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DSG passes resolution against Palantir, one voice dissents

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Duke Student Government Senate passed a resolution to urge Duke to terminate its partnerships with Palantir Technologies.

Palantir is a data analytics firm that has come under fire for partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other clients. Duke is currently one of the schools that Palantir targets for recruitment. Recently, there have been student protests on campus urging the administration to cut ties with the company. 

Senator Shirley Mathur, a sophomore, introduced the resolution. It condemns the University for its relationship with Palantir and demands that Duke terminate all relationships with them, including the company’s recruitment activities on campus, until Palantir ends its contract with ICE.

Senator Angikar Ghosal, a first-year, delivered a speech against the resolution.

“First, every company has some sort of ‘dirt’ on it. Since Palantir is the smallest company out of them, they are being singled out for no reason,” he said. “Also, we should keep politics and personal belief separate from business.”

The negative speech was strongly criticized by the rest of the Senate.

Senator Christian Sheerer, a sophomore, spoke out on the importance of passing the resolution.

“Where do you weigh the liberties in your head for the kids and their parents who are locked up for doing nothing but wanting a better life for each other versus a resolution that would not force Duke students to not apply to Palantir?” Sheerer asked. “Which is more important?”

“We should learn how to keep business and personal opinions separate. Secondly, the children separation is a necessary evil,” Ghosal responded.

Meanwhile, Senator Omar Benallal, a junior, raised a question regarding how the University’s stance might impact the student body.

“Don’t you think that understanding that ICE to this day is in court for human rights violations and Duke University making the conscious choice to not make a statement towards Palantir actively partnering with ICE despite the fact that it is violating human rights would raise ethical questions towards the University’s opportunities for its students?” Benallal asked.

All Senators except Ghosal agreed to pass the resolution in a voice vote.

In other business:

The Senate unanimously approved of the formation of the Disability Caucus.

Devin Mahoney, a junior and chair of the Student Organization Finance Committee, delivered the SOFC end-of-semester report, which included revisions of disciplinary action legislation and outside presenter processes. 

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