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Hottest headlines from Summer 2016

<p>Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity advocated for  an increased minimum wage for Duke workers this spring.</p>

Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity advocated for an increased minimum wage for Duke workers this spring.

Many students may have left campus this summer, but that did not stop interesting events, milestones and announcements from happening back home at Duke. The Chronicle takes a look at some of the most noteworthy summer headlines as the 2016-17 academic year quickly approaches.

Nancy Andrews announces departure

Dr. Nancy Andrews, dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for academic affairs, announced in late July that she plans to step down in June 2017 after serving for 10 years in the position.

During her tenure, the medical school has expanded, opening its first new medical education building since the 1930s—the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center—and occupying space in the downtown Durham Innovation District. The school has also increased its programming and launched new research initiatives, including MedX, a partnership with the Pratt School of Engineering and the Center for Population Health Sciences.

“I have thought for a long time that 10 years is about right for this type of role,” Andrews said. “The deanship at Duke will be a very attractive job for rising leaders in academic medicine, and I want to give someone else the opportunity to take it on.”

Andrews noted that during her time at Duke, she has worked to form new interdisciplinary partnerships between the School of Medicine and the rest of the University as well as to increase diversity and inclusion.

Duke raises minimum wage

The University announced Aug. 10 that it will increase its minimum wage to $13 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2017—a one-dollar increase from the previous $12 an hour—for all regular staff and full-time employees of contractors.

The adjustment follows a series of protests in the Spring semester led by students advocating for increased workers' rights. One of the demands issued by Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity included a gradual increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 2019.

The group released a statement on Facebook shortly after the announcement saying they are encouraged by the increase, but that the administration must do more to support its workers.

“In order for the administration to truly address Duke’s plantation politics, we need far more than incremental wage increases and token ‘task forces’ that do not allow for worker voices,” the statement said.

Duke Forward campaign achieves goal

The Duke Forward campaign reached its goal of $3.25 billion in July after almost four years of fundraising efforts. Duke Forward set aside different fundraising goals for each of Duke's 10 schools, athletics, the libraries and "University-wide priorities."

"The Duke Forward campaign got off to a strong start and has seen no falling off such as is expected in a multiyear effort. Reaching the goal a full year early is an extraordinary testimony to the belief people have in this University and its mission," wrote President Richard Brodhead in an email. "As I have often said, the dollar goal is not the goal. The campaign's real goal is the high quality education and research these funds will make possible for Duke faculty and students."

The campaign has now raised more than $390 million toward financial aid and established 77 new endowed professorships. Despite accomplishing the goal almost a year early, Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said that Duke Forward fundraising will continue through next year.

Voter ID law struck down

North Carolina’s controversial voter identification procedures were struck down July 29. The 2013 legislation required voters to bring photo identification to the voting booth and eliminated both same-day registration and “out-of-precinct voting” as well as a wide range of other provisions. Republicans in favor of the bill claim it deterred voter fraud, but Democrats in opposition claim the law blocked minority communities from voting.

A United States District Court ruled in favor of North Carolina in April, saying the plaintiffs—the United States Department of Justice and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP—did not show sufficient evidence of discrimination. However, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals then reversed course in late July, throwing out the voter identification requirement and other provisions provided in the 2013 law.

North Carolina’s Republican leadership was quick to denounce the ruling. Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement in opposition the ruling and promised to appeal. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, as well as the North Carolina Republican Party, similarly condemned the decision as partisan in nature.

Rubenstein to leave Duke's Board of Trustees

David Rubenstein, Trinity ‘70 and chair of the Board of Trustees, was elected to become a member of the Harvard Corporation, with the consent of Harvard’s Board of Overseers. He will step down as chair of Duke's Board July 1, 2017 when his term as chair ends.

Rubenstein’s contributions to the University include $13.6 million gift to Duke Libraries to make renovations to Perkins Library possible; $10 million donation Duke athletics and $15 million to help catalyze the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program; $10 million to the Sanford School of Public Policy; $1.9 million to expand programming and fund renovations of the Freeman Center for Jewish Life; and $25 million to help fund the construction of Duke's new $50-million, 71,000-square-foot Arts Center.

The Board will elect new officers—chair and vice chairs—at its May 2017 meeting prior to Rubenstein's departure, according to Micheal Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.

"I've been so impressed with his deep and sincere interest in all things Duke," said Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek. "Since he's been on the Board we've certainly been blessed with his wisdom and compassion and his love and loyalty to Duke."

Former football player files concussion lawsuit

Former Duke football player Derrick Lee filed a class-action lawsuit against the University, the ACC and the NCAA in early June, claiming the defendants were negligent in dealing with players' head injuries.

"Defendants Duke, the ACC and the NCAA have kept their players and the public in the dark about an epidemic that was slowly killing their athletes," states the filing for Lee's lawsuit.

Lee—who played for the Blue Devils from 1998 to 2003—alleges that Duke, the ACC and the NCAA failed to implement guidelines to prevent repeated head injuries, protocols to manage concussions and procedures to educate players about the risks associated with playing before 2010, despite knowing about the dangers for several years.

Lee's class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all Duke football players from 1953 to 2010, the year in which the NCAA required schools to implement concussion management plans for all sports.

Lee's lawsuit was one of four similar suits filed in June by law firm Edelson PC in district courts across the country for players asserting that they still suffer from the effects of concussions that occurred during their college football careers. The three other suits filed Wednesday were on behalf of players from Ohio State, Tennessee and Michigan.

Latest No. 1 men’s basketball recruiting class arrives on campus

Four of the six players comprising Duke’s third straight top-ranked recruiting class—Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier—left high school early to enroll in the University’s first summer session and join the team early.

Along with center Marques Bolden, who committed in late May and arrived on campus a few weeks later, versatile forwards Tatum and Giles and combo guard Jackson are expected to make the Blue Devils one of the favorites to get to the Final Four next year despite losing ACC Freshman of the Year Brandon Ingram and point guard Derryck Thornton.

The extra time could prove valuable for the new Duke freshmen, who will join a veteran core featuring All-American guard Grayson Allen, senior guard Matt Jones and forward Amile Jefferson.

“It gives us a chance to get to know them better, train them better. You are allowed to do certain things with them now, and then they get accustomed to one another,” Krzyzewski said at his annual K Academy Fantasy Camp. “By the time the school year comes, they’re friends, they’re acclimated [and] they’re better.”


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