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Elrod wins young trustee

After a week of controversy surrounding the young trustee selection process, senior Sara Elrod was elected the next undergraduate representative to the Board of Trustees at Duke Student Government's meeting Wednesday night.

Elrod, a history and political science double-major, will appear before the Board of Trustees at its Feb. 22 meeting, and will officially begin her three-year term--the first year in a non-voting capacity--July 1.

"I was up against two phenomenal candidates, and I am thrilled that I was selected," said Elrod.

The three finalists--Elrod, Adam Grossman and Bunia Parker--each spoke and fielded questions from the DSG Legislature and the Young Trustee Nominating Committee for 15 minutes. The lack of a majority in the initial vote resulted in a run-off between Elrod and Grossman.

"That moment between when they say there is going to be a run-off and when they tell you between whom, your heart falls into your stomach," Elrod said.

Although disappointed, seniors Grossman and Parker both said the student body would be represented very well by Elrod and that they will support the decision.

Elrod, a four-year member of DSG, has worked extensively on buildings, facilities and grounds issues. She has also served for two years as a student representative to the Board of Trustees' Buildings and Grounds Committee, in which she has been involved in planning the new engineering building, the West-Edens Link, the Nasher Museum of Art and renovations at the Washington Duke Inn.

The Edgewood, Ky., native cited completing the Campaign for Duke, addressing the housing and programming space needs of students and realizing the long-term strategic plan as top goals for the University as it tries to build its international profile.

"I don't think we need to lose what makes us Duke in order to compete with the top universities in the country," Elrod said.

The election brought an end to a controversial selection process, in which semi-finalist Sean Young accused the YTNC of unfair interviewing and voting practices.

The DSG Judiciary decided Jan. 31 to uphold the selection of the three finalists, but publicly condemned the actions of C.J. Walsh, DSG president and chair of the YTNC, and said it will recommend many changes to the vague bylaws that instigated the confusion.

With the election behind her, Elrod will now prepare for becoming a member of the Board, as well as wait to hear from several top law schools, including Duke.

"I'm so excited, but I still have to wait eagerly by the mailbox every day," Elrod said.

IN OTHER BUSINESS: Student Organization Finance Committee Chair Vinny Eng announced that all DSG-chartered or -recognized student groups will need to reapply for recognition or chartership in February, instead of April. The procedure is meant to help expedite the creation of the new student group financing system, announced in December, Eng said.