The banner comes a day after the students wrapped the Benjamin Duke statue on East Campus and the James B. Duke statue on West Campus in opaque black plastic to symbolize the University’s lack of transparency concerning the endowment.
“We wanted to block out the Allen Building a little bit,” said senior Jacob Tobia, one of the leaders of DukeOpen. “We think that more accurately reflects the reality.”
The banner—the same black plastic used to cover the statues Tuesday, written on with duct tape lettering—hangs between two trees on the quadrangle in front of the building, which houses the offices of the University’s top administrators.
DukeOpen has been making its way through administrative processes since the Spring. President Richard Brodhead will present the proposal to the Board of Trustees at their meeting this weekend.
The group hopes that visible demonstrations such as the banner and the statue wrappings will draw attention to their cause, Tobia said. They also hope to start a conversation with Brodhead before the upcoming Board meeting.
“At least a responsible acknowledgement would be nice,” said senior Lucas Spangher, another DukeOpen leader.
Tobia acknowledged that administrators and the Student Affairs staff have been "very good" about allowing DukeOpen members to publicly express their cause.
“The only thing we’re a little disappointed in is that we still haven’t heard further from President Brodhead yet," he added. "We hope to hear more as this week continues, because we don’t think that the president should ignore this much activism.”
Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said he supports students who use activism to draw attention to important topics.
"The Duke campus should always be a place that fosters thoughtful debate and DukeOpen is in the long tradition of creative student engagement with critical issues," Schoenfeld wrote in an email Wednesday.
Both statue coverings have been taken down. The East Campus plastic was removed by groundskeepers in the early afternoon Tuesday, but DukeOpen rewrapped the statue after receiving permission from Student Affairs. Wednesday afternoon, however, it was discovered that the plastic had been taken down again. Neither groundskeepers nor Student Affairs was responsible, leading DukeOpen to assume that students were behind the act, Tobia said.
The West Campus covering was taken down by a group of unknown individuals Tuesday night. DukeOpen hopes that the destruction of their protest will draw attention from administrators.
“People who believe in an open exchange of ideas don’t attack as a group in the middle of the night,” said Bobo Bose-Kolanu, one of the group’s leaders and a second-year graduate student in literature. “We expect President Brodhead to issue a public statement.”
Lauren Carroll contributed reporting.
This article was updated at 12:21 a.m. on Thursday to reflect new information and at 2:11 p.m. Wednesday to include Michael Schoenfeld's comments on the movement.