Chase Barclay emphasizes reorienting DSG to student needs, prioritizing cultural group demands in campaign for president

Duke Student Government presidential candidate Chase Barclay promises in his campaign to increase accessibility, transparency and open communication between DSG and student groups. 

A Dallas native and junior, Barclay is double majoring in economics and math. He is currently serving his third year as a senator for academic affairs in DSG. 

Barclay’s first big project on DSG was making video introductions to DukeHub 2.0 so that incoming first-years like him could more quickly become comfortable with using a new platform and enrolling in their classes. He also worked on extending dining hours in Brodhead Center from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., as he said many students have busy evening calendars or meetings until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m and still need places to eat dinner. 

“A big goal of mine in working on [the dining hours] project was to open things up for students as much as I could,” Barclay said. “Acknowledging where students are at and trying to solve problems that affect them day-in and day-out is something that's really important to me.”

As a sophomore, Barclay worked on the creation of a Duke syllabus bank where faculty can upload their course syllabi for students to view during class registration. Not only does it help students figure out how classes are structured and graded, he said, but also makes sense from an equity perspective. 

“A lot of students are in selective organizations that may have internal repositories, but often marginalized students are not represented in those groups, so helping every student who wants to see those syllabi when they’re choosing between classes is important,” Barclay said.

Last year he also helped facilitate the rollout of Duke Unlock, which allows students to bypass two-factor authentication with just their fingerprint through Touch ID. He said this reflects his goal of making life easier for students as well as increasing accessibility and transparency.

Barclay said that much of his project work is driven by an awareness of what the people around him are struggling with, a goal first demonstrated through his role in high school student government. He said that his views have been developed through listening to others and surrounding himself with people who operate in different spaces across the University, from both different backgrounds and identities. 

“Representing people around me has always been something I've wanted to do, but always by listening first and then acting later,” Barclay said. “I think it's a big problem if you act first but then ask for advice or feedback later.” 

The main focus of Barclay’s campaign — to reorient DSG toward the needs of students — reflects this idea. 

“If you ask a general student walking on the quad right now, ‘What is DSG working on and what are your top priorities?’, I feel like they probably wouldn't know what DSG is working on, and their priorities wouldn't necessarily be represented,” he said.

Barclay has brainstormed a few ways to open lines of communication, including quick data surveys, open forums and events where students can “grab a slice of pizza and talk to me for two minutes about something you want to see changed on campus.” 

He also believes that DSG has not done enough to hear from student groups, specifically identity and cultural groups. He aims to work with the newly-formed Multicultural Alliance and wants to implement student group liaisons so that DSG can be proactive in listening to groups rather than waiting for groups to come to them. His overall goal is to advocate for the demands of student groups, especially those with demands that have existed since the 1990s.  

“Some of these groups have had demands for decades that DSG has not been good at acknowledging,” Barclay said. “It’s DSG’s job to fight for them too.”

According to Barclay, many cultural centers on campus, such as La Casa and BASE, have been moved around the Bryan Center and are now confined to temporary, smaller spaces where their operations are limited. He wants to reprioritize Duke’s campus spaces to fit the needs of cultural identity groups so that they can have effective programming.

Similarly, he cited the need for a separate space dedicated to the Center for Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention, which is currently without a director and combined into the already understaffed Counseling & Psychological Services.

“If you want to go somewhere because you've experienced sexual and gender-based violence, you should know where to go,” he said. “GVPI being hidden away in CAPS limits its visibility.”

Among his other goals includes an enhanced relationship between Duke and Durham. Barclay discussed adding a university course on the evolving culture and history of Durham as well as partnerships between local Durham restaurants and on-campus events which require catering. He is also advocating for a C1+ bus route, which during weekends would operate on its normal route with an additional stop downtown to increase student engagement in Durham.

In terms of academics, Barclay wants to expand library hours back to their full pre-COVID schedule of being open 24/7. He also wants to bolster career services for international students seeking employment and prioritize students from Duke Kunshan University, who have not historically been represented in DSG, by creating a permanent cabinet position for DKU representation. 

Furthermore, Barclay wants to improve campus community. He has already been working on reforming the Duke Vans service to strengthen student safety, but he also has ideas for the redevelopment and invigoration of Central Campus so that it can be used to host social events.

One final topic that Barclay is passionate about is the long term future of non-Greek selective living groups on campus. He hopes to find a solution that reflects the needs of SLGs in the face of QuadEx, which Barclay said is thwarting the social communities that students call home. While advocating for change within QuadEx might seem difficult, Barclay believes that nothing is impossible until it is fought for.

“You have to advocate. If you come to eventually realize something is impossible, so be it, but nothing ever should feel impossible,” Barclay said. “I'm never going to be afraid of advocating for something that I think students want because I'm afraid it won't work.”

This determination is echoed by Tracy Futhey, vice president and chief information officer in the Duke Office of Information Technology, who has known Barclay since 2020 when he became a member of the Information Technology Advisory Council on behalf of DSG.

“He asks probing questions about how future technology changes will impact students, and he is not shy about pointing out areas where technology solutions we employ today are problematic or inadequate,” she wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

Recently, Futhey worked with Barclay on the Provost’s Forum 2023 Planning Committee, which evaluated and debated the format of the session and candidates for invited speakers. She wrote that he was engaged and helpful throughout the fall semester, while he studied abroad, showing an “impressive level of commitment” to DSG and Duke students. 

For junior Neha Rodricks, who has been friends with Barclay since their first year at Duke, pointed to his “caring, kind and considerate” character and his dedication, both as a friend and to DSG. Rodricks said she has trouble walking around campus with him because he consistently stops to talk to the people he sees passing by. 

“Everybody knows Chase Barclay. He's the tall redhead on campus,” she said.

“He takes the time to put in the work for other people. I kid you not, Chase Barclay is always doing work for DSG, 24/7,” Rodricks said. “DSG is everything to him, and he is so devoted to it.” 

Alison Korn

Alison Korn is a Pratt junior and enterprise editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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