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Judiciary to meet, create rules today

The Duke Student Government Judiciary will convene today to decide whether to hold a hearing on senior Sean Young's complaint about the conduct of the Young Trustee Nominating Committee and its chair, DSG President C.J. Walsh.

In his complaint, Young charged that there were inconsistencies in the number of voting committee members that attended the semi-finalist interviews, and that Walsh voted in the finalist selection, a direct violation of DSG by-laws. Young also questioned why six members of the committee were not present for any of the interviews or the vote.

Walsh has admitted to the allegations, but said neither the absence of several committee members in the first three interviews nor his vote had any impact on the final selection. He also said six voting members were excluded because they were not familiar with semi-finalists' applications or they decided not to attend.

Young's complaint called for the Judiciary to reaffirm the integrity of the young trustee selection process, but stopped short of requesting that the process be repeated.

One semi-finalist, senior Vik Devisetty, said Monday that the Judiciary should take that step. "I feel pretty strongly that the process has to be redone," Devisetty said. "I'm hoping that they'll come up with something and not cop out and give DSG a slap on the wrist."

DSG Chief Justice Meggan Wurzburg, a senior, said the Judiciary's actions will remain confidential until a ruling, if necessary, is made. If the Judiciary decides Tuesday to hold a hearing, a ruling must be made within 24 hours of the hearing.

The DSG Legislature has been planning to vote on the finalists Feb. 6. Their meeting this Wednesday has been canceled due to a short agenda, said senior Drew Ensign, DSG executive vice president and young trustee semi-finalist.

A potential conflict of interest in the interview and selection process may also become an issue. Devisetty said he was upset that junior Troy Clair, Black Student Alliance president and roommate of finalist and senior Bunia Parker, was one of the 10 committee members who voted.

"Troy should not have been allowed to speak about Bunia," Devisetty said.

"That's a conflict of interest, and it was C.J.'s responsibility to make sure that he was replaced by someone from his organization," he said.

Walsh said he asked Clair of the potential conflict beforehand, and Clair said it would not be a problem. Clair could not be reached for comment.

On matters of conflict of interest, DSG by-laws state: "If any member of the ICC Executive Committee plans to be a candidate for the Young Trustee position or has some other conflict of interest, or has other extenuating circumstances, then they must be replaced on the Young Trustee Nominating Committee. The DSG Judiciary will be the arbiter of conflicts of interest and extenuating circumstances. If the member is excused, a replacement must be chosen from his/her organization to serve on the committee."

Young re-wrote the by-laws last year as chair of the 2000-2001 YTNC. He said that as chair, he allowed committee members to use their own judgment in deciding whether or not to remove themselves from the committee.

Parker said he did not feel there was a conflict of interest, and pointed to the link between Jin Park, YTNC member and Asian Student Association president, and Young, ASA executive vice president.

Committee member and Interfraternity Council President Michael Wick said Clair and Parker's relationship was not a conflict of interest.

"That was brought up at the very end, but we decided it wasn't an issue," said Wick, a senior. "If there was any conflict of interest, we made sure everyone knew about it."

Allison Haltom, University secretary and vice president, advises the YTNC and said neither she, the administration nor the Board of Trustees would intervene.

"When the whole process of the selection of young trustees was set up, they made it very clear, and they restated this several years ago, that this was to be an entirely student-run process," Haltom said.

Dave Ingram contributed to this story.