The Young Trustee Nominating Committee is far from perfect, but its members are not to blame. A qualified applicant for YT is someone with a broad range of experiences at Duke who has built a robust network of personal connections. Thus, no matter who vets YT applicants, there are bound to be conflicts of interest. I contest the assertion that this year’s process was biased. This year’s YTNC was more open than ever before in letting applicants know about conflicts, and we proactively set up a process to allow applicants the opportunity to voice their concerns about conflicts (which none of them felt the need to do). Members with major conflicts of interest could not speak about or vote on those candidates—their opinions had no influence in the process. The YTNC considered every applicant seriously and voted for those they thought would make the best YT.
Additionally, I think that The Chronicle did not fully think through the supposed DSG bias that they imply occurs. DSG has consistently placed checks on YT selection, which was previously carried out (sans-election) by an internal DSG committee. After transitioning to a selection-election model, DSG made the decision to stop allocating automatic spots on the YTNC to senators. Due to overlapping interests, it just so happens that those who seek to be on the YTNC are often those involved with DSG. Finally, The Chronicle neglected to mention that the majority of DSG-affiliated YTNC members are new to DSG this year and never served on DSG in any capacity with any of the applicants. They also fail to point out that there were actually three DSG-affiliated semifinalists, not two. I think that the next time The Chronicle wants to stir up controversy surrounding the YT process, they should do more research and reflection before publishing such a sensational piece of journalism.
Dan Pellegrino, Trinity ’14
Chair, Young Trustee Nominating Committee