The independent news organization of Duke University


Oak Room closes in space reorganization

Prompted by continued financial woes and the University's need for multicultural space, the Oak Room closed its doors for good in May.

Taking its place will be the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, which will in turn relinquish its spot in the West Union basement to the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Life. Part of the Office of Student Affairs will replace the LGBT on the second floor of the Flowers Building.

Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said he is still in discussions with Jim Wulforst, director of dining services, about a possible successor to the restaurant.

Architect, developer named for Central renovation

The long-planned Central Campus overhaul has acquired an architect and developer, at least for the early stages.

David M. Schwarz Architectural Services, Inc., and developers Cousins Properties, Inc., will advise on the site's master plan and financing, respectively, and will both complete six-month concept studies with the University.

"This is a large project, and there eventually could be also a large number of buildings," said University Architect John Pearce. "We could use more than one architect, more than one builder, more than one developer. We don't want to make that decision until we have a first pass at what's going to be included on Central."

Venter, Duke ink partnership

The University announced a partnership between the Medical Center and The Center for Advancement of Genomics, to be led by genetics wonder Craig Venter. Venter is nationally renowned for surpassing the government-funded Human Genome Project and other groups in the race to map the human genome.

"This [collaboration with TCAG] will allow us to make the first practical steps into the new area of Genomic Medicine, using genome information to develop a truly modern and individual-based form of health care," said Huntington Willard, vice chancellor for genome sciences and director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy.

Trask names two top vice presidents

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask named two deputies to his upper-level staff: Hof Milam, new vice president for financial services, and Kemel Dawkins, new vice president for campus services.

Milam comes to the University from QualChoice of North Carolina, a health maintenance organization. He was previously affiliated with higher education as assistant dean for planning and resource management at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He arrived at the University July 1.

Dawkins is the outgoing associate vice president of campus services at Yale University. He has worked at a variety of top universities, including Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is expected to arrive at the University Aug. 1.

SARS wreaks havoc on summer, fall programs

The impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Asia resonated across the University community this summer, as programs were canceled and some students could not return home due to travel warnings.

The Duke in China summer program was canceled and relocated to Beaufort, N.C., and the fall program was postponed until Spring 2004. The School of Law, meanwhile, relocated its Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law from Hong Kong to Japan to skirt the epidemic.

Judith Horowitz, associate dean for international studies for the law school, said, "We certainly couldn't bring faculty or students from anywhere in the world to a place where they'd have to catch a very serious disease."

Mezzatesta ousted from DUMA post

President Nan Keohane and Provost Peter Lange announced May 16 that Michael Mezzatesta, director of the Duke University Museum of Art, would not be rehired when his term ends at the end of August. Sarah Schroth, curator of DUMA, will serve as interim director while the University conducts a search for a new director during the upcoming year. She will oversee construction of the new Nasher Museum of Art, which is scheduled to open in 2004.

Mezzatesta came to the University to direct DUMA in 1987 and has spent many years developing and fundraising for the new museum. He is also responsible for other projects such as the student curatorial program and outreach initiatives to highlight the importance of the arts at the University.

Financial crisis spurs FCJL overhaul

The University announced June 3 that Freeman Center for Jewish Life Director Jonathan Gerstl will take on a new role as executive director of Jewish life at the University. The announcement came not long after FCJL's board decided to dissolve itself in the interest of establishing financial stability for the center. In lieu of the board will be an advisory committee, which Gerstl said he hopes will be more encompassing on a national scale and will take on greater fundraising responsibility.

As executive director of Jewish life, Gerstl will assume more fundraising duties, leaving FCJL's day-to-day and programming operations in the hands of a new center director. The University will take possession of the Freeman Center building and provide its facilities and services to students.

Trustees elect Nicholas as chair

The Board of Trustees announced the election of Peter Nicholas as its chair in May. Nicholas served as co-vice chair of the Board since 2000. He and his wife Virginia Nicholas, who both graduated from the University in 1964, also co-chaired the steering committee of the Campaign for Duke, which surpassed its $2 billion goal in January - almost a full year before its Dec. 2003 deadline.

Nicholas succeeded Harold "Spike" Yoh, who served as chair of the Board since July 2000 and who retired from the spot June 30.

Baby burned in Hospital accident

A critically ill baby undergoing a surgical procedure at the Hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit caught fire June 6, sustaining burns over 10 percent of its body. The medical staff immediately doused the fire with sterile saline solution and extinguished it within seconds, the Hospital reported.

William Fulkerson, CEO of the Hospital, said the fire began as medical staff prepared to connect the child to equipment in the pediatric ICU. The child was to undergo a treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which involves a procedure to insert tubes into large blood vessels to pull unoxygenated blood from the patient and through the machine for oxygenation. Fulkerson said the procedure and treatment are routinely performed at the Hospital.

Greek judiciary slaps Sigma Nu

The greek judicial board reached a verdict in May following a hazing incident April 14 when six Sigma Nu fraternity pledges were found inebriated on Old Erwin Road.

During the upcoming fall semester, the fraternity will not be able to host any events or participate in social, philanthropic and sporting activities. The fraternity will also apologize for the infraction in a Chronicle advertisement and will remove the fraternity bench from outside their residential section in Kilgo Quadrangle.

