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New bylaw calls for DSG performance peer reviews

DSG approved a new Senate bylaw calling for peer reviews of senators and executives each semester.
DSG approved a new Senate bylaw calling for peer reviews of senators and executives each semester.

After the approval of a new Senate bylaw in the Duke Student Government meeting Tuesday night, all DSG senators and executive board members will now be given performance reviews each semester.

According to the bylaw, senators will be evaluated based on their work with individual DSG projects and their participation during meetings. Senators will evaluate their peers on their individual committees and their committee vice presidents. Vice presidents will also evaluate senators on their own committees.

In past years, DSG executive members were reviewed, but the body did not conduct individual senator evaluations.

Executive Vice President Pete Schork, a junior, said the reviews will be partially qualitative and partially quantitative performance evaluations.

“We are very sensitive of causing rifts in DSG,” Schork said. “We’re not trying to kick people out.”

Schork said the reviews are intended to be “snapshots” of how senators are performing, stressing that they will exist purely to provide constructive feedback for senators and keep them accountable.

Although senators approved the bylaw, some members questioned components of the new policy. Senior Will Passo, a student affairs senator, said he did not like the numerical aspect and noted that the legislation will create a more competitive atmosphere.

Schork said the senator reviews will only be shared with individual senators.

Sophomore Ari Ruffer, senator for Durham and regional affairs, questioned the logistics of the reviews, asking if they would just provide a number rating your performance. Schork said the reviews would be a holistic evaluation of each senator’s legislative and project involvement.

In other business:

DSG approved changes to the election bylaw, which will establish a DSG Board of Elections. Starting next academic year, this body will oversee all DSG elections, including the election of the undergraduate Young Trustee.

This body, which will be composed of seven undergraduate members selected through an application process, will be formed at the conclusion of this year’s elections. The commission will oversee every election and will establish rules for elections that will be published at the beginning of the year.

DSG members also discussed future Tailgate policies.

Sophomore Chris Brown, vice president for athletics and campus services, recounted a recent trip he made with DSG president Mike Lefevre, a senior, to Wake Forest University’s tailgate. Brown said that because both tailgating and the stadium are off campus, students who tailgate are more likely to attend the game. He added that Wake Forest’s facilities provide for a better experience for students.

“They have a gate for student entrance [at football games],” Brown said. “We have a gap in a chain-link fence.”

Brown added that because of this year’s new regulations, recent Tailgates were the best Duke has ever had, noting that this year likely had the fewest calls to Emergency Medical Services and occurrences of students standing on objects. He said these changes were significant, but that more must be done to create a better Tailgate experience.

“Sure, Tailgate is a party, but it’s called Tailgate for a reason. It’s university-sponsored for a reason,” Brown said. “What happened was that the university decided that it was a dangerous event that didn’t achieve any... goals.”

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