15 to run for Young Trustee

Fifteen students applied to be Young Trustee, but one prominent student was not one of them—Duke Student Government President Awa Nur.

Nur, a senior, told The Chronicle Monday that she decided not to apply for Young Trustee to instead focus on finishing her term leading DSG.

“We have so much on our plates that I think it would be a disservice to not only the student body, it would be a disservice to my [Executive Board] and my Senate for me to take this personal time to campaign for another office while I am still in office,” Nur said.

Nur’s decision comes after lengthy efforts to reform the Young Trustee selection process.

Instead of members of DSG and the Intercommunity Council selecting the Young Trustee, the Young Trustee Nominating Committee will choose three finalists and the student body will elect one.

As in the past, the nominating committee will consist of DSG members and presidents of certain campus organizations. But it will also consist of six at-large students: senior Austin Boehm, juniors Maddie Pongor and Matthew Davis, sophomore Nana Asante and freshmen Alexandra Swain and Samantha Lachman. At the YTNC’s first meeting Tuesday night, the members elected sophomore Lauren Moxley, who served on the nominating committee last year, to chair the committee.

Moxley said the committee is being more stringent this year about blacking out information in the applications that could identify the applicants. Young Trustee applications have traditionally been anonymous, but this year, Executive Vice President Gregory Morrison, a junior, also blacked out information such as organizational involvement before the meeting, Moxley said.

Junior Amanda Turner, special secretary for the Young Trustee process and Black Student Alliance president, said the new procedure is partially an attempt to include people that were not involved in the process in previous years.

“I think that kind of moving from a more closed process to a process that is completely open, I think it’s a good decision on DSG’s part, it’s a good response to the criticism that they only want to elect the people like them—the criticism that DSG and ICC have received about that,” Turner said.

But others have criticized the new process, mostly because it helps applicants with campaigning skills and name recognition. At a meeting with the six DSG members of the nominating committee and other interested students Dec. 6, current Young Trustee Ryan Todd, Trinity ’08, said the new process favors the DSG president, if he or she were to run.

“If she or he could make it to the student body election, I don’t see how he or she could lose,” Todd said. “The DSG president has made it to the final round so many times. The process wasn’t perfect before and it might not be perfect now, but it is an improvement.”

Morrison said DSG presidents would make strong candidates because of their campaigning skills.

“If you say that being DSG president means that you are successful at winning elections… then it’s logical to say that if the DSG president or really any DSG person who is running is in the three finalists, then they will have an advantage merely because of their past successes in running elections,” he said.

Nur said she disagrees with the argument that the process favors the DSG president, adding that campaigning is not difficult.

“People are going to vote for you because you can tell them why they should vote for you, and with the new guidelines the Senate has set in, everyone has the ability to make that case,” Nur said. “It’s not name recognition, it’s the ability to draw voters out, and that depends on your record, that depends on what you’ve done for the school and that depends on the relationships you’ve built during your four years at the University.”


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