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Senators reject CCC’s proposed amendment

Karen Langley | Thursday, March 2, 2006

Student Senate was marked by debate and controversy Wednesday, as senators shot down Club Coordination Council president Beth O’Shaughnessy’s plea for an amendment to increase the percentage of funds available to clubs while decreasing funds given to other Student Union organizations.

Under the proposed amendment, clubs would receive 36.75 percent of available funds, as opposed to the current 33 percent allocation. Funds distributed among the remaining Student Union organizations would be decreased from 65.25 percent to 63.25 percent, and the fund for co-sponsorship between clubs and Student Union groups would be eliminated.

If passed, the amendment would allocate clubs $44,100 of the funds newly available from a student activities fees increase, while only $9,502.86 would go to all other student organizations – including SUB, Student Government, Hall President’s Council, the four Class Councils, Senior Week, Off-Campus Council, Judicial Council and Club Coordination Council. The Council of Representatives Collaboration Fund would also be entirely eliminated.

O’Shaughnessy’s sincerity was apparent, as she pleaded with senators to “stand up for what [you] believe in” and stressed the importance of clubs to the Notre Dame experience.

Siegfried senator Ben Gunty questioned the necessity of the amendment, citing personal experience with the availability of club funds.

“I was part of [Student International Business Council (SBIC)] and applied for funding, and got it extremely quickly,” he said. “I don’t understand why we need even more money [for clubs].”

O’Shaughnessy said the SIBC proposal was “fantastic,” but said clubs still “deserve [more money] for their great contributions to student life.”

Academic Affairs Committee chairman Chris Harris acknowledged O’Shaughnessy’s ideals, but questioned the specifics of the amendment.

“What I am questioning is the fairness of the proposal,” he said. “I don’t know how I can personally justify giving $44,100 of the student fee increase to the clubs and giving everyone else $9,500.”

While senators expressed respect for O’Shaughnessy’s attempts to garner support, not a single vote was cast in favor of the amendment.

The Senate also voted on – and ultimately passed – a motion approving a letter the Diversity Committee will send to all hall rectors this week asking their dorms to hang a rainbow flag imprinted with “The Spirit of Inclusion” from March 20 though March 24.

A part of the committee’s Stand Against Hate campaign, the flag-hanging – intended to stimulate casual discussion throughout campus – will be part of a program that will include discussion panels and Stall Note explanations.

Farley Hall senator Carol Hendrickson expressed hesitation over the flag’s appearance.

“My concern is people will just assume it [is] a flag for gay and lesbian issues,” she said. “There needs to be some sort of information that the ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ is not just about that.”

Minority Affairs Committee chair Rhea Boyd countered Hendrickson, asserting the validity of a symbol which could inspire incomplete interpretation.

“If people assume it’s for gay and lesbian issues, so what,” she said. “If it’s about a group who obviously isn’t included at Notre Dame, more power to the poster.”

Though Badin senator and Diversity Committee member Erin Hankins said rectors could not be forced to hang the flags, O’Neill senator Steve Tortorello warned dorms might still feel imposed upon.

The idea of the flag stirred universal negative feelings in O’Neill’s Hall Council, Tortorello said, citing hall staff members who felt hanging the flag would suggest a “celebration of a lifestyle.”

“Everyone from the staff to the presidents to the representatives felt imposed upon,” he said.

Community relations committee chair Nick Guzman supported the flag’s controversial appearance, noting that only an attention-grabbing device would stimulate conversation about the issue.

“The fact that it’s going to ruffle feathers is exactly the point of the flag,” Guzman said.