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Duke Student Government confirms 39 members for next year, including chief justice

DSG confirmed Associate Justices in tonight's meeting.
DSG confirmed Associate Justices in tonight's meeting.

At Tuesday's Duke Student Government Senate meeting, which ran for more than three hours despite an agenda light on legislation, the Senate confirmed 39 members to various DSG positions for the 2019-20 academic year. 

At the meeting—the last of the academic year—Senators elected a new chief justice and appointed three new associate justices to DSG Judiciary. They also confirmed nine new senators, nine members of executive board and 17 members of the president's cabinet. 

Georgia Lala, a junior who said she served as a clerk this year, defeated Achilles Dabrowski, a first-year and current associate justice, on the first ballot to become the new chief justice. In her speech in front of the Senate, Lala emphasized improving the Judiciary's involvement in the Duke community by expanding the Office of Public Advocacy—an office established in 2018 to make students are aware of their rights and how to access them—and improving communication and accessibility. 

Dabrowski's speech focused on developing the Judiciary's website and the Office of Public Advocacy to improve community outreach. Dabrowski also mentioned the Judiciary's ruling against Hyde House, which sought to become an on-campus selective social group before the Senate shot down their request.

The three new associate justices are Vicki Zhang, a junior, and first-years Marc Chmielewski and Emma Coleman. 

The 17 members of the presidential cabinet will advise the president on legislation and policy matters. Junior Saheel Chodavadia, vice president of academic affairs, will oversee day-to-day cabinet procedure as chief of staff. 

In other business: 

The Equity and Outreach Committee presented findings on a meeting with community stakeholders concerning the "Freedom of Expression" Bridge, near East Campus. The committee came to a consensus against increased regulation or surveillance, but in favor of a bridge community standard—one that is "aspirational, not negative." 

The Senate presented six awards to outstanding Duke community members selected from 44 nominees. The Senate presented the Paul Edwin Harner Award to President Pro Tempore Avery Boltwood, a junior. The award recognizes outstanding commitment to Duke Student Government. The Reginaldo Howard Award, which recognizes an exceptional member of the DSG cabinet, went to Chief of Staff Steve Hassey, a senior.

Sophomore Tommy Hessel, who will serve as vice president for campus life next year, received the Graydon John Forrer Award, which recognizes a senator who demonstrated exceptional integrity over the course of the year. The Senate presented the David Pittman Award for mentorship to DSG President Kristina Smith, a senior. 

The Senate recognized Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education, for the Dean Suzanne Wasiolek Award, which goes to an administrative figure who shows exceptional consideration for undergraduate concerns. Gerald Harris, DSG adviser and director of student involvement, received the Nannerl O. Keohane Award for service and commitment to undergraduate students. 

The Senate also amended the Student Organization Finance Committee's by-laws to create two new Vice Chairs for Auditing. 


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