject was introduced last year, but nothing ever came of it.

Comments from around the table were resoundingly against the proposal as it stood, and President Samantha Haas said she would relay the message back to Sturm-Smith and the issue could be reintroduced later.

Meeting in brief

$500 – Student Senate Community Outreach Committee was allocated $500 to cover supplemental gift costs associated with its Holiday Wish party

• Curling Club – Drake Curling Club was denied its request for designation as an annually funded organization after Senate reasoned that it has not been present on campus long enough

• Approval – Drake Outdoor Leadership Club, Respect for Life and Drake Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club were all approved as annually funded campus organizations

• Olmsted – Senate spoke overwhelmingly against an unofficial proposal to reduce operating hours at the Olmsted Center during the week

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