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Funding debate dominates discussion

Drake University  Student Senate was busy Thursday night addressing a full slate of motions as well as debating the allocation of funding for the Alpha Phi Omega National Convention.

Alpha Phi Omega leaders attended the meeting, requesting $3,016 to assist in registration, hotel and travel costs to send four members to the national convention in Anaheim, Calif. Dec. 27-30. APO is looking to incorporate ideas from the conference into the fraternity’s operation and to perhaps present them at this spring’s leadership conference.

The representative from APO cited the fraternity’s rapid growth over the past few years, from around 40 members to over 200, and how attending the convention would contribute to sustainability. The convention occurs every other year, so there is no funding allocated within APO’s own budget.

APO has tried fundraising in the past, but the organization did not always reimburse them. There was also no guarantee that the money raised would go towards the convention.

Sen. Zach Keller noted that the Student Fees Allocation Committee used its own discretion in approving the funding, seeing that the organization had no real means of funding it themselves.

“It would be very unfair to increase the dues for everyone in order to send four people to this conference every other year,” Keller said.

After more than 10 minutes of debate and questioning, the motion passed with only Sen. Josh Schoenblatt voting in dissent.

The second big issue of the evening concerned the funding to send Sen. Napoleon Douglas, the Community Outreach Committee chair, to the TEDx Conference in February in order to obtain a license to hold a TEDx event in the Knapp Center in the spring.

The event would highlight both Drake and Des Moines organizations and include speakers, modeled after “TED Talks.” Currently, Student Senate possesses a restricted TEDx license, meaning Drake is not allowed to host a TEDx event with over 99 people in attendance.

In regards to the event at the Knapp Center, Sen. Douglas expressed that he would not fully commit his committee to planning until he had approval to go to the conference in February.

Most of the questions addressed the liability issues with having a student’s name on the license and whether or not it would last.

“The reason why I’m going to the (TEDx) conference is so it can be sustainable,” Douglas said.

In debate, the issue had to deal more with obtaining and keeping the license rather than the funding it would take to attend the conference. There was confusion as to whether the TED license would be transferable and if it would be more prudent for a staff member to attend.

Sen. Stephen Slade expressed his hesitance to vote on the issue.

“I would just like to make sure that we have every single duck in a row for the conference, how licensing would work,” Slade said.

Overall, the confusion regarding the license being held under the name of a student ,coupled with an excess of time before the conference, led to the motion being tabled for debate next week.

Several new student organizations also gained approval on Thursday. Chabad at Drake was approved unanimously, with the goal off educating both Jewish and non-Jewish students on ideals of Judaism.

Citing the need to separate themselves from the Anime Club, the Japanese Club also sought approval. Senate approved it due to student interest and that the club had already held successful programming.

The Drake Wrestling Club also became an official Drake organization. There were the usual questions regarding sanitation and safety, but the club was approved with the condition being that it must draw up a contract with Drake Legal before it can start practice.

Senate also endorsed the Board of Student Communications Task Force’s recommendations that put the BSC under the control of the provost, addressing the tense relationship between student fees and the First Amendment.

BSC issues will be addressed further during next week’s meeting, as Senate will debate on a change to BSC’s bylaws, as well as the BSC Campus Media Free Creation.

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