Sophomore Aly Diaz, senator of Durham and regional affairs, will serve as the next Duke Student Government president pro tempore after a split vote in the DSG Senate.

Junior Saheel Chodavadia, vice president of academic affairs, presided over the election and broke a tie in favor of Diaz at Wednesday's meeting. Chodavadia exercised his discretion as presiding chair to break the tie given that the DSG Constitution does not specify a tie-breaking procedure. He did not reveal which two candidates were tied. 

Senators proposed enacting instant-runoff or ranked-choice voting and re-running the election. However, the Senate rejected a motion to discuss the matter in an unmoderated caucus and then agreed that Chodavadia should break the tie. 

Current President Pro Tempore Avery Boltwood, a junior, also accepted a nomination to compete for another year as president pro tempore. Boltwood was recently elected to serve as executive vice president for the next academic year earlier this month.

The other nominees were first-years Kyle Melatti, senator of Durham and regional affairs, and Shirley Mathur, senator of equity and outreach. 

Much of the debate around the election centered on Boltwood's run for the position. Although both the candidates expressed a desire to continue the progress Boltwood made this year in the role, they also expressed skepticism at Boltwood's candidacy for a second term. 

"I think it would be an unfair burden to place on [Boltwood] to run the meetings while also carrying out the responsibilities of [executive vice president]," Mathur said.

Holding both positions would not be burdensome, Boltwood said, arguing that each position would help inform their work in the other. 

"I think that there's a lot of things that this role can do that I'd like to bring to life more," Boltwood said. 

The candidates discussed a desire to improve diversity, outreach and intra-committee cooperation in the Senate. Diaz emphasized the role that senators have as advocates in the Duke community and expressed a desire to enable senators to expand that aspect of their functions.

In other business:

Diaz, who is helping to coordinate a series of events leading up to Durham's 150th anniversary, also updated the Senate about plans for the celebration. 

The events will take place from April 9 through April 11 on campus and will include a partnership with local businesses and Durham, according to her presentation.

The City of Durham's official celebration will kick off April 13 with an appearance from Mayor Steve Schewel at the American Tobacco Campus. Diaz expressed hope that the events would lead Duke students to participate in other city events during the next year.

"This will serve as a pilot program for Duke hosting larger events in the future," Diaz said.

The Senate also heard from Sam Miglarese, assistant vice president and director of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership. In the partnership, Duke collaborates with local communities to improve quality of life for residents by focusing on affordable homeownership, educational achievement and youth outreach. 

Miglarese spoke briefly about his office's coordination with groups involved in the Durham anniversary events. 

"We have received a commitment from President [Vincent] Price to fund the concluding event," Miglarese said.

The Senate approved a budgetary statute for $145 of funding for advertising and Durham merchandise for the 150th anniversary events.

The Senate also approved a total of $12,379.26 in funding for four student groups.

Duke Student Government was funded $3,350.00 to host its annual Earth Week Keynote speaker. The event is expected to draw 150 undergraduates. 

The Senate funded Momentum Dance Company $2,837.63 for its ninth annual showcase in Reynolds Theater. Around 200 undergraduates are expected to attend. 

Street Medicine, which calls itself Duke's "premier, co-ed urban dance crew," was funded $4,316.63 for its fourth annual showcase, which is expected to draw 300 undergraduates. 

The Native American Student Organization received $1,875.00 for Duke Powwow, an event celebrating Native American students. There are 200 undergraduates expected to attend. 

The Senate also approved structural amendments to the DSG Constitution. 

Representatives from the People's State of University spoke to the Senate during public forum about the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project, which the University pulled out of last month and the GoTriangle Board of Trustees voted to end Wednesday.