Blue Devils United (BDU) is Duke University’s undergraduate organization for LGBTQ+ affairs. We seek to promote intersectionality and acceptance through education, programming, conferences, and community engagement. Our education and advocacy seeks to create a student body that is more welcoming and aware of queer bodies, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of queer and trans people of color. Our social programming provides a safe space for LGBTQ undergraduates to build support systems and celebrate their queer identities. We also strive to consistently engage and collaborate with other affinity groups and positive communities both inside and outside of Duke.
Affirmation of Duke University’s Non-Discrimination Policy
Blue Devils United is committed to upholding Duke University’s Non-Discrimination Policy, which states that the quality and texture of learning, work and life at Duke University is enhanced by a variety of human experiences, backgrounds and cultures. No individual should be discriminated against based upon their color, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, ethnicity or national origin. The University strives to be a community in which all members can participate fully and equally in an atmosphere free from bias and discrimination. Biased behavior is not conducive to a sound and healthy academic environment and interferes with the growth and well-being of the University.
Duke University prohibits discrimination and harassment and provides equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or age.
Article 1: Membership
All Duke University undergraduates committed to and/or interested in intersectionality and the queer community are invited to join BDU. Graduate students and off-campus attendees may also attend BDU meetings and events – given that they cooperate with Duke University policies – but membership is restricted to Duke University undergraduate students. To protect our mission, a member found in violation of our mission or this constitution can be expelled from any relevant component of BDU infrastructure by the President or majority vote of the Executive Board. A member is defined as an undergraduate Duke Student who meets any of the following criteria:
Regularly attends BDU events
Appears on the BDU email list-serv
Appears on BDU social network infrastructures
Has contributed ideas/feedback/projects to the organization
Article 2: Meetings
BDU will meet on a regular basis throughout the academic year except during seasonal breaks and finals periods. General member meetings will be held at least once every two months. The Vice-President of Internal Affairs will inform members of the meeting’s time, location, and agenda at least 48 hours in advance. If changes in meeting times or ad hoc meetings are needed, the Executive will make every effort to notify members. The exact order, form, and logistics of the meetings is up to the Vice President of Internal Affairs, the President, and the Executive Board.
Article 3: Voting
Voting on the election of the President is open to all members of BDU who have attended two or more events in the semester. For votes regarding programming, new initiatives, endorsements and projects, the Executive Board will make a decision based on simple majority. Voting must be conducted in-person, unless deemed otherwise by the Executive Board. The President’s vote on the Executive Board will not be counted unless in the instance that the Executive Board cannot reach a majority vote.
Article 4: President and Executive Board
Section 1: Presidential Elections
Elections for President will be free, formal, and publicized at least two weeks in advance of the election date, which will be on the Sunday either before or after Spring Break, at the discretion of the Executive Board. Any member may run for the position – although they will and must disclose their full involvement with BDU and other organizations to the public. There will be no term limits. There will be no campaigning and coalitions of candidates. No more than two candidates may run on the same ticket. Elections will be conducted in-person, and votes will be kept secret. Members of BDU who have attended two or more events in the semester are eligible to vote. The election format will consist of a 7-minute speech by each candidate, followed by a moderated Q&A panel. The moderator will be chosen by members of the Executive Board not seeking election for President, and the moderator will not be able to vote in the election.
Section 2: Executive Board Nominations
Upon the announcement of a newly elected President, the application for the incoming Executive Board will open. The application may exist in any form the new President chooses, although it must consist of the gathering of at least: the applicant’s general information, intended position, previous and future involvements at Duke, and one essay based question related to the work of BDU. Each applicant will be guaranteed a joint-interview with the outgoing Executive Board, outgoing President, and incoming President. Upon screening all candidates, the incoming and outgoing President may voice their opinions on each candidate, and the non-returning members of the Executive Board will then deliberate and vote on the applicants based on simple majority, with instances of a tie being broken by the outgoing President. The Executive Board may also assign candidates to a position that they did not initially apply for, so long as the candidate is made aware before coming onboard and accepts. In the circumstance that an adequate applicant cannot be found for a role or a member is to step down, it is the incoming President’s responsibility to find and appoint a capable individual to the position. This individual will be confirmed by a simple majority vote of the current Executive Board.
