While Duke students were enjoying their winter breaks, the Associate Deans of Curriculum and Course Development of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences were hard at work revamping the requirements for graduation. The Curriculum committee has started a new initiative, “Tackling the Social Dinosaur: T-reqs,” to address issues of Duke social culture.
The first issue to be targeted will be Duke’s infamous hookup culture. To combat Duke students’ fear of stable relationships, the committee is kicking off their initiative by requiring all first-years to take a course on commitment.
According to a poll conducted by the Women’s Center, nearly 80 percent of Duke students bemoan the romantic culture on campus. The most frequent complaints waged against Duke’s hookup culture include: “common ghosting,” “label resistant relationships” and “acquaintances with benefits.”
A Women’s Center representative said, “Essentially, Duke students have a problem settling down in relationships. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we need to ensure that Duke students have the tools to be rational human beings later in life.”
On a campus where the question, “How long have you all been dating?” is answered by, “Um…depends on if you count by when we first hooked up or when we became exclusive,” Duke administration has decided that the commitment class is a much-needed addition to Trinity Curriculum.
The class will work similarly to Writing 101 in terms of scheduling. At some point during their first year, students will take a lecture-style class that teaches reliability and empathy. The Chronicle obtained an early draft of the syllabus for a class entitled, “Swiping Right on Commitment: Navigating Duke’s Social Landscape.” The class will be half lecture-based, half project-based. The lectures will focus on various problematic scenarios that could arise in Duke students’ relationships, spanning both romantic relationships and friendships. The primary instructors for the course will be chosen randomly from a pool of the least popular first-year seminar professors. The class plans to invite speakers from several departments, including the psychology and biology departments.
According to the syllabus, the biology lecture is entitled, “How To Respond to the Statement: “You Know Humans Aren’t Meant to be Monogamous.”
The project aspect of the class will require each student to take care of a small plant for the entirety of a semester. The plant is intended to embody a romantic partner, and each student will be graded on his or her ability to keep the plant alive and healthy—as well as romantically interested. Students are expected to carry their plants with them at all times, including saving a seat in West Union and getting extra Red Mango samples for their plant. Additionally, in order to make caring for a ficus more similar to an actual relationship, students will be given pop quizzes on their plant’s birthday, parents’ hometowns and favorite movies. Students are required to introduce their plant to other people’s plants, and make an effort to get to know their plants’ friends. Special couple fitness classes will be offered at Wilson Gym, such as phototropic meditation and rock and vine climbing. For extra credit, students can either take their plant on a date where they cannot pay with food points, or attend their plants’ family reunion held in the Duke Gardens. A first year/plant formal with catering from local Durham restaurants is planned for the semester, as well. Of course, no leafy greens will be available at the function, because that’s basically cannibalism.
Students must also do observational reporting of Duke students’ typical social interactions three times a semester. They must write a three-page long report commenting on how Duke students communicate their feelings in various social settings. The reports must be written at Perkins, West Union and Shooters, respectively. When asked how students conducting observational reports would affect the ambiance, Shooters management declined to comment.
Students will have to practice public speaking, according to various obtained syllabi. Each student must prepare a speech where they explicitly say the words, “This is my [boyfriend/girlfriend/romantic partner]. We are in an exclusive relationship.” They also must practice answering the question, “What are we?” The final weeks of the course will help students construct strategies to end relationships respectfully, instead of posting Snapchat stories with new, more fruitful plants.
A few missteps in these courses could cause major impacts on students’ grades. Should a student be caught a party without his or her plant, there will be a two-point deduction on his or her final grade. If a student has another plant, or at any point mutters the phrase, “You’re not like other plants,” he or she will be deducted a letter grade. Any “U up?” text sent throughout the semester will warrant an automatic failure, and necessitate that the student retakes the class—next time with an even more convenient plant.
Overall, Duke administration hopes that the commitment course signals a new era for the university. “We expect a lot out of Duke students,” said the Trinity Dean of Curriculum. “We expect Duke students to be academically motivated, community service-minded and extracurricularly engaged. With this class, we expect Duke students to act like somewhat functioning adults.”
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This new requirement will not apply to Pratt students, obviously.
Friday Friday is Monday Monday’s off-brand satirical cousin. Look out for Friday Friday on Tinder, and Friday Friday would like it to be known that they are available for frat rush date functions.