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Dockery for president

If you're like me, you've probably watched The Shot II about 50 times by now. "Dockery at the buzzer-.YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" Yes, it was one of the greatest moments of my life, too. Isn't it amazing how our entire campus can come together for a moment of basketball bliss?

Twelve freshman, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, are part of that campus, too. As transfer policies stand now, these 12 students will be forced to leave Duke at the end of the semester and return to their ravaged universities. Duke Student Government Senators Jordan Giordano and Ryan Strasser wrote a resolution calling for Duke to allow these students to apply for status as full-time Duke students starting in the spring. It was passed by DSG on Nov. 9 by a vote of 34-5, with one abstention.

The New Orleans universities that were devastated by Katrina-Dillard, Loyola, Xavier and Tulane-will be combining classes and campuses for the spring semester and housing students on boats. As the resolution says, these are not the same schools that students applied to as high school seniors. The only college experience these 12 freshmen have had is the Duke one. Also, their credit from Duke would probably be counted as pass/fail, meaning they would have to take extra classes back in New Orleans.

Some of the freshmen plan to return to the Gulf Coast, despite the drastic changes at their home institutions. Scholarships and a love for the city are just two of the things pulling them back to Louisiana. But some freshmen-somewhere between four and eight-would like to stay at Duke. There's no guarantee they'll be admitted, but they would like to at least have the opportunity to try. Housing wouldn't be a problem, since the freshmen are already living on East Campus and would only take up about five beds on West.

The problem is that the administration refuses to change the rules requiring at least two semesters of college before applying for transfer. Apparently Katrina was unprecedented enough of an event to allow students to come here after the fall semester had already started but not enough to allow them to stay at the only college they have ever known.

Opponents of the resolution argued that changing the policy would not be fair to other transfer applicants, who have completed at least two semesters of college. But other transfer applicants weren't forced to evacuate their colleges, or, in the case of freshman Zach Stanfill, left homeless. Opponents also said Duke must consider the institutions affected, and not steal their students-a "don't hit 'em-while they're down" argument. But Tulane's number of applicants for the class of 2010 is up by 50 percent from last year-doesn't seem like they're hurting for students. A historic event like Katrina certainly doesn't set a precedent for future transfer policies. I think everyone understands that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

But the administration remains reluctant to allow the Katrina students to stay. Stanfill told the Chronicle in a Dec. 5 article, "I don't think people are being compassionate and understanding." The administration is instead playing the part of Ebenezer Scrooge this holiday season. And Giordano and Strasser, despite their noble intentions, are no Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. What could possibly make administrators change their minds?

What if Sean Dockery were DSG president? As the current Big Man On Campus, Dockery would most certainly have the attention-and unwavering support-of the student body, and it'd be hard for the administration to ignore thousands of screaming Crazies. While such a situation is of course impossible, a basketball player could probably get infinitely more out of the administration than any DSG president ever has.

The administration claims to listen to students, and especially DSG, but its position on this issue is indefensible. They are not listening to students, and their blatant disrespect for the displaced freshmen is insulting. We're talking about fewer than 10 students who would like to stay at what, for all practical purposes, is their university. Administrators can talk all they want about institutional respect, but the real issue is the lives and futures of a dozen young people-young people for whom the administration claims to act in locis parentis.

Does it really take a basketball player to get some respect?

Elizabeth Rudisill is a Trinity sophomore. Her column runs every other Thursday.


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