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New year, new me: New Duke?

While tapping through the 300th “Best of 2018” Instagram story on my feed, I stopped to reflect on the year as a whole. As anyone with two brain cells knows, 2018 was not a golden year for the United States, let alone the rest of the world. As any good Duke student knows, 2018 for Duke, quite frankly, sucked. 

Between the student health insurance fiasco, horrific security issues and some tragic campus losses (R.I.P. to the walk-up line), I spent the last days of winter break staring at my phone, wondering, “Did anything good happen at Duke this year? Is there even a point to hope for improvement in 2019?”

Rather than drowning in my own ennui, I decided to sit down with President Price and find out exactly how Duke plans to change for the New Year. Here’s a sneak peek of what you have to look forward to this semester.

Vincent Price: Before we get started, you’re not one of those People’s State of the University organizers, right? My New Year’s resolution is to avoid working with them as much as possible.

Monday Monday: No, I write for The Chronicle.

VP: Oh—great! So, I think you’re really going to enjoy what Duke has in store for 2019. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think our administration selected a bunch of projects that really address student needs. Again, I can’t say too much, but I know you’re going to be quite excited.

MM: Since you obviously can’t reveal everything, I’ll start with a question. How do you plan on fixing the university’s abundant transportation issues? More specifically, what steps will you take to improve the Duke Van service?

VP: I’m so glad you asked! Duke Transportation has been working on a plan that should silence student transport complaints once and for all. We’re partnering with the owners of Devine’s to extend the Duke Van range of service to include Devine’s! Even more exciting, fraternity party buses will serve as Duke Vans on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. 

MM: That is certainly a… creative solution, but what about students who currently cannot rely on Duke Vans to get home safely? Wouldn’t resources be better allocated to address real student needs rather than perceived student wants?

VP: First of all, Devine’s is a need. Second, isn’t insufficient transportation kind of the students’ own fault? I mean, if you choose to live off-campus, you subject yourself to the associated burdens: either pay for a parking pass or pay for an Uber—it’s not that hard!

MM: But Duke’s insufficient, overpriced housing forces some students to live off-campus and subsequently deal with the lack of sufficient transportation. It’s also not just off-campus students—students who live on campus still suffer from Duke Vans’ inconsistent service. 

VP: I’m sorry Monday Monday, but we’re doing all we can to fix the transportation issues! The university isn’t exactly made of money.

MM: I just think that with an $8.5 billion endowment… You know what? Nevermind; let’s shift gears to something more important. What is the university doing to introduce a hate speech policy?

VP: Well, that is a pretty complicated question. Hate speech is a huge issue on college campuses, especially this one, and it must be condemned. But who can condemn it or enforce a policy? Aren’t we all a little bit guilty of hate speech? After all, “he who hath no sin may throw the first stone!”

MM: Well, I think it’s pretty easy not to be racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, transphobic or an a**hole. I’m not really understanding how this is a difficult concept to pin down.

VP: In the words of one of my fellow administrators, you should try reading a book about it. I’m sure you’ll find it quite informative! Anyways, let me tell you about a new initiative that will definitely be a big change for the new year. Daily maid service is now included, free of charge, in Room and Board costs for all East and West Campus dorms!

MM: That seems a bit excessive—if there’s anything we learned this year, it’s that Duke’s housekeeping staff is already doing enough!

VP: I’m not sure I understand; wasn’t that exactly what Duke Students for Housekeeping Reform asked for?

MM: That isn’t even a student group… There’s Duke Students for Housing Reform and a separate group advocating for the fair and just treatment of Duke’s housekeepers. This initiative completely undermines everything they spent the semester fighting for. At this point, I’m just shocked at how out of touch the administration seems to be with actual student needs.

VP: I’m so sorry you feel that way, but I can assure you, this is exactly what Duke’s campus needs. You students just don’t have the foresight to know the best direction for the university.

MM: Anyway… thank you for participating in this interview. I’m sure my classmates will be thrilled to see what’s to expect from the semester.

VP: One more thing, and I hope this can satisfy you: we’re bringing back Quenchers.

MM: Fantastic! That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

And just like that, our interview came to a close. Any glimmer of hope I had for the university to change quickly disappeared, yet I felt a strange set of comfort. Though our world is tumultuous and unpredictable, we can always rely on Duke administrators to stay the same.

Monday Monday's editor would like to make it clear that President Price never said any of these things, and that Monday Monday did not actually interview him at all. Monday Monday, much like the university, has several New Year’s resolutions, all of which they will talk about extensively yet never pursue. Specifically, Monday Monday plans to take a much-needed hiatus from social media. They spent their break brainstorming ways to use a winter break’s worth of photos for a semester’s worth of Instas. Anonymous columnists: they’re just like us!


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