Duke Student Government senators passed a resolution to define the “essential and inalienable rights” of Duke undergraduates Wednesday night.
The resolution has been an ongoing project for the Student Affairs committee over the past year. It aims to provide students with an understanding of where their representatives stand on the rights of every student that should be respected by the University and administrators. The resolution will complement documents that already exist, like the Joint Statement of Rights and Freedoms of Students.
Vice President for Student Affairs Spencer Eldred, a senior, e-mailed the resolution to administrators after the meeting.
The e-mail states that DSG hopes each division of the University that administrators represent would agree with these rights and alter their policies in accordance with the attached principles.
“It is to the University’s advantage to not have these rights established,” Eldred said. “They have a great deal of freedom right now. There is no incentive for the University to give students these kinds of rights.... We want administrators to publicly affirm these rights by speaking to the Senate or stating why or why not students should have these rights because they are not currently accountable.”
The resolution approaches student rights from a broader angle, which has not been done before, said freshman Christine Larson, sponsor of the resolution and a student affairs senator. The approach allows for more interpretation that is applicable to more situations, Larson said.
“Administrators are up front about their expectations for students, and students should be up front about their expectations from administrators and the University as well,” said Executive Vice President Gregory Morrison, a junior. “This resolution hopes to move conversations about judicial affairs and student issues forward because they have been stalled for an inordinately long time.”
Larson said there is currently no central location listing students’ rights, and she hopes this single document will be easy for students to reference.
Morrison said he hopes the resolution will be “a foundational document” in conversations about students’ rights at Duke.
“This is the beginning of a renewed pushed to codify and recognize student rights,” Morrison said. “This is reopening the battle and is going to be an incredibly high priority for myself and the current and future members of DSG.”
In other business:
The Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee, which is now a part of DSG, was allocated funds for the first time. DUSDAC is no longer receiving money from the administration, and it received $1,700 from DSG. Relay for Life, an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, was allocated $4,627.
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Duke Classics Club, Duke Statistics Majors’ Union and Duke Trascendental Meditiation Club gained group recognition status from DSG. In addition, Lasya, a club for classical Indian dance, was granted a charter.