Section 3: President
The President will be the director and head of BDU. They will be responsible for the management and oversight of the Executive Board and tasks. They will decide the direction, priorities, and functions of BDU for their term. The President must work with the Executive Board at least one month prior to the start of each semester to set formal goals and programming deadlines. Prior to each meeting, the President will develop and distribute an agenda based on issues relevant to the organization and requests from members. In all meetings, the President is to act as a facilitator and advisor, and will not vote on any matters unless in the case of a tie. The President has the power and right to any actions mentioned within this Constitution, as well as the ability to sanction or dismiss members of the Executive Board as specified in the Terms of Engagement document. In addition, the President will symbolically represent the values of BDU to other organizations or communities, although the formal duty of communication with press and collaboration will be completed by the Vice President of External Affairs. If there is an urgent matter affecting the organization and it is impractical to consult every Executive Board members, the President will have the responsibility to respond.
Section 4: Vice Presidents
There will be the following Vice Presidents on the Executive Board: VP of Internal Affairs, VP of External Affairs, VP of Advocacy, VP of Education, VP of Programming and VP of Marketing. Each Vice President will oversee other officers, whose responsibilities fit well under the vice president's’ job descriptions. These officers will be chosen in accordance to Article 5: Officers. The oversight responsibilities of each vice president is specified under the Role Descriptions document, to be ratified and edited annually before the election of a new President. The Vice Presidents will make up the Executive Board, and have full voting rights, unless sanctioned by the President in accordance with the Terms of Engagement document. While the Vice Presidents will report to the President, they are also responsible as acting as a check on the President, to ensure that all issues and projects are being analyzed and completed to the best of the team’s abilities. In addition, if the President is unable to carry out any of their obligations, the most senior Vice President will absorb those responsibilities.
Section 5: New Positions
The Executive Board will have the power to propose the creation of new positions in the middle of a semester if the need arises. There must be both a vote to create a position and a vote to fill that position. The vote to create the position will occur at an Executive Board meeting. The vote for candidates in that position will occur at the following Executive Board Meeting. The President may exercise their right to ask the Executive Board to reconsider their selection of a candidate, in which case the selection process must be conducted again the following week. Once created, the new position lasts until a vote to abolish the position passes. Until then, the new position is subject to the same rules and procedures as the rest of the Executive Board.
Section 6: Signing Rights of the President and Executive Board
The members of the Executive Board will have conditional rights to sign and endorse statements on behalf of BDU. A statement such as a letter to the Chronicle or an endorsement for the Duke Student Government candidate must be discussed and voted on by the general body either during a meeting or electronically before the Executive Board member can sign it with his or her BDU position, with the exception of the Vice President of External Affairs and the President, who may sign off in cases of emergency without the consent of the rest of the Executive Board. BDU officers are free to use their positions to sign statements, but they must be sure to indicate that their view is not necessarily reflective of the entire organization.
Section 7: The President and Executive Board’s Right to Public Expression
While the President and Executive Board are entitled to the same rights as all other members of the Duke community, it should be discouraged for members of the Executive Board to express strong political sentiments – especially ones that are not in line with BDU’s mission – on public platforms, such as but not limited to, social media, newspapers, online blogs etc.
Article 5: Officers
Section 1: Officer Selections
Officer applications will be open at the start of each semester, and remain open on a rolling basis. The selection process will consist of an online application to screen the applicant’s background, with less emphasis on the screening of ability and knowledge of LGBTQ+ affairs than the VP applications, but with more focus on what the applicant would like to receive from their involvement with BDU. Officers will have specific duties assigned to them upon selection, with consideration of their goals, and in necessary instances, duty specific titles. Officer’s applications will be reviewed once at the start of each semester, and on a rolling basis through the semester. Officers will be confirmed by a simple majority vote of the Executive Board.
Section 2: Officer Training, Responsibilities, and Special Project
The main responsibility of managing and training each officer will be specific to the VP, although a general retreat will be held in the fall semester where the Executive Board provides more in-depth training for all officers. The main responsibility of each officer will be to help their VP fulfill their projects and roles. These responsibilities will be delegated by the VP. Additionally, each officer will be given the support and funding to complete a special project for their committee of their choosing.
