As the umbrella organization for the arts on campus, duARTS fosters a collaborative, diverse and accessible community of students engaged in the arts. We carefully evaluated how the current DSG presidential candidates and The 40 Percent Plan would impact the interests of Duke student artists.
We were extremely impressed with both Lavanya Sunder and Lawrence Nemeh and are confident that either of them would be a strong supporter of student artists as DSG President. Sunder has a proven track record of implementing student-driven policy changes, and we believe she would continue this work in advocating for the arts. Nemeh has a bold, alternative vision for the role of the president, and we believe he would promote awareness of and participation in the arts on campus.
We urge students to vote against The 40 Percent Plan, because its fundamental assumptions inherently oppose the development of a vibrant, diverse campus community. The plan relies on the argument that students will only financially support activities in which they are directly involved. We believe that student activities funding is meant to serve all students’ interests, not each individual student’s interests.
For example, consider the issue of funding for a Hoof’n’Horn production. An individual student may not attend the show—under the reasoning of The 40 Percent Plan, this suggests that Hoof’n’Horn adds no value to that student’s Duke experience. It is, however, impossible to deny the value added to the Duke community by having a nationally recognized musical theater organization on campus.
It is important to every student that our campus features a rich array of artistic organizations—even if he or she does not directly participate in them. The 40 Percent Plan substitutes broad appreciation for diversity with narrowly focused self-interest and would negatively impact student artists and other integral segments of our community. We encourage all students to explore the candidates and issues then vote carefully to protect the irreplaceable value of the arts to the Duke community.
Nandini Srinivasan, Trinity ’14