The Black Student Alliance is pleased to announce its endorsement of Patrick Oathout for DSG president. Oathout demonstrated a more thorough understanding of the issues that impact minority communities and provided concrete recommendations for solving them.
In particular, we were impressed by Oathout’s legislative record and consistency. In his roles as senator and executive vice president, Oathout launched several initiatives including Fix My Campus, which solicits student ideas for campus improvement, and the student bill of rights, which outlines student rights as they pertain to DSG. Additionally, his involvement as founder of Duke’s Sigma Pi, as a Chronicle columnist and as president of the Duke Colloquium Fellows are proof of his impact.
Oathout is strategic and pragmatic, and provides a unique perspective on minority issues—often citing his struggles as an openly gay man as a point of empathy with those of other minorities. Oathout articulated his story without likening his experiences to those of a racial minority. In sum, we would characterize Oathout as dedicated, empathetic and detail-oriented.
Stefani Jones also illustrated a complex understanding of equity issues, citing her work as an advocate for cultural groups and, most notably, her role in leading the efforts to repeal the statute of limitations for sexual assault. We were impressed by Jones’ dedication to student advocacy and pro-active measures as founder of the Coalition for a Conflict-Free Duke. During the endorsement interview, she articulated the issues well but did not provide recommendations for solving them. It is clear that Jones does well in formulating solutions to complex problems, but that did not shine through during our interview.
We also interviewed the candidates for the position of executive vice president but are unable to endorse either at this time. In our estimation, Tre’ Scott’s charismatic personality and broad campus experiences would be better served in a different position on DSG. Nikolai Doytchinov came prepared with a 53-page proposal, but fell short by explaining how he would prioritize advocacy for the “most important constituencies.”
Marcus Benning, Trinity ’14
President, Black Student Alliance