Tomorrow and Wednesday, Duke undergraduates will elect the next president and executive vice president of Duke Student Government. Today, we will make an endorsement for the position of president, and later this evening, we will publish an endorsement for the executive vice president position.
The Chronicle’s Independent Editorial Board is proud to endorse junior Riyanka Ganguly to be president of Duke Student Government. Out of all the presidential candidates, she was the only one to present to us a clear and coherent view of untreated problems currently facing the University as well as a realistic vision for its future. Although hardly new to DSG, Ganguly—currently vice president for equity and outreach—has set herself apart from other candidates running for president as well as from previous presidents of the organization. She knows the students of this University, understands the ills of campus and has consistently proven that she can implement projects to address both. She has successfully enacted changes that allow undocumented students to be treated as domestic students, has created a peer-run sexual health resource center and has ensured that free menstrual hygiene products are available in bathrooms around campus. Her work has meant something. Thanks to her track record, Ganguly has given us ample reason to treat her campaign promises with good faith and to believe that she is well-deserving of our endorsement. We believe that rather than falling into the DSG trap of pet projects—FitBikes in Perkins, Zagsters across campus, etc.—she will seriously engage with the problems of this campus, from independent living conditions to the mishandling of sexual assault cases, bettering our school in the process.
We are less confident about the candidacy of sophomore Jackson Dellinger. Dellinger, now a senator for Durham and regional affairs, has put DSG's communication efforts at the center of his presidential platform. We wholeheartedly believe that it is important for DSG to communicate with students, but we believe a desire for better communication is a prerequisite for a presidential campaign and should not be a central platform plank. In our minds, this emphasis revealed a distinct gap in experience between Dellinger and our endorsed candidate, Ganguly. Although we cannot endorse Dellinger, we wish to honor him for his efforts as a senator. During his tenure, he has worked to craft policy changes affecting alcohol and independent living conditions on campus by using a large number of student voices to inform his opinion. His outreach demonstrates that he possesses a humility we find to be refreshing in DSG. We hope to see him remain part of the organization, but do not believe he is currently suited to be president.
We also believe that Vice President for Services Will Hardee, a sophomore, is not the right choice for president. In his interview, Hardee demonstrated distinct naiveté about both DSG and the broader Duke campus. He sees the role of president as a fusion between his current vice president of services job and a new inspirer-in-chief position. During our interview, he promised to meet individually with every member of the Senate and impress upon them the importance of servant leadership. While a noble proposition, that is neither feasible nor the job of a president. The job of a president is rather to identify problems on campus and to work to fix them, while ensuring that the rest of the DSG functions as an open interface between students and the administration. Hardee did not demonstrate to us that he could do that.
Surabhi Beriwal and Alan Ko recused themselves from endorsements.
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