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New DSG cabinet starts to take shape

Three weeks after winning the Duke Student Government presidency, junior Joshua Jean-Baptiste named Emily Grey as his chief of staff Thursday, and also announced that the entire student body is eligible for the rest of his expected 11-member cabinet.

"Emily hands down is one of the greatest assets that DSG has," Jean-Baptiste said. "Keeping her in the mix is very important. She's just good."

Grey, a junior who currently serves as DSG legislative pro tempore and was vice president for facilities and athletics last year, lost the Feb. 28 presidential election to Jean-Baptiste by 183 votes or 6.11 percent. If she had garnered three more votes, she would have forced a run-off.

"I'm very excited about the position because I feel that DSG is going to be facing very important issues next year," Grey said. "The new leadership has a lot of potential."

Grey will focus on women's issues, continuing the work of current vice president for community interaction Carrie Johnson, a senior.

Traditionally, presidents-elect name DSG insiders or friends as their chief of staff and other cabinet spots. But Jean-Baptiste said he thought it was important to allow all students to apply for the positions.

"I think there are a lot of talented students here at Duke, and I don't want to limit it to the select people I've been exposed to," he said. "If they are highly qualified, it will hopefully come out."

Jean-Baptiste said applications will be available today on DSG's web site at The deadline to apply is March 28.

Current DSG President C.J. Walsh appointed 18 cabinet members last year. Jean-Baptiste will eliminate six or seven of those positions: the residential life liaison, alcohol policy liaison, student participation coordinator, director of student services, LIP coordinator, ACC Leadership Conference coordinator and possibly one of the co-directors of undergraduate computing.

He will also change the public relations position to press secretary, and said he hopes candidates for the position will have interest in journalism and government as well as the initiative to shape the new role.

"Their responsibilities will be to keep track of all the articles that are written about DSG, and to write press releases for all projects completed by the Legislature," Jean-Baptiste said.

This year, cabinet members took on individual projects similar to those regularly carried out by legislators. Jean-Baptiste said such projects will continue on a member-by-member basis.

He also said he hopes to improve DSG's online presence and encourages candidates with strong web experience to apply.

"The way I'm going to run cabinet next year is on more of a one-on-one basis, rather than as a group," he added. "Emily and I will work together to make sure they do their job and do it well. It's a different form of leadership [from this year's]."

Grey and any other cabinet member Jean-Baptiste appoints must be approved by the Legislature in April before taking office.