Duke Student Government senators received and discussed updates on the Center for Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention at their meeting Wednesday.
Senators also discussed potential revisions to the University’s academic calendar, particularly religious and cultural holidays, to foster inclusivity; potentially allowing student groups to purchase alcohol using organization funds; and DSG election updates.
The GVPI is Duke’s newly introduced gender violence prevention facility. Previously, any gender or sexual violence was reported to the Women's Center, which now no longer addresses these issues. Instead, the Women’s Center primarily focuses on gender equity on campus.
Junior Ashley Bae, DSG vice president for services and sustainability, discussed the current state of the GVPI.
According to Bae, the prevention branch will primarily focus on gender violence awareness, healthy relationships and “culture disruption,” while the intervention branch will focus on counseling through gender violence-specific counselors.
“If you're going to CAPS for wellness readings or seeking clinical care, that is not the same counseling that you will be seeking if you're seeking any type of intervention for gender violence or sexual violence on campus,” Bae said.
Counselors may not necessarily provide any legal advice to those seeking legal action, per Bae.
Senator Talia Granick, a sophomore, spoke on formally recognizing religious and cultural activities, which is one of DSG Interfaith Caucus’ primary aims for the year.
“We're open to conversations about including more groups [on] the Duke [academic calendar],” Granick said.
She clarified that including religious observational days on the calendar wouldn’t necessarily mean that all students get that day off, but would constrain “what professors can and can't do on those specific days.”
DSG President Lana Gesinsky, a senior, also discussed the possibility of student groups being able to purchase alcohol for events. The Student Organization Finance Committee and DSG are currently discussing this initiative with administrators.
Before formally proposing the change in SOFC policy internally, Gesinsky said that DSG will gauge student interest in the idea. DSG will screen student interest through a Qualtrics survey sent through DSG’s weekly email newsletter.
With DSG elections approaching, Executive Vice President Devan Desai, a senior, noted that the deadline for at-large applications for prospective senators has been extended to Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Previously, the deadline had been Sept. 28 at 11:59 p.m.
In other business
DSG chartered the Duke Nepali Student Association, which aims to promote Nepalese culture on campus, and recognized student group InTranscription@Duke.
Senators also allocated $2,107 for Duke Diya and the Nepali Student Association's Dashain event and $6,100 of the $21,740 requested by the Duke chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for its Wrongful Conviction Tour.
Noting that Duke NAACP would have to supplement DSG funding with Cultural Engagement Fund money, senators declined to approve their full funding request after committee discussions.
President Pro Tempore Isaiah Hamilton, a junior, announced that there will be a new Senate position following the end of fall elections. The new position is a legislative aide, selected from among the senators, who will primarily be responsible for taking minutes during Senate meetings.
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