Duke Student Government senators proposed changes to DSG's internal structure and approved a resolution condemning antisemitism during their Wednesday meeting, a week after their antisemitism training from Jewish Life at Duke.
“Given the sheer prevalence of antisemitism, globally and across-campus in the United States, we feel that it is necessary for the Duke Student Government to take a timely stand,” sophomore senator Nicole Rosenzweig said.
Rosenzweig introduced the “Resolution of the Duke Student Government to Define and Condemn Antisemitism” alongside junior Lana Gesinky, vice president of campus life, and first-year senators Alex Dray, Daniel Ehrlich and Talia Granick.
Referencing a 2019 antisemitism complaint filed against the University with the U.S. Department of Education, instances of swastikas being painted at Duke and the Jan. 15 Congregation Beth Israel hostage situation, the resolution calls for DSG to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community.
The resolution also adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism.
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities,” the resolution says.
Through the resolution, DSG supports the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism as “an educational tool to define and condemn antisemitism in its various forms.”
Chief of Staff Shrey Majmudar, a senior; Matthew Ralph, vice president of equity and outreach; and Gesinsky also led a presentation on proposed DSG reforms.
“We really want to make DSG—which is all of our DSG—the absolute best, most authentic, most effective and more representative version it can be,” DSG President Christina Wang, a senior, said before the presentation.
The proposed changes include adjusting the first-year election process to improve recruitment and educate prospective senators on DSG’s cabinets and responsibilities, a shadowing process for first-year senators, choosing cabinet members from candidates nominated from their related organizations and reframing the responsibilities and structure of the executive and DSG.
The proposals addressed in the presentation would improve the first-year senator experience to increase DSG retention rates, streamline DSG’s internal structure and improve equity within the organization.
“The DSG as an experience was very, very different, and because of those experiences is why you see these changes today,” Majmudar said.
In other business
Senior and Chief Justice Weston Lindner gave a presentation reviewing how students can seek redress, how the judiciary can be a resource for students and how to file a petition with the judiciary.
Senators chartered the Durham Community Empowerment Fund, a nonprofit with offices in the Durham and Orange Counties of North Carolina that assists people in transitioning out of homelessness and poverty, and Duke Club Water Polo.
DSG approved $9,196.13 for the Arab Student Association’s “My Big Fat Arab Wedding” event and $4,916.00 for its speaker event with Safia Elhillo. Senators also allotted $3,900.00 for the Duke Persian Association’s Nowruz celebration.
New first-year senators were sworn in: Zeinab Mukhtar, Preston Nibley, Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan, Daniel Ehrlich, Heather Raslan and Elena Karas.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that the antisemitism training was held by the Duke Center for Jewish Life. The Chronicle regrets the error.
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Audrey Wang is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.