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DUU stands by decision to fire chair

The Duke University Union executive board has upheld the forced resignation of junior Hanna Mahuta, former chair of the Major Attractions committee.

After hearing a five-minute appeal from Mahuta nearly a week after members of the board asked her to leave the committee, the board re-affirmed her dismissal, citing her lack of commitment and failure to secure a band for the Cameron Rocks! concert April 7.

"They are telling complete and total lies," said Mahuta, a former Chronicle staff member. "They call themselves a union but they're the complete opposite of that-it's a totalitarian student unit."

Union officials, including President Alex Apple, a senior, Chief Financial Officer Katelyn Donnelly, a junior, and Communications Coordinator Lauren Maisel, a sophomore, did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday evening.

Mahuta said she was prepared to submit an offer to a band last Friday until she was fired the night before.

Fifteen of the 18 members of the Major Attractions committee submitted a letter to the board in support of Mahuta's leadership and asking that she be reinstated, said junior Aulden Burcher, a committee member since last April.

"There has never been a time when anyone on the committee has doubted her efforts to bring a great band, or bands, for the show," Burcher said.

Mahuta said some members of the executive board claimed she pressured her committee to sign the letter of endorsement, but Burcher said that was impossible, as Mahuta was out of the room at the time.

"Everyone wrote this letter by their own will," Burcher said, noting that to his knowledge, no one on the committee was consulted before Mahuta was fired.

"This is really the time when everything is getting in line, when every offer needed to be shored up and where a lot of the foundation for the concert takes place," Burcher added. "To be changing the chair at this time of year does not make a lot of sense."

Sophomore Rob Carlson, who was appointed interim chair, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Mahuta said the executive board accused her of not having any backup plan after one high-profile band fell through, though she denied the accusation.

"I have never once been without options," she said. "They said this was an appeal, but it could only be called that by the absolute loosest definition of the word."

Multiple sources have confirmed that an offer was imminent and that several artists have been discussed as contingency plans.

Another complaint of the executive board was that Mahuta was not communicating her intentions with Union leadership, but she said she has copies of e-mail correspondence between herself, Apple and senior Alex Oliveira, who resigned as Union vice president last week in an unrelated move.

Oliveira did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.