Freshman year featured a number of large-scale campus policy changes and historic athletic feats.
After months of student protests, the University eliminated the one-year statute of limitations on student sexual misconduct. The revised policy states that the University disciplinary process can respond to reports filed against a student until that individual graduates. The change was proposed by a student task force.
Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, James B. Duke professor of medicine and professor of biochemistry and immunology, became the first standing faculty member to receive a Nobel Prize in October. The Royal Swedish Academy of Science awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry to Lefkowitz and his colleague, Dr. Brian Kobilka—a former postdoctoral fellow at Duke who worked for Lefkowitz—for studies of G protein-coupled receptors.
The University launched Duke Forward—its second capital campaign and the largest in its history—with a goal of raising $3.25 billion by June 2017.
In November, President Barack Obama won a second term with 303 electoral votes, which exceeded the 270 necessary to clinch a victory. The Chronicle, in partnership with the Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology, conducted an IRB-approved poll of 3,200 undergraduates via email from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, which showed that, of the students who responded, the majority supported Obama for president. The poll yielded 1,155 responses, and 65.6 percent of respondents said they would vote for Obama.
An “International Relations” party held by Kappa Sigma fraternity in February drew national attention and major backlash from community members for its depiction of Asian stereotypes. Students posted fliers protesting the party, held a rally at the West Campus bus stop and asked that a new task force be created to deal with group bias incidents like the party. Kappa Sigma was suspended by its national organization, and the Coalition for an Inclusive Duke and the brothers of Kappa Sigma jointly released a statement pledging to work together to change a “problematic environment” at Duke.
The University celebrated its 50th anniversary of integration throughout the Spring semester. Events included visits from the first class of black undergraduates and a keynote address given by Sen. Mo Cowan, D-Mass. and Trinity ’91.
The Duke Student Government Senate unanimously passed legislation calling for the expansion of the current health care plan to better fit the medical needs of the transgender community. After DSG backed student health insurance coverage for sex reassignment surgery, administrators signed a new contract with Duke’s health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, that included up to $50,000 to cover the procedure.
The Arts and Sciences Council voted down a motion to adopt for-credit online courses. The vote was hotly contested, with 14 council members voting to approve for-credit online courses, 16 voting against it and two abstentions. If the motion had passed, Duke would have joined online education company 2U’s Semester Online consortium, a three-year pilot program.
Two Duke athletes—senior Abby Johnston and junior Nick McCrory—won silver and bronze medals in the 2012 London Olympics, respectively. Johnston received a silver medal in synchronized 3-meter springboard diving, and McCrory took home the bronze in synchronized 10-meter platform diving.
The athletic triumphs continued as Duke football became bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 with a last-second victory against North Carolina. The Blue Devils squared off against Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, but crucial fourth-quarter turnovers proved costly. Despite the 48-34 loss, Duke made major strides that paved the way for bowl appearances in the next two seasons. Head coach David Cutcliffe was named ACC Coach of the Year for his efforts in turning the program around.
Duke men’s and women’s basketball teams had successful seasons, with both teams beating North Carolina at home and on the road and advancing to the Elite Eight. On the women’s side, the Blue Devils won the ACC tournament title, beating the Tar Heels 92-73 to capture its eighth ACC tournament title in program history and third in four seasons.
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