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Civil disobedience

Duke students have never been the type to just sit and let the world change around them. Throughout the University’s history, there have been several defining moments when students and faculty took direct action to protect their beliefs.

The 1960s were a defining time for the University and for student involvement in protests. African-American students staged a study-in within the Allen Building to demand friendlier policies towards the black student population Nov. 1967. Tensions between the African-American population and the administration reached an all-time high Feb. 13, 1969 when students took over the Allen Building. Students barricaded themselves inside of the building demanding more equal treatment, according to the University archives. Upon receiving promises of negotiations with the administration and exiting the building, police tear-gassed the students on the quad.

Protests against Vietnam raged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These protests were among the first in the country to call for an end to U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Even in the 21st century, there have been several student war protests, according to a previous article from The Chronicle. Throughout Feb. 2003, students protesting the Iraq War camped out in tents on the Chapel Quad with the support of the local community. In 2005, Duke students and Durham residents marched together from Brightleaf Square to East Campus in a rally against the Iraq War.

The national Occupy Movement also made its way to Duke in Fall 2011. Protesters called for campus dialogue regarding economic justice and participatory democracy, according to a previous article from The Chronicle.

Duke students aren't afraid to promote campus dialogue through more than just their words. If history says anything, it is that Duke students are always willing to take their opinion off of the page or the computer screen and translate it into direct action.


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