CC questions who should respond to noise problems

Campus Council reflected on its accomplishments and shortcomings during the fall semester, brainstormed ideas for the spring and heard reports on several ongoing issues at their meeting Thursday night.

Junior Brittany Greenfield, Facilities and Services Committee chair, said that disorganization early in the semester undermined the group's productivity. "Obviously we got off to a slower start than everyone else this year because we were trying to figure out who we were," she said, promising a successful and productive second half of the year.

Central Campus representative Meredith Gonsahn, a junior, also announced that Residence Life and Housing Services is considering a new plan that would make RLHS-hired students first responders for noise violations, instead of the Duke University Police Department.

"It's basically to alleviate the problem of police responding first and alleviate the graduate assistants' responsibilities," she said.

Currently, Central has two GAs and no resident assistants.

The plan comes in the wake of a failed referendum to allow noise between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m Friday and Saturday nights. Under the plan, a group of eight to 10 students would be the first to respond to any complaint; they would pay for housing but also receive a small stipend from RLHS.

"I can definitely see this plan building community on Central," said Central Campus representative Shivum Agarwal, a senior. "You generally don't ever see the GAs unless you're in Central Campus Council."

Greenfield also reported that voting is taking place on East Campus this week as part of a new program to keep bathrooms unlocked in halls where students unanimously support such a change.

Voting on West Campus will not occur until second semester due to the influx of students from abroad. RLHS will implement changes on both campuses early next semester.

Council President Jay Ganatra, a junior, cited the lock policy as a major success of the fall semester, along with Sausage Fest 2K5 and Devil's Eve. But he conceded errors in the Council's response to move-in and move-out changes.

"We could have done a better job with that," he said. "I think we realized that we need to have better communication with RLHS."

Council members also named some projects they would like to pursue in the spring semester. Ganatra and Vice President Ben Rubinfeld, a junior, listed their three favorite projects as annual evaluations of selective living groups, allowing unaffiliated students to reserve commons spaces and improving involvement in quad intramural sports to promote the quad model.

Ganatra also said he would like to reexamine how damage costs are paid. Currently, if no person is identified as responsible, the cost is spread over all students, which causes little noticeable up-front cost but results in long-term increases in housing fees. He described these as "among the highest in the nation."

A lack of visible consequences creates a lack of accountability, Ganatra said. "If you aren't paying to fix things, there's no reason for you to stop causing damages," he said.

He added that charging costs to all residents of halls where incidents occur might discourage vandalism and help to slow cost hikes.

Other representatives delivered a litany of suggestions for next semester, most far narrower in scope. Gonsahn's call for picnic benches on Central Campus led to requests for benches on West Campus and at more bus stops. Other members suggested buying pianos for commons rooms and having pop bands and jazz combos perform on the new stage in McClendon Tower.


In other business:

The Council is working with Duke Student Government to install ice machines in Craven and Crowell quads, McClendon Tower and perhaps Central Campus, Greenfield said. DSG passed a resolution approving the plan Wednesday night.

Ganatra and DSG President Jesse Longoria, a senior, met with administrators this week to discuss bench burning festivities after basketball games. DSG and Campus Council members will join the team that regulates the festivities in order to facilitate communication with students.


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