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DSG Judiciary to hear petition claiming K-Ville policy is discriminatory

The Duke Student Government Judiciary will hear arguments Monday at 6:45 p.m. regarding a petition that alleges that K-Ville’s tent check policy violates the equal protection clause of the DSG Constitution.  

The petitioner—cited as Charlie Perlman et al. in the official complaint form—asserts that the ban on digital authentication during tent checks is discriminatory against those with hearing disabilities. Tenters were previously able to use location services as proof of their location for tent checks, but that policy was reversed for the 2017-2018 tenting season.

The complaint form states that on Feb. 14 at approximately 2:45 a.m., two members of Tent #74 missed a tent check due to their inability to hear the bullhorn warnings. Although Pearlman explained to the head line monitor that the location tracker feature of the two students’ phones placed them in K-Ville during the time in question, that argument was not accepted as valid.

Two members of that tent—junior Bill McCarthy, who is a staff writer for The Chronicle, and senior Sanjeev Dasgupta, who is the sports photography editor for The Chronicle—both have hearing difficulties. McCarthy has a registered claim with the Duke Disability Office, and Dasgupta has had difficulty hearing since he was young, according to the petition.

Tent #74 is also located toward the southeast corner of K-Ville, according to the form, which could have prevented the tenters from hearing the bullhorn.

“By issuing a blanket prohibition on all forms of digital authentication and failing to include a requirement that line monitors give warning calls at both ends of K-Ville, the K-Ville 2017-18 Policy creates a discriminatory disparate impact on heavy sleepers, tenters situated toward the back of Kville, and tenters with hearing disabilities,” the complaint form reads.

The petitioners are requesting that the ban be struck down and that any tent checks missed as a result should be disregarded. They are also asking for an amendment requiring line monitors to issue warning calls from both sides of K-Ville.

Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect that the K-Ville bylaws were passed unanimously.


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