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We express solidarity with the students occupying Allen Building

Since Friday afternoon, a group of courageous Duke students occupied Allen building to express outrage at the racism that continues to simmer within our university, much of it unnoticed or unconsidered by the people running it. The students have linked hands across five decades with their 1969 black peers, who then occupied the same building to protest…racism at Duke. 

They focused then on the unmet needs of black students. The immediate focus now is the systemic mistreatment of workers of color in the Duke Parking and Transportation System, which was highlighted by the recent exposure of a two-year-old incident involving Executive Vice President Tallman Trask and parking attendant Shelvia Underwood. 

However, this student action cannot be viewed in isolation from the recent racist incidents affecting students of color at Duke and at many other campuses. We, their professors, fully support the spirit and courage of these students, and hear the lesson that they are teaching us: Duke’s and this nation’s historic and continuing racism cannot be denied, glossed over, academicized. It has to be openly and unapologetically recognized, confronted, disrupted, to be fully dismantled.

In solidarity,

Dr. Tema Okun, TRJ Faculty

Dr. Krista Robinson-Lyles, TRJ Faculty

Marcia Rego, PhD. Thompson Writing Program

Jaybird O’Berski, Theater Studies

Michelle Lanier, Documentary Studies

Barbara Lau, Duke Human Rights Center

Liliana Paredes, PhD. Romance Studies

Daniele Armaleo, PhD. Biology

François Lutzoni, PhD. Biology

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