The Young Trustee should have a solid understanding of University affairs, should be aware of important matters that affect Duke’s diverse student body and must possess the confidence to bring forward issues that are important to the Duke Community. As the advocacy body for Duke’s black community, BSA offers an endorsement to the Young Trustee candidate who has the most comprehensive understanding of the experiences of our community and is most committed to protecting, safeguarding and preserving the influence of our community in the present and future affairs of the University.

For this reason, the Black Student Alliance has chosen to endorse Jacob Tobia for Young Trustee.

Jacob Tobia exhibited a range of experience in working with University leaders to create a more inclusive Duke University. In addition to having a history of advocating for issues such as endowment transparency for the Duke University Endowment, the campaign to rename Aycock dormitory and gender-neutral housing, Tobia showed an active interest in advocating for higher retention of minority faculty and fully endowing the Reginald Howard scholarship. Tobia’s experience with the Board of Trustees has provided him with not only the knowledge to contribute effectively during board discussions but also experience that will prove essential as an advocate, when necessary.

Instead of defining the role of Young Trustee narrowly, Jacob acknowledged the importance of advocating for issues when it is necessary to ensure that the right decision is made for all of Duke’s stakeholders. His breadth of knowledge and understanding extends beyond the scope of issues with which he is personally involved to encompass those of the student body as a whole.

Each of the candidates presented a convincing case for how their experiences will aid them as Young Trustee. Katherine Zhang showed passion about issues that pertain to minority students and Asian-American students in particular, but did not share ideas about how to mitigate these issues in the future. Neil displayed extensive knowledge of Duke’s perceived priorities but did not demonstrate an understanding of minority communities. While each candidate is qualified for the position, Tobia was able to better articulate the purpose ensuring that minority student issues are a priority for the board in the future.

Executive Board, Black Student Alliance