Junior year concluded after a series of immense campus policy changes and historic athletic feats.
Students entered junior year shortly after two Duke athletes—senior Abby Johnston and junior Nick McCrory—won silver and bronze medals in the 2012 London Olympics, respectively. Johnston received a silver medal in synchronized 3-meter springboard diving and McCrory took home the bronze in synchronized 10-meter platform diving.
The University launched Duke Forward—its largest capital campaign in history—with a goal to raise $3.25 billion by June 2017. The campaign has raised $2 billion so far.
After months of student protest, the University eliminated the one-year statute of limitations on student sexual misconduct. The revised policy means that the University disciplinary process can respond to reports filed against a student until that student graduates. The change was proposed by a student task force.
Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, James B. Duke professor of medicine and professor of biochemistry and immunology, became the first standing faculty member to receive a Nobel Prize in October. The Royal Swedish Academy of Science awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry to Lefkowitz and his colleague, Dr. Brian Kobilka—a former postdoctoral fellow at Duke who worked under Lefkowitz—for “studies of G protein-coupled receptors.”
In November, President Barack Obama won a second term with 303 electoral votes, which exceeded the 270 needed to clinch victory in the 2012 presidential election. The Chronicle, in partnership with the Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology, conducted an IRB-approved poll of 3,200 undergraduates via email from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, which showed that, of the students who responded, the majority supported Obama for president. The poll yielded 1,155 responses, and 65.6 percent of respondents said they would vote for Obama.
Athletic triumphs continued throughout the year as Duke football earned bowl eligibility for the first time since 1994 with a last-second victory against North Carolina. The Blue Devils squared off against the Cincinnati Bearcats at the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., but ultimately did not take home the win. Although Duke lost 48-34, Duke football finished its season with a series of successes, including bowl eligibility for the first time in 18 years and head football coach David Cutcliffe named ACC Coach of the Year.
Duke celebrated its 50th anniversary of integration throughout the Spring semester. Events included visits from the first class of black undergraduates and a keynote address given by Sen. Mo Cowan, D-Mass. and Trinity ’91.
Duke men’s and women’s basketball teams both had successful seasons, with both teams beating the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at home and away and making it to the Elite Eight. Duke women’s basketball also won the ACC tournament title, beating North Carolina 92-73 to capture its eighth ACC tournament title in program history and third in the last four seasons.
In February, an “International Relations” party held by Kappa Sigma fraternity drew major backlash from community members for its depiction of Asian stereotypes. Several students posted fliers across campus protesting the party, which took place Feb. 1. Students also held a rally at the West Campus bus stop, and called for a new task force to deal with group bias incidents like the party, as well as for community service by the members of Kappa Sigma. As a result of the party’s backlash, the Kappa Sigma fraternity was suspended by its national organization. The Coalition for an Inclusive Duke and the brothers of Kappa Sigma jointly released a statement pledging to work together to change a “problematic environment” at Duke.
The Duke Student Government Senate unanimously passed legislation calling for expansion of the current health care plan to better fit the medical needs of the transgender community. After DSG backed student health insurance coverage for sex reassignment surgery, administrators signed a new contract with Duke’s health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, that will include up to $50,000 to cover the procedure.
The Duke Arts and Sciences Council voted down a motion to adopt for-credit online courses. The final tally was 14 council members voting to approve for-credit online courses and 16 against it, with two abstentions. If the motion had passed, Duke would have entered into online education company 2U’s Semester Online consortium, a three-year pilot program.