Duke Student Government approved a proposal to amend the University’s existing Knock and Talks procedure at the Senate meeting Wednesday.
Proposed by Derek Rhodes, DSG vice president for Durham and regional affairs, the Knock & Talks amendment looked to make University interaction with students and student groups living off-campus a more comfortable affair. In the past, members of the Office of Student Conduct and the Duke University Police Department visited 12 to 15 off-campus houses at the start of the Fall to assess the dynamic of Duke students living in the greater Durham community.
Rhodes called this practice intrusive and said that it sends a negative message about Duke students.
“We, as students, do care about the neighborhood,” said Rhodes, a sophomore.
DSG approved Rhodes’ proposal—which called for off-campus students to reaffirm their commitment to the Duke Community Standard and for a collaboration with Duke Partnership for Service as part of a restructuring of the off-campus mediation program—by unanimous consent.
The Senate also approved three amendments to the Residential House Assessment Committee bylaws, proposed by Vice President for Residential Life Jacob Zionce, a sophomore. The amendments changed RGAC’s scoring system and added an appeals process and a house presentation process.
“This is a resolution that will establish how the committee works and the committee’s functionality,” Zionce said.
RGAC will score each house based on a written plan outlining the house’s compliance with the committee’s assessment criteria and its performance during the course of the year. These scores will be released at the end of each semester, and groups will have 24 hours to appeal their score.
The meeting began with the swearing in of the freshmen senators. Associate Justice Daniel Strunk, a junior, led the appointees as they took their oaths. Executive Vice President Patrick Oathout, a junior, suggested that the freshman senators should find mentors within Duke’s community.
While addressing the role that the new senators will play on Duke’s campus, senior George Carotenuto, vice president for facilities and the environment, told them that if the freshmen had a particular interest on campus, they could find a project related to it.
Three justices were elected to the judiciary, which reviews senate proceedings, after an application process involving written applications, interviews, a short speech and a Q&A session with members of DSG. Freshmen Joseph Denton and Max Schreiber and senior Kory Painter were entrusted with upholding DSG’s constitution and with respecting its history.
In other business:
Strunk called for a DSG soapbox to serve as a weekly public forum, either at the West Campus bus stop or at the Bryan Center Plaza. The Soapbox would enable students to assert their First Amendment rights, Strunk said.
All members of DSG will take part in bystander intervention training against gender violence organized by the Women’s Center during the months of October and November.
The surplus trustees of the Student Organization Finance Committee were restructured to officially include four representatives from the DSG Senate. This is in addition to the membership of five officeholders from the DSG executive board.