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DSG Senate calls on DUPD to limit cases where it deploys officers, supporting BCAP activism

The Duke Student Government Senate passed a resolution supporting the student Black Coalition Against Policing’s efforts, as well as approving the creation of the Student Advocate’s Office, at its Wednesday meeting. 

The resolution seconds BCAP’s demands that the Duke University Police Department issue a written commitment to “not deploy police officers when responding to mental health crises, noise complaints or student disputes.” 

Introduced by juniors Christina Wang, vice president of equity and outreach, and Ramya Ginjupalli, vice president of campus life, this resolution follows BCAP’s virtual town hall on Jan. 27. At the event, DUPD Chief John Dailey acknowledged that there are situations where armed officers do not need to respond, such as EMS calls, noise complaints and student disputes.

The Senate, in approving revised affiliate bylaws, also formed the Student Advocate’s Office, which aims to “promote transparency and improved understanding of resources” to students dealing with University procedures, according to the by-laws. Processes include those related to COVID-19 misconduct, academic misconduct, sexual harassment and misconduct, hate and bias grievances and financial aid. 

The SAO, which plans to start work by the end of February, will receive student referrals from the Office of Student Conduct, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Women’s Center, the Financial Aid Office and the Wellness Center. Membership in the SAO is open to all undergraduates, who can apply and go through training.

After last week’s meeting raising questions about the distinctions between caucuses and affiliate groups, the Senate, in their affiliate bylaws, clarified that affiliates will be project-oriented and work largely with University administration. Caucuses will function as forums and mostly collaborate with student groups. 

The Senate recognized the Duke Justice Project, a student group that seeks to educate local residents and students about the criminal justice system through service events and government engagement, according to its application.

Senators also conducted a first reading of revised judiciary bylaws.

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