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DSG Judiciary files writ of injunction against Senate over by-law change

Senate amends by-law, passes updated version

<p>Ivan Robles, vice president of equity and outreach, asks about the use of "embark" in so many groups' event names.&nbsp;</p>

Ivan Robles, vice president of equity and outreach, asks about the use of "embark" in so many groups' event names. 

The Duke Student Government Judiciary filed a writ of injunction against the Senate regarding a suggested change to the judiciary by-law before Wednesday’s meeting.

The contested section was intended to make judiciary hearing procedures publicly available, but Chief Justice Georgia Lala, a senior, said that the proposed change was unconstitutional. However, the Senate amended the proposed by-law during its meeting and subsequently passed the updated by-law. The amended version “does not violate any clause in the Duke Constitution,” Lala told The Chronicle after Wednesday’s Senate meeting. 

Lala originally sent a writ of injunction to President Pro Tempore Aly Diaz, a junior, 90 minutes before the Senate meeting Wednesday night. Lala argued that making hearings publicly available, as stated by the former version of the by-law, would violate the Duke Constitution, according to a copy of the writ of injunction provided by Lala.

“A violation of the injunction served by the Judiciary is an impeachable offence warranting removal from office,” she wrote in the injunction.

She explained that the former version of the bylaw would have violated part of the Duke Constitution.

“As written, this would violate Article V §5.d of the Duke Constitution which grants the Judiciary the power to make all rules necessary and proper for the conduct of its business, which includes how hearings are conducted,” she wrote in an email to The Chronicle Wednesday night.

“Personally, I think this injunction is unconstitutional,” said junior Jannis Stoeter, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His comment was met with applause from senators.

Stoeter went on to state that the change was not meant to dictate what the rules had to be, and suggested that the Senate modify the language in the amendment to make this distinction clearer. 

Junior Kait Boncaro, vice president of services and sustainability, suggested that the updated clause read “hearing procedure rules to be made public.” The amendments were completed and the Senate voted to pass the changes.

The Senate also revisited amendments to the by-law regarding the role of the attorney general after the results of the Young Trustee election were delayed in January. 

Support for students from diverse backgrounds

Li-Chen Chin, assistant vice president for intercultural programs, presented to the Senate about her role at the University. Chin oversees the Center of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Muslim Life and International House, while serving as the main contact for undocumented students on campus.

Chin said that the main challenges of her position include responding to students’ needs in the current political climate and exploring ways to make Duke more inclusive and equitable.

Senator Matthew Ralph, a sophomore, asked Chin about the University’s plans regarding the impending Supreme Court decision on DACA, to which Chin responded that the University’s policies and philosophy would remain the same regardless of the outcome.

In other business

The Senate unanimously voted to charter Hearts for the Homeless Durham, an organization that would provide health education to homeless individuals. They also voted to recognize Duke QuestBridge Scholars, Embodiment Contemporary Dance and Duke Aviation Association.

All of the Above received $3,935.15 in funding for its performances in late March. Momentum Dance Company was allocated $2,870.25 for its 10th annual showcase, and Pureun received $2,957 for its dance showcase. Duke Diya also received $1,700 for Holi, and Define American received $2,900 for its event on climate and migration.

DuARTS requested $15,316.36 for their annual Mural Durham event, but received $8,416.36. The Student Organization Finance Committee declined to fund their succulent planting and screen printing workshops as well as the appearance of three Durham muralists.

Persian Student Association requested $10,086 for a formal event, but only received $2,786 because they filed the request two weeks in advance of the event.

Nathan Luzum contributed reporting.

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