Despite concerns that low voter turnout would render the results of Monday’s Duke Student Government election invalid, all four of the referendums on the ballot were affirmed.
The referendums approved dissolve the office of Vice President for the Inter-Community Council, restructure the DSG Judiciary, establish the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee as a part of DSG and replace masculine pronouns in the DSG constitution with gender-neutral ones.
In addition, junior Amanda Turner beat out junior Ben Getson for the position of special secretary to the Young Trustee process. Turner, president of the Black Student Alliance, will be charged with reforming the Young Trustee selection process in the next six weeks. She will resign from her position on the Executive Committee of the ICC.
“I want to figure out how students want to be involved in the Young Trustee process,” Turner said after her election. “I also want to talk about how, as a campus, we can put the measures in place to follow up with the Young Trustee once they’re appointed.”
Twenty-seven percent of students—1,889 out of 7,004 undergraduates —cast ballots in the election, DSG Attorney General Var Shankar wrote in an e-mail. In order for the election results to be valid, at least 25 percent of the student population needed to vote.
All four referendums passed by margins of at least 1,000 votes.
Shankar, a senior, said he was pleased with the number of students who participated, noting that the numbers were higher than they had been in past elections.
“I think the student body responded really well to the call for special elections,” he said.
The dissolution of the position of DSG vice president for the ICC—the most contentious proposal on the ballot— formally cuts ties between the two organizations.
Both DSG and ICC endorsed the referendum prior to the election.
“That was an amendment that I started working on over the summer... that was subject to a lot of very public debate,” said junior Gregory Morrison, executive vice president of DSG. “The vast majority felt it was a good thing.”
At a meeting before the election results were announced, the Executive Committee of the ICC discussed what the role and structure of the organization should be in coming years.
“ICC is a forum for uniting student opinion,” said Duke University Union President Zach Perret, a junior. “The structure that we choose depends on the way we think.”
The newly structured Judiciary will give DSG the power of judicial review over student groups. Seven justices, including a chief justice—selected by the Senate and confirmed by a student vote—will compose the Judiciary.
DUSDAC will now fall under the umbrella of DSG, continuing to evaluate dining options and recommending venues to be added or removed from campus.
Seventeen new DSG Senators were also elected, although eight seats remain vacant.
“It’s a very high number of elected senators, the highest involvement since my involvement in DSG—which started in 2007,” Morrison said.
The new senators for Academic Affairs are freshmen Ari Ruffer and Kenneth Gould, juniors Dimitri Jean and Matt Stansky and seniors Kristen Yang and Daniel Lewin, a former Chronicle columnist.
Freshmen Cameron Oswalt and Douglas Hanna and juniors Ben Bergmann and Kendyl Tash are the new senators for Athletics and Campus Services.
The new senators for Student Affairs are freshmen Molly Superfine and Gurdane Bhutani and senior Steven McAlpine.
Freshmen Chris Brown and Gordon Wilson and juniors Lauren Kottis and Danielle Starks were elected as senators for Durham and Regional Affairs.
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