As the President of Blue Devils United, I strongly oppose The 40 Percent Plan.
I do not, as some might claim, seek to convey the message that BDU does not trust students to make their own decisions. Instead, we fear the confusion and competition that would accompany the implementation of The 40 Percent Plan. Every day that BDU would spend campaigning for student funds at the beginning of each semester, seeking to publicize and differentiate ourselves from the hundreds of other student groups, is a day lost to advocacy. Our organization serves to better the lives of Duke students by providing a safe space both ideologically and socially, spreading awareness of LGBTQ issues and fostering social environments that promote acceptance and unify members of our demographic. It is alarming that this novel funding process, essentially a popularity contest, may hurt groups like BDU whose members’ identities are often stigmatized on this campus.
Moreover, The 40 Percent Plan asserts that small and minority student groups will all have sufficient funding for programming, but it provides no means by which to enforce such a guarantee. This is a tremendous issue for Blue Devils United, as our group annually plans and hosts major campus events such as the Lavender Ball and the Drag Show. The institution of The 40 Percent Plan would threaten our ability to meet the cost of these events, despite their importance to fostering an inclusive campus community. The likelihood that The 40 Percent Plan would destabilize BDU’s ability to serve marginalized members of our campus is of utmost worry.
My opposition to The 40 Percent Plan does not indicate my lack of faith in the power of student agency. It is this agency that has allowed groups like BDU to form and serve as a voice for historically marginalized groups on this campus. In short, I am concerned that The 40 Percent Plan would severely compromise the equitable status of LGBTQ and other underrepresented students on this campus.
Daniel Kort, Trinity ’16
President, Blue Devils United