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Nowicki offers financial aid project

Students may now have more say in University policies surrounding financial aid.

At Duke Student Government’s meeting Wednesday night, Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, announced the Socioeconomic Diversity Initiative, which aims to garner student opinions on the financial aid system and what it is like to be a Duke student.

“We have reaffirmed our commitment to need-blind admissions,” Nowicki said of the initiative.

The initiative serves to solicit input from various groups across campus regarding financial aid and campus diversity, Nowicki said.

He also discussed the effect the current economic crisis is having on Duke. He told the Senate that despite the financial strain felt at other institutions, Duke has been able to reduce costs without cutting any class sections or programs. Even though Duke has fared relatively well through the recession, Nowicki said the University must be cautious because “we don’t have money to just throw around.”

Also of concern regarding University finances is the future of Central Campus. Nowicki said there is a two- to three-year plan to overhaul parts of the campus in addition to a more long-term plan.

Among the construction projects planned are a new restaurant and a reconfiguration of Mill Village that will include, among other things, a police substation and an ePrint station.

Nowicki said that the projects were “motivated by the fact that Central had been ignored.”

To conclude his remarks, Nowicki announced a commitment by the administration to listen more to student input, especially from first-year students, on University affairs.

In other business:

After Nowicki’s address, sophomore Pete Schork, vice president for athletics and campus services, reported on last weekend’s Tailgate.

Schork said overall, Tailgate “went pretty well,” and despite the new regulations adopted for this year, “students seemed to like it.”

“There was a decrease in irresponsible behavior that we observed,” Schork said.

Another positive at Tailgate was attendance, which increased significantly. This increase seems to have translated to inside the stadium, Schork said, noting that gameday attendance was 33,011, the highest since a 2001 game against North Carolina State University.

Although the changes in regulations were well-received, there were some problems implementing them, especially the rule requiring beer to be in Solo cups when consumed. The main issue was that there were not enough cups made available, which made the cup rule the “most violated rule,” Schork said.

Despite such violations, Schork said he thinks students were well aware of the new rules.

“At least all those that came as groups were aware,” he said.

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