As Monday’s Duke Student Government election approaches, Juniors Ben Getson and Amanda Turner both say the Young Trustee selection process needs to become more transparent and inclusive.
Though their goals may be similar, they approach their race for special secretary for the Young Trustee process differently.
Getson is vice president and treasurer of Ubuntu, a civic engagement-focused selective living group, and was a Duke Student Government senator until he resigned to pursue the special secretary position. Turner is president of the Black Student Alliance.
“When it comes to the Young Trustee, everyone can agree that the process could be better,” Getson said. “I see this as an opportunity for me to do what I can.”
The job of the special secretary for the Young Trustee process is to recommend changes regarding how the undergraduate member of the Board of Trustees is selected. Currently, members of DSG and Intercommunity Council select a Young Trustee from those who apply. The special secretary will collect input from students and then present a recommendation to DSG. After this presentation, which is supposed to occur no later than Nov. 4, the special secretary’s job will end.
Turner said that if she is elected, she wants to collect input from a wide variety of students before making her recommendation. The English major added that she wants to follow up with whoever is selected as Young Trustee “so it’s not just a random position of prestige.” She also wants to make sure more students know about the Young Trustee position.
Turner noted that before becoming BSA president and consequently, a member of ICC, she did not understand the importance of the Young Trustee position.
“I’m sensitive to the roles that major student groups play in the process, but I’m also sensitive to the voices of students who are not at the table,” she said.
She added that her experience in leadership roles in BSA will help her incorporate many different opinions into the process.
Getson also wants to talk to many students as he develops a proposal to reform the Young Trustee process, he said. The computer science major added that his experience on DSG’s Young Trustee Selection Committee last year allows him to “observe, judge and analyze the responses from the students.”
“I saw firsthand what about it works and what doesn’t,” he said, but added “as the special secretary, I would not want to come in with a preconceived notion of what the best process is.”
Getson said that as he talks with students, he will compile their opinions and make his notes public in order to make the reform process more transparent.
“The job of the special secretary is to create a fair and balanced process for anyone involved,” he said.
Both Getson and Turner said they do not have any conflicts of interest that will interfere with their duties should they be elected. Turner will resign from ICC if she is elected, she said, and Getson has already resigned from the DSG Senate.
Turner also will not apply to be Young Trustee, she said. When asked, Getson declined to say whether he would apply for the position.
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