At its first full-length meeting in several weeks, Duke Student Government took up several major issues Wednesday night, including proposed honor code revisions, reapproval of ARAMARK Corp. and sweeping changes to bylaws governing the young trustee selection process.
The most contentious debate took place on DSG's first annual review of ARAMARK, a food service company that took over several Duke eateries last summer. Legislators ultimately approved a resolution in support of the company, despite strong objection from members of the Student-Employee Relations Committee.
At issue was the level of input gathered from employees by the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee, which critiqued ARAMARK's service this year as part of its resolution. During the meeting's public forum, SERC members said employees are treated poorly by the company and were not consulted by DUSDAC for its report. ARAMARK District Manager David Randolph and DUSDAC representatives denied the claims.
SERC members also said that in its first year at Duke, ARAMARK has put the bottom line before food quality and service and that DUSDAC, whose members are appointed, is not representative of student opinion.
"[The resolution] over-emphasized the small changes ARAMARK has made like the addition of deli meat and completely blew aside really big concerns like management-employee relations," said junior and SERC member Pavithra Vasudevan.
DUSDAC and Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst stood by ARAMARK and said the company's first year on campus has been a good beginning.
"ARAMARK has done great things on this campus, and I hope that we strive even higher next year," said sophomore legislator and DUSDAC member Isaac Dolgovskij.
During the meeting, an amendment was added to the resolution calling for at least three meetings per semester next year between DUSDAC members and employees.
"The amendment that was passed seemed like it was meant for the representatives to feel better about themselves," said freshman Bridget Newman, a SERC member. "I would be surprised if it got carried out."
Wulforst said he was in favor of such meetings but that the employee unions have rejected the idea in the past.
In approving the Duke Community Standard earlier in the evening, legislators lent their support to the Academic Integrity Council's proposal to simplify and unify the University's honor code and Fundamental Standard.
The AIC's proposal also recommends a more stringent obligation to report violations, elimination of the requirement for proctored exams, recognition of faculty-student adjudication, reconsideration of current medical excuse protocols and a focus on graduate and professional student issues. The judicial code would remain in place, but the AIC would augment it with a wider and more scaled range of sanctions for violations.
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DSG rejected consideration of a separate resolution calling for a student body referendum on the issue, though it may still be proposed at next week's meeting.
IN OTHER BUSINESS: Several months after the undergraduate young trustee election was marred by controversy, the Legislature approved major changes to DSG bylaws concerning the process.
Beginning in May 2003, the DSG vice president for community interaction, which under bylaw serves as the chair of the Young Trustee Nominating Committee, may not be a candidate. Immediate for next year, the DSG president may no longer serve on the nominating committee, as C.J. Walsh did this year. Further, in order to participate in a vote, a nominating committee member must be present for all deliberations and interviews. Finally, a two-thirds quorum of eligible members of the committee is required to vote.
Six members of president-elect Joshua Jean-Baptiste's cabinet were confirmed: Victoria Calvert, financial aid task force committee chair; Barry Locker and Dolgovskij, DUSDAC co-chairs; Will Fagan, attorney general; John Njoku, treasurer; and Yoav Lurie, who is a Chronicle sports photography associate editor, was named director of public relations.