People’s State of the University is a campus activist group that rose to prominence after its student members stormed the stage at an alumni address by President Vincent Price in April 2018 and issued a series of demands. They connected their protest to the 1968 Silent Vigil, which followed the death of Martin Luther King Jr.
PSOTU issued a dozen demands to the administration, which ranged from making Board of Trustees meetings open and more transparent to creating a "standardized set of consequences" for hate and bias acts on campus and guaranteeing need-blind admission for international students. Since the April protest, PSOTU has gained seats at the bargaining table with administrators, earning spots on the Working Group for Community and Dialogue.
Duke has addressed some of the group’s demands. Duke and the University Health System announced in September that they would not ask individuals whether they had committed a felony in the first round of employment applications, fulfilling the “ban the box” demand. The Board of Trustees also introduced new transparency measures in the Fall and renamed the Carr Building in December.
Editor's note: This profile is part of our annual initiative called The Chron15. We are highlighting 15 people and groups who are defining what it means to be at Duke this year. Read about the project and more of our selections.
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