Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, a newly created student organization devoted to eliminating race, gender and class-based prejudices on campus, will be hosting speakers and holding other events in the first few weeks of the academic year.
"Duke Students for an Ethical Duke exists to achieve and protect a constructive and wholesome educational and extracurricular environment for ALL Duke students," the group's mission statement on their Facebook group website reads. "We pledge to defend the dignity and the academic and legal rights of Duke students, both individually and collectively, whether threatened by other students, faculty, or administrators alike."
Senior Kenny Larrey, founder of Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, said he started the group to promote understanding about issues of race, power and privilege in the wake of the lacrosse scandal.
"There's a lot we can learn from the lacrosse affair," he said. "For a lot of people, their perception of it is assembled from a piecemeal of poor media coverage. It's not just to increase awareness of Duke students, but also alumni and the general public."
Looking beyond reactions to the lacrosse case, Larrey said he hopes the efforts of Duke Students for an Ethical Duke will spark productive discussions regarding injustice on campus.
"We've seen a very antagonistic approach to dealing with difficult matters of race, sex and class," he said. "In particular, gaining outside perspective [through speakers] is very valuable."
Starting this week, Duke Students for an Ethical Duke will be selling copies of Don Yeager and former men's lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler's book "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered," on the West Campus Plaza at a reduced price, Larrey said.
"We're selling it at a discount because it's not about making money, it's about selling the book and selling the truth," he said.
The organization will also be hosting KC Johnson, professor of history at Brooklyn College and author of "Durham-in-Wonderland," a well-read blog on the lacrosse scandal, for a speech in Page Auditorium Sept. 11.
"[Johnson is] somebody who knows about as much or more about this case than anyone," Larrey said.
The speech is co-sponsored by the Program on Values and Ethics in the Marketplace and will be open to the public, Larrey said.
Duke Students for an Ethical Duke will ask students to reevaluate their attitudes regarding issues of racial prejudice, he said.
"We want to encourage people to question their approach to racism and racial issues on campus," he said. "I've been talking to people with different perspectives to see how we can serve the student body in the best way possible."
Michael Catalino, a junior and a member of the lacrosse team, said he joined the organization to voice ideas that could foster a higher degree of tolerance among students and faculty.
"We've realized that there are issues of communication within Duke's administration and students," he said. "If that communication would improve, all the major issues could be better than in the past."
Larrey said Duke Students for an Ethical Duke will continue to host speakers and hold events throughout the academic year.