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Duke Student Government Examines Potential Changes to Election Procedures, Constitution, and Bylaws

Duke Student Government senators reviewed proposed changes to their election procedures, DSG Constitution and Senate Bylaws during their meeting on Wednesday.

Ramya Ginjupalli, a senior and vice president, presented a first reading of the changes to the constitution with Devan Desai, a junior and chief of staff.

The changes proposed in the document would allow amendments to be proposed through a petition signed by 15% of the student body, compared to 25% in previous years which made it difficult for the amendments to be successful. The changes will also be enacted when ratified by a referendum comprised of 15% of the participating student body.

“We have been fighting to get the constitution passed for as long as I can remember; I don’t think we’ve done that since my freshman year, so it helps us change the constitution in the future if it passes this year,” Ginjupalli said.

The changes would remove the acting president and OCFC chairman from voting board members and replace them with the cabinet chairman and vice-chairmen of standing Senate committees. The voting members of the organization’s leadership would include the board of directors, the president of the SOFC, the president pro tempore, the chief justice and the associate vice presidents of the permanent committees of the Senate.

Ginjupalli and Desai also introduced changes to Senate rules. The changes included would increase the number of senators from 55 to 60 by adding an associate deputy chair to each standing committee. The Associate Vice-Chair will be selected from the previous year’s committee members.

The senators would also adopt two general election processes – one in the fall and one in the spring. Other proposed changes included voting procedures for removing senators who must pass with a two-thirds majority of senators present and voting, as well as removing a dress code.

In Other Business

The senators allocated $9,308.55 for Duke Diya’s Chai-Town and $10,000 for the organization’s Hasan Minhaj speaker event. DSG also donated $1,066.95 to the Duke Business Oriented Women’s Spring Business Conference.

DSG senators confirmed junior Nellie Sun as attorney general and freshman Zara Thalji as an election board member. After Sun’s confirmation, she and Ginjupalli presented a review of DSG’s election bylaws.

The senators created Dating Devils, an organization that organizes double dates for college students while raising money for the nonprofit OneSight; Runway for Dreams, which will promote a space to empower students with disabilities in the fashion industry; and First Generation Investors, which aims to educate secondary school students in Durham on the fundamentals of finance and investing.

Audrey Wang
| Staff reporter

Audrey Wang is a Trinity freshman and reporter for the News Service.