Section 3: Completion of Term
Officers may choose to complete their term at the end of each semester, or continue for the full year, on the same or a different committee. Officers who complete the full year will be given preferential treatment in the applications for future Executive Boards.
Article 6: Communications
Section 1: Transparency and Disclosure
BDU is fully committed to transparency, and the VP of Internal Affairs is to help ensure this by including weekly Executive Board minutes in the listserv announcements. However, the BDU President and Executive Board may choose to keep certain sensitive topics regarding nominations, deliberations, advocacy, or any other issue that must be withheld for valid reasons private. This information will be released on a by-request basis after it is no longer deemed sensitive by the President and Executive Board, or when members of the Executive Board who chose to classify the information have graduated.
Section 2: Confidentiality
All issues that are spoken of in confidence are not to be shared with any other individuals. These issues include but are not limited to, private information about other persons, deliberations, nominations, and any other topics specified by the President and/or Executive Board. Infringement of such can and will lead to the dismissal of the individual who broke confidentiality.
Section 3: Communications with Other Parties
Only the President and VP of External Affairs can explicitly express the opinions of Blue Devils United to another party without consent, in the case of an emergency. Additionally, relevant members of the Executive Board are to regularly communicate the public goals and plans of BDU to other student groups, the student body, administrators, and the CSGD. The President and VP of External Affairs will also commit to disclosing as much information as possible to the group’s advisor as regularly as possible, to maintain open and transparent communication between them.
Article 7: Support of Individuals
Section 1: Duty to Support
If any officer, VP, or President is informed of a BDU member facing personal, physical, emotional, or other forms of difficulty, it is their duty to provide support and guidance to those individuals to the best of their ability, while simultaneously being fully aware and cautious of the member’s personal boundaries.
Section 2: Leave of Absence Policy and Procedure
Members, officers or VPs who take a medical, personal, or any other leave of absence from Duke will be guaranteed an offer of an Ad-Hoc position on their committee upon their return to allow for minimal disruption in their Duke careers. Presidents who take leaves will be guaranteed an Ad-Hoc position on the Executive Board upon their return. It is the duty of the remaining President/Executive Board to fill the individual’s position while they are absent, and also to monitor and extend the offer of the Ad-Hoc position as soon as they return to campus, to minimize the burden upon the individual and organization.
Article 8: Conduct
Section 1: Proper Conduct Standards
All members of BDU will act and function in the fullest accordance to federal, state, local, Duke, and BDU specific laws and policies. The President, Executive Board, and Officers should be further scrutinized under the lens of good faith and morality, and must present themselves as members and ambassadors of the values of BDU. There will be no tolerance for individuals who infringe upon formal laws or the mission/values of the BDU space.
Section 7: Reporting of Poor Conduct
Any knowledge on the infringement of any laws, policies, or community values should be reported to a member of the Executive Board immediately. Upon reporting, the non-accused members of the Executive Board will meet to confidentially discuss the infringement and next steps, upon which the accused member will be immediately placed on temporary suspension from their position in BDU. This suspension will only be lifted when the accused is proved beyond a reasonable doubt to be not guilty by University, local, or federal authorities. If the individual is found to be guilty post-investigation by University, local, or federal authorities, the Executive Board must formally dismiss the guilty party, and reconvene with the accuser to discuss best steps moving forward.
Article 9: Amendments to the Constitution
Any member can propose amendments to this Constitution. They must be introduced and discussed during a meeting before a vote can take place. To pass, an amendment must have a favorable simple majority vote amongst both the Executive Board and the general membership. The President may amend the Constitution at any time. The Executive Board has the right to veto any of the President’s amendments with a simple majority vote.
Article 10: Ratification of the Constitution
This Constitution will take immediate effect and will serve as the official Governing document of Blue Devils United upon ratification. The Ratification of this Constitution will require a favorable two-thirds majority vote amongst the Executive Board.
This Constitution is hereby ratified by:
Blue Devils United 18-19 Executive Board