For one DSG senator, Duke Barber Shop isn’t good enough for students of color on campus.

Sophomore Quinci King, senator for Durham and regional affairs in Duke Student Government, launched a campaign increase haircut options for people of color because, he said, all the barbers are white. In March, DSG President Riyanka Ganguly, a senior, included information on King’s project in a weekly email blast to the undergraduate student body, noting that students should contact King if they had input or were interested in helping. Currently, the Barber Shop—which is located in the basement of the Bryan Center—lacks “diversity in opportunities for people of color to receive adequate haircuts,” she wrote.

But the idea hasn’t been met with rosy reception from the shop itself.

David Fowler, manager of Duke Barber Shop, said that though all the barbers are white, two have been trained in a “black barber shop.” Fowler, who has worked there for 58 years, noted that he has experienced no such problems from the 1960s to the present day.

“We haven’t had any problems,” he said. “If someone else wants to make a problem, that’s their problem.”

Fowler added that he recently worked with three barbers of color, but two retired and the other died. Through the years, Duke Barber Shop employees have “done the best we could,” said Fowler, who is retiring at the end of the semester to “get my behind out of it.”

“I’ve had a wonderful life and met so many people, whether they are black, red or purple. It’s been great,” Fowler said. “I can see a lot of unrest here. If a minority wants to take the shop, you go right upstairs to [Jim] Wilkerson and make arrangements.”

Wilkerson, director of trademark licensing and stores operations, manages the barbershop. He did not respond in time for publication after multiple requests for comment by The Chronicle.

King said he was discussing haircuts with others in the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture and found that many students had to go to extreme lengths to find a good barber. That increases the cost of a haircut “exponentially,” King said, because students often have to take Ubers to off-campus barber shops.

The barbers don’t know how to cut the people of color’s hair, King said. He is hoping to make a pitch to Duke University Stores to increase diversity in its staff of barbers.

“Subjectively, [the barbers] don’t know how to, whether they’re trained or not,” King said. “I don’t personally know anyone that trusts Duke Barber Shop to cut their hair.”

Originally, King reached out to the Barber Shop regarding his proposal. However, he said he never heard back.

King said he wants to demonstrate the interest that he feels many in the community have for a more diverse set of barbers by bringing potential employees in from the Durham community. On Tuesday, he will bring three barbers to the Underground Multipurpose Room at the Mary Lou Williams Center to cut hair “back-to-back-to-back” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From there, King said he would present an analysis of the event to Duke University Stores in a bid to convince them to bring in a more diverse set of barbers.

“They would have big benefits to reap,” he said.

The Barber Shop has been embroiled in controversy recently. Backlash has centered around a homophobic comment made from an Instagram account with the handle @duke_barber_shop last Tuesday.

On a post about Greek Ally Week by the @dukestudents Instagram page, the @duke_barber_shop account left a comment that read, “Quit whining and being a p****. Live your life. Quit making a big deal outta things and it won’t be.” 

The photo was of Greek Ally Week Co-Director Lukas Gschwandtner, a senior, holding a sign that read “Greek Ally Week helped me become more comfortable with my authentic self.”

The account, which has since been deleted, was not affiliated with the Duke Barber Shop, said Kristen Brown, Duke's associate vice president of news, communications and media. But prior to Brown’s comment, Emilie Dye, associate director for fraternity and sorority life, sent an apology to Gschwandtner via email.

On the issue of diversity, King labeled the current practice at the Barber Shop as “discriminatory.”

“They’re missing out on a huge economic advantage,” he said. “It’s pretty discriminatory to not give adequate haircuts to people of color, which is a pretty big demographic at Duke.”

Correction: This article was update Wednesday night to reflect that all the barbers in the barber shop are white, but not all are male.