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All in on DSG

Almost all the candidates for DSG executive positions this year are qualified and could do a great job in the positions they're running for. They can all sell themselves, and I'm not here to do that for them.

I'm also not here to tell you who to vote for. I strongly encourage you to research the candidates and make a decision on your own. But here I'll explain what I think each candidate's strengths and weaknesses are-and name them as an ace, a joker or crapshoot.

Student Affairs

Tina Hoang: ace. Hoang has the best track record of any of the candidates. She is engaged during senate meetings and really works to make things happen. Hoang has unique ideas, but they sometimes affect too small a population. She doesn't want to overhaul DSG, but she would definitely accomplish things in the current configuration and in any future structure.

Lee Kornfeld: joker. Kornfeld's hackeneyed agenda includes challenging the administration, advertising student events with online tools and plasma screens, changing dining (read: ARAMARK) and improving communication between DSG and students. Kornfeld strikes me as a résumé-builder and lacks the passion of Hoang and McGannon.

Maggie McGannon: ace. A newbie to DSG, McGannon sees lots of problems and has the drive to make changes. She says she won't be afraid to "hound administrators." Her truly original ideas include an online "results tracker" to show how DSG acts on legislation. She was an outsider until this semester and would bring a nice perspective to the position.

Ryan Strasser: joker. A three-year veteran of DSG and the SA committee, Strasser is good at writing legislation and then letting it float through administrators' offices. His solution for perceived problems with the Judicial Affairs committee is to form a subcommittee to analyze it. He preaches change but is so firmly molded in the form of a DSG senator that he would bring nothing new or different to SA.

Athletics and Campus Services

David Melton: crapshoot. Safety is his focus-he doesn't seem to have a full perspective of the ACS issues. He insightfully says effort is the biggest factor in how effective DSG can be-but he may be too far extended already to give his best effort.

David Snider: crapshoot. Snider has lots of things to his credit, like the TVs in Wilson Gym and newly opened parking lots, but his modus operandi is one that doesn't lend itself to the transparency and accountability that so many candidates are calling for this year. Still, he does get things done.

Executive Vice President

Damjan DeNoble: joker. While outsiders are generally favored because they haven't been corrupted by the DSG system, EVP is the one office that requires an insider. DeNoble understands that DSG must be "combative and conciliatory" with the administration, but his lack of experience kills him.

George Fleming: ace. Fleming says he'll be controversial if elected, and I believe him. He's been stepped on and ignored as president pro tempore, and his enthusiasm for the EVP position would mean his influence would extend into many meeting rooms besides DSG's.

Joe Fore: crapshoot. He pitches his deal like a used car salesman. Fore says he wants to focus on communication and reform and is open to completely rehauling DSG, but he has always put on a good show. He might be a good disciplinarian.

Community Interaction

Daniel Bowes: ace. Bowes is intent on making the InterCommunity Council a power, and he's ready to commit the time to make it so. He also recognizes the disconnect between Duke and Durham and has ideas to bring together students and employees. Bowes has passion and is good about not alienating other groups.

Jordan Giordano: ace. He's young, but Giordano already has more experience than others in the CI race. He has done good things in DSG (e.g., legislation on displaced Katrina students), wants ICC to play a bigger role and knows how to milk the proper channels for results.

Jason Gross: joker. Anytime someone seriously calls to bring kegs back to the quad, it's a bad sign-given both its infeasibility and the fact that it's not within CI's purview. I can't even recall a time he's spoken up in a senate meeting this year.

Maya Salwen: crapshoot. Salwen is enthusiastic and understands the role of publicizing local events and DSG decisions but unfortunately doesn't understand the importance of liaising with the administration. She has no real experience in a similar position, either.

Academic Affairs

Mark Jelley: joker. Jelley was often late to or absent from Senate meetings this year, and he wasn't exactly proactive as Bassett dorm president last year (believe me, I lived there). His approaches to academic freedom, course evaluations and advising are stale.

Jimmy Soni: crapshoot. Soni is definitely passionate about academic affairs, but he may be overextended as is (chair of the Honor Council, chair of the Duke Political Union and a Chronicle columnist) and not give the position his full attention.

Elizabeth Rudisill is a Trinity sophomore. Today's column is the first in a two-part series in anticipation of Thursday's DSG elections.

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