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YTNC releases the semifinalist names for 2020 Young Trustee

Editor's Note: This story was originally published Jan. 11, 2020. The original story can be found at the bottom of the updated story.

The Chronicle has learned the names of the other four applicants who were considered by the Young Trustee Nominating Committee to be finalists.

This year, the YTNC selected seniors Tim Skapek, Ibrahim Butt, Maryam Asenuga and Leah Abrams as finalists. The other four semifinalists were seniors Mannat Bakshi, Corey Pilson, Axel Herrera Ramos and Michael Tan. 

The YTNC voted this year to not release the names of the Young Trustee semifinalists. The Chronicle obtained the names of the eight semifinalists pursuant to Title III, Section 4 of the Young Trustee By-Law, which states that “the names of semifinalists shall be published.” 

“The YTNC shall select no fewer than eight semifinalists to be interviewed by the full committee. In making this selection, it shall observe the methods and procedures adopted pursuant to Title II, Section 6. If there are fewer than eight applicants, all shall be semifinalists,” the by-law reads. “The names of semifinalists shall be published, and their applications made available to students on request to the chair of the YTNC and the Executive Vice President of Duke Student Government.”

The YTNC has traditionally published the semifinalist names before the finalists are announced. The committee did not release the semifinalist names in 2017.

“Given that students will only vote on the 3-4 eventual finalists, the YTNC chose to respect the semifinalists’ privacy rather than release their names to the public,” committee chair and senior Gino Nuzzolillo wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Waiting to see who the undergraduate Young Trustee semifinalists will be this year? You might never know.

Unlike in previous years, the Young Trustee Nominating Committee—a group convened by Duke Student Government and the University Secretary to evaluate applicants—voted not to release the names of semifinalists for the two-year seat on the Board of Trustees. Instead, the committee will only release the names of the finalists.

“Given that students will only vote on the 3-4 eventual finalists, the YTNC chose to respect the semifinalists’ privacy rather than release their names to the public,” committee chair and senior Gino Nuzzolillo wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

Applications for the position were due Friday, according to an email sent to the student body from Richard Riddell, senior vice president and secretary to the Board of Trustees. From the applicant pool, the YTNC selects a group of semifinalists, whom the committee will interview during the following week. The YTNC chooses finalists by Jan. 20, setting the Young Trustee campaign in full swing—floods of Facebook photos, candidate websites and all—for the Feb. 11-12 election. 

Young Trustees serve on the board for one year as an observer and then a second or third year as a full-fledged voting member. They are supposed to be fiduciaries of the University, not pushing a certain agenda. 

“Young Trustees, like other trustees, demonstrate an ability to think broadly about the university, understand the role of the university in society, are curious about institutional issues facing Duke, and respect how universities are administered and governed,” Riddell wrote. “Young Trustees are independent and collegial and are good representatives of Duke University.”

Last year, Trey Walk, Trinity ‘19 and a leader in the People's State of the University activist group, won the election, narrowly beating out Duke University Union President Brian Buhr, as well as Luke Farrell and Archana Ahlawat, all Trinity ‘19.

There is also a graduate Young Trustee selected every year. Unlike the undergraduate Young Trustee, the graduate Young Trustee is selected from three finalists by a Graduate and Professional Student Council vote. Semifinalists interview with the Young Trustee Selection Committee in January. 

Last year, William Brody, Trinity ‘12 and Fuqua '18, won the position

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