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Statement on behalf of Baldwin Scholars and alumnae

Earlier this month, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Dr. Gary Bennett, informed Colleen Scott, director of the Baldwin Scholars program, that Scholars would permanently lose access to the Baldwin office and meeting space—an environment that has fostered a supportive community and valuable collaboration for hundreds of students over the last fifteen years. Instead, this space would be converted for use by the Kenan Institute of Ethics, and the Baldwin Scholars program would move into a shared space in Smith Warehouse with no designated Baldwin area. The purported reason for doing so was to consolidate