Student tour guides will continue to lead their groups past protestors in front of the Allen Building during Blue Devil Days Thursday and Friday.

Senior Dylan Eiger, head tour coordinator for the University’s tour guide program, sent an email—which was obtained by The Chronicle—to guides Sunday with instructions for how to handle student protestors outside Allen who could potentially disturb their tours.

The protestors are supporting eight students staging an Allen Building sit-in to improve the conditions of workers at Duke. The sit-in began in response to an incident in which Executive Vice President Tallman Trask hit contract parking employee Shelvia Underwood with his car and allegedly used a racial slur.

Tour groups typically start at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and make a stop in front of Allen. During Blue Devil Days—Duke’s admitted students weekend—prospective students will also go on tours of West Campus.

“While we all have very different opinions and feelings about these recent events, this is a very sensitive topic for the entire Duke Community and we should strive to provide our visitors with an honest and objective account of what is actually happening on campus,” Eiger wrote.

Eiger wrote that protestors have made “inappropriate” statements to some groups near the Allen Building, and that the tour guides should “remain as professional as possible” in the event that their tours are disrupted.

One of the protest coordinators, senior Stanley Yuan, a member of The Chronicle’s editorial board, noted in an email that the protestors are not aware of any active disruptions of tours caused by Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity, the group organizing much of the protest movement.

Eiger wrote in his email that the guides should refrain from providing personal opinions on the protests if asked by prospective students or families, but that they should not be concerned about avoiding the protestors on their tours.

“In fact, we believe that it’s great so that prospective students and parents realize Duke students are active and have a voice on this campus,” he wrote.

He wrote that the event is a reminder of the importance of tour guides remaining up-to-date about campus events—noting that Duke professor Paul Modrich recently won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Vice President Joe Biden visited the University in March.

The email instructed the student guides to “know their facts” by reading The Chronicle’s reporting of the incident in which Executive Vice President Tallman Trask hit a contract parking employee with his car and allegedly used a racial slur.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag wrote in an email that students and parents have asked about the protest as they walk past Allen, but noted that he has not heard concerns expressed. 

"We describe the situation and if they are interested in more information we refer them to Duke Today and The Chronicle," Guttentag wrote. "Of course they can go to Abele Quad if they wish."

Guttentag added that no modifications are planned for the upcoming Blue Devil Days. 

After the University’s regular decision results were announced March 24, Guttentag noted that he felt previous events on campus, such as the November community forums, did not have a noticeable impact on admissions. He added that this year there was an increase in applications from students of color.

In his email to The Chronicle, Guttentag wrote that he did not think the ongoing protest—like past events—would affect yield. 

“Students are looking for active campuses where students are engaged,” Guttentag said. “I don’t think that there are students that would apply and then decide not to apply because of a single event.”

One potential Duke student echoed that sentiment.

“It doesn’t necessarily turn me off to the school,” said James Gurney, a high school junior touring campus. “I think it’s good that students care about issues and are willing to take a stand—this is probably influenced by the fact that the first college I toured was Berkeley, so this is kind of like a dose of home.”

Eiger did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Amrith Ramkumar, Likhitha Butchireddygari and Rachel Chason contributed reporting. 

The Chronicle communicated with Guttentag via email and phone. 

Correction: This article was updated Saturday afternoon to note that Gurney is a high school junior, not an admitted student.