The Black Student Alliance endorses Ashley Alman for Young Trustee. Alman fully substantiated her claim of “knowing this University” by explaining how her perspective as a first-year advisory counselor, work in the Office of Undergraduate Education and contributions as leader in the Duke University Union will translate into meaningful insights on the Board. Her references to the 50th Anniversary and the Black Student Alliance Invitational conveyed her knowledge and appreciation for diversity and what it adds to the fabric of Duke. Her opinions on affirmative action were direct, honest and contextualized with facts and examples. Her perspective was refreshing, and her insights encouraging. These qualities differentiate Alman from the other two candidates.

Brown clearly articulated his commitment to improving the University, citing his experience as a vice president for DSG, but failed to explain how this experience would carry over into policy recommendations. Brown has a solid understanding of Duke’s mission and trajectory as an elite university, hailing Duke as a place that “dares to pursue outrageous ambitions.” However, in other crucial areas of understanding, he falls short. His lack of familiarity with diversity issues, particularly affirmative action, was a concern for us. A trustee should be knowledgeable of contemporary social issues. We do not feel that Brown could add any new perspectives or insights in this area.

Bhutani came prepared with examples of ways a Young Trustee could remain connected with the undergraduate population, citing an email account or drop box as a channel of communication he would establish, if elected. We appreciated his firm understanding of the role of a Young Trustee in advancing the University’s position in the world while providing the implications of Board decisions on the undergraduate experience. Although, when discussing issues that affect minorities, Bhutani often seemed unsure. We felt that Brown and Bhutani were similar is this regard.

Alman’s passion and enthusiasm for the student experience and extensive knowledge on a wide range of issues, combined with her ability to persuasively communicate her ideas, make her the strongest candidate for Young Trustee.

Marcus Benning, Trinity ’14

President, Black Student Alliance