In a meeting Wednesday, Duke Student Government Senate passed a statute to change the voting times for Young Trustee elections.  

The elections—which will be held from Tuesday, Feb. 9 to Wednesday, Feb. 10—will elect a member of the undergraduate student body to sit on the Board of Trustees. Elections will now be held during a 24-hour period, beginning at noon Feb. 9 and ending at noon Feb. 10, unless the Senate votes to amend the statute during its meeting next week. Previously, elections were held between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. The statute was introduced by Executive Vice President John Guarco, a junior.

“Elections will have to be from noon on one day to noon the next day, and that is to prevent technical difficulties," Guarco explained.  "They’ve had problems with that in the past.”

Past elections have been marred by problems with start times and candidates being left off of the ballot.

Several senators spoke against the statute or suggested changes. 

“I don’t like the noon to noon thing,” said senior Jay Sullivan, senator for equity and outreach and a columnist for The Chronicle.  “There are a couple different reasons why I think that’s problematic and it’s possibly not going to help us in any way shape or form with voter turnout.”

Sullivan’s main concern was that allowing the election to run overnight would give an unfair advantage to certain candidates. 

"People who are in selective groups, whether it’s fraternities, sororities or selective living groups often use their pledge classes to go [campaign] for them," he said. "They can sort of require that as part of that whole process of joining that organization."  

He went on to explain that door-to-door campaigning can be done overnight during the voting period with the new time window, which can increase voter turnout.

In addition to considering election procedure changes, DSG also discussed and voted on a security resolution proposed by Senator for Services Michael Brunetti, a freshman. The resolution, which would support administration efforts to install security cameras around campus, is a response to increasing security concerns on East, West and Central Campuses. A Senate committee investigated these concerns by surveying and speaking to students, reviewing crime reports and speaking to Duke Chief of Police John Dailey and Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta.

“Non-monitored security cameras will be installed outside of dormitories sometime in the future," said Brunetti. "Storage [of footage] will likely not surpass a few days. If reports of sexual assault, theft or destruction of property are made, then the DUPD and/or student affairs and the victim, if there is one, may view the recordings.”

Although several senators expressed concerns that the camera footage would be used to catch students who committed minor crimes, the Senate approved the resolution.

In other business:

Members of the DSG Research Unit presented a methodology report and timetable for their spring semester research projects. DSGRU is currently investigating a possible connection between students’ financial aid status and the meal plans they choose, student attitudes towards socioeconomic diversity and inequality at Duke and whether the existing advising apparatus effectively meets the needs of students.  DSGRU hopes to meet with the Institutional Review Board Panel to discuss approval of data access in mid-February, and to run their methodology by April.

DSG discussed and approved changes to the Senate bylaw intended to make senators more accountable to their constituents.

Finally, DSG unanimously approved the funding of events hosted by Zeta Phi Beta, the Duke NAACP, the Jewish Student Union, Street Medicine, Vision for North Korea and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.