Duke Student Government Senate discusses constitutional reforms, elects next president pro-tempore

<p>Duke Student Government at their Sept. 21 Senate meeting.</p>

Duke Student Government at their Sept. 21 Senate meeting.

DSG senators discussed upcoming reforms to the DSG constitution and elected a president pro-tempore for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Juniors Isaiah Hamilton, current DSG president pro-tempore and president-elect, and Ashley Bae, current vice president for campus life and executive vice president-elect, presented the proposed reforms to the DSG constitution. The possible changes include adding the president pro-tempore to the executive board, creating a diversity, equity, and inclusion chair, and removing the cabinet chair position.

The proposed reforms also include provisions to raise the minimum funding request requiring Senate approval from $1,500 to $4,000 and shift the responsibility of recognizing new student groups from the Student Organization Finance Committee to the Student Involvement and Leadership team in the Office of Student Affairs.

Hamilton reiterated that this is the first reading and next week the senators will discuss amendments and vote on the reforms. Once the senators have approved the changes by a two-thirds vote, the reforms will require the support of a majority of at least 15% of the student body to become part of the DSG constitution.

Bae and Hamilton also introduced legislation for a task force, to be chaired by the EVP, that will “review current organizational operations to assess whether or not reform is needed.” The task force will be open to both DSG and non-DSG members.

“Essentially it’s just doing the research, trying to be as open minded as possible [and] trying to provide more historical background data behind why we need these changes rather than just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks,” Hamilton explained.

The task force plans to host two town halls during the fall semester to solicit feedback from student groups. The senators approved the task force unanimously.

The senators also conducted their election for the next president pro-tempore. The president pro-tempore chairs Senate meetings and sets the agenda, among other functions. Junior senator Shreya Joshi and sophomore senators Clay Thornton and David Surzykiewicz gave speeches advocating for their candidacy and answered questions from their peers in a 10-minute session.

Joshi, who currently serves as vice president of campus life, won the election by plurality. She hopes to “rejuvenate [the] internal committees” that manage elections, the DSG Judiciary and Senate meetings by encouraging more active participation from senators. 

Funding for club sports

The senators heard from the Sport Clubs Executive Board about the funding sources for Duke’s 32 club sports. Senior Nancy Beaujeu-Dufour, president of the executive board, explained how the board manages funds for club sports. Eighteen percent of undergraduate students are involved in a club sport, according to the board.

The board gave its presentation to clarify its sources of funding. Club sports do not receive funding from Duke Athletics, relying instead on Duke Recreation & Physical Education and SOFC for funding. In addition, the Gorter Endowment funds “non-operational costs” like financial aid and Dream Trips for club sports.

In other business

DSG Executive Vice President Devan Desai, a senior, announced that election signatures for senators, class council and vice president candidates are due Monday, March 27. Candidates will need to collect at least 50 signatures via an online form to be on the ballot, according to the election rules and procedures.

DSG senators allocated $10,991.56 for catering and space rental for Mi Gente’s Quince Primaveras, $1,825.00 for Pureun’s showcase on April 21, $3,057.38 for OnTap’s Spring Showcase on April 20, $3,000.00 for Jummah 4 All’s Concert on April 6, $2,538.00 for the duARTS Market on April 7, $3,000.00 for Duke Sports Business Conference, $4,215.62 for Duke Diya’s semiformal and $1,830.00 for the Ciceronian Society’s speaker event with Ian Rowe.

The senators also approved $2,260.00 in funding for Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee’s Earth Day event and $1,000.00 for the University Environmental Union.

The senators confirmed sophomore Isabelle Zhang as DSG associate justice. A representative from SOFC announced that sophomore Ayanna Chatman has been elected as the next chair of SOFC.

Senou Kounouho profile
Senou Kounouho | University News Editor

Senou Kounouho is a Pratt sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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