University officials said current Sigma Nu pledges may still be initiated in the fall. Additionally, judicial affairs deans will meet with future recruits to make sure they understand the hazing policy and their responsibilities.

Durham Regional projects 2003 profit

Durham Regional Hospital, which the Duke University Health System acquired under a 1998 lease agreement, announced it expected to post a profit for the first time in half a decade. The hospital anticipated a $1.3 million profit for the fiscal year 2003, which concluded at the end of June.

Since DUHS gained control of the hospital, administrators have worked to eliminate excess costs and to increase productivity. In addition, increased volume in surgery and in the endoscopy unit helped Durham Regional defy the $3.3 million shortfall that was projected at the beginning of the year. The hospital was also aided by a $950,000 gift from the Durham County Hospital Corporation and an additional $400,000 from a lease agreement with Select Medical for space in the hospital.

Benjamin Reese named VP for institutional equity

President Nan Keohane appointed Benjamin Reese as vice president for institutional equity on an interim basis until Dec. 2004. Reese said he will devote attention to employees who may have previously lacked access to promotional and professional development opportunities. He said he will also continue the Office of Institutional Equity's work on recruiting and retaining minority faculty.

Previously, Reese worked as assistant vice president for cross-cultural relations. He succeeds Sally Dickson, who is departing to take a position at Stanford University.

Hospital patient thought to have SARS, later exonerated

An Orange County patient being treated at Duke University Hospital was suspected of SARS, but was diagnosed instead with mycoplasma pneumonia.

The patient came to the Emergency Department June 10 and was released shortly thereafter. He was briefly placed under quarantine, but was removed when the disease was determined not to be the respiratory disorder that swept East Asia and turned up in various places within the United States and Canada.

Faculty question ACC expansion

The Executive Committee of Academic Council weighed in with its opinion on the Atlantic Coast Conference expansion and came down hard on the ultimately successful bid to add new schools.

Its primary complaint was with the conference's failure to consult the faculties of its member schools.

"The entire process wasn't done with proper faculty consultation," said Dr. Nancy Allen, Academic Council chair in June. "I have some hope that we can slow this down to allow faculty to have a voice in the matter, but even if we don't, we want to ensure that a process is put in place so that the next time these kinds of matters arise, faculty gets to be heard early on in the discussions."

Nursing dean to step down in 2004

After 13 years as dean of the School of Nursing, Mary Champagne will relinquish her position in 2004. Over the last decade, the nursing school has grown in terms of recruitment of faculty and students, developed a new bachelor's degree program and promoted an interdisciplinary relationship with other divisions of the medical school.

Champagne said she hopes to take a year-long sabbatical in order to refocus on academics, and then return to the Medical Center faculty. Champagne's replacement will be hired after a new chancellor has been found to replace President and CEO of Duke University Health System Dr. Ralph Snyderman.

Duke Hospital establishes Jesica Santillan Fund

Duke University Hospital announced May 8 that it will establish a $4 million perpetual fund honoring the memory of Jesica Santillan. University officials said the fund, which will provide additional support services for Latino pediatric patients at the Hospital, was endorsed by Santillan's mother. Recently, however, a spokesperson for the Santillan family said the teenager's mother never endorsed the fund.

According to the original proposal, the Hospital would launch the fund by donating $1 million over the next five years, making $50,000 per year immediately available to needy Latino patients and their families. The Hospital would also start a five-year fund-raising effort. When fully realized, the fund would generate $200,000 per year.

Asian matriculation hits record high

The class of 2007 entering the University this fall will be stronger and markedly more Asian and Asian-American, reported Christopher Guttentag, director of undergraduate admissions.

About 295 Asian and Asian-American students will matriculate with the next class - a record high, up from 239 last year, comprising 18 percent of the total number of entering freshmen. A flourishing international applicant pool and possibly a changing perception of the University were reasons for the increase, Guttentag said.

"I think we may be at a point where there's a large enough Asian population to make a difference in the perception of Duke among Asians," he said.

Hospital probe finds deficiencies

A report from several probes into Duke University Hospital found deficiencies in the Hospital's dialysis division, medication administering procedure and infection control, according to a memo issued in late May by Dr. William Fulkerson, CEO of the Hospital.

The Hospital's shortcomings caused it to be noncompliant with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' conditions of participation and placed it in "immediate jeopardy" of losing participation rights in Medicare and Medicaid services.

The audit by the CMS was initiated in response to the case of Jesica Santillan, who died from complications resulting from a mismatched heart-lung transplantation at the Hospital in February.

Duke students cleared in assault case

Former Duke Student Government President Joshua Jean-Baptiste, Trinity '03, former DSG Treasurer John Njoku, Trinity '03, and all-ACC wrestler Michael Mitchell, a senior, were found not guilty of misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury. The May 6 acquittal in Durham County District Court answered charges that the three had assaulted a North Carolina Central University student March 30.

Judge Ann McKown attributed the ruling to a lack of evidence against the defendants. "This is not because I found everything credible, because that is certainly not the case," McKown said in her ruling. "But based on the burden of proof, the plaintiff could not prove [the charges] beyond a reasonable doubt."

Eyeing Village, Moneta hires development officer

Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta created a full-time position, director of development for student affairs, and appointed Treat Harvey to fill the post and guide the financing of a new student village that could cost $50 million.


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