On August 30,2014, Tallman Trask III, Executive Vice President of Duke University, hit Ms. Shelvia Underwood, a parking attendant, and drove away after a verbal exchange. Almost two years later, when asked about the incident by the Duke Chronicle he initially lied about hitting her. Only when presented with a copy of his apology note did Trask acknowledge that he did. In addition to hitting her, Ms. Underwood maintains the Executive Vice President used racial epithets toward her during this incident. Trask denies these allegations.
Later, the Duke Chronicle reported on the racist climate at Parking and Transportation facilitated by Kyle Cavanaugh and Carl DePinto. In response to inaction by upper level administration nine students have occupied the Allen Building beginning on April 1. In discussion with deans they have been threatened with disciplinary actions. Meanwhile, Trask has yet to be held accountable to the Duke Community Standard or to state law.
The Duke Chapter of the NAACP stands in solidarity with the Duke students occupiers and workers. We demand amnesty from arrest and Duke disciplinary actions including but not limited to: expulsion, suspension, and disciplinary probation for all student occupiers. These students are attempting to serve as a catalyst for good judgement and honor in a situation where their presence should never have been necessary in the first place.
Duke Chapter of the NAACP Executive Board 2015-16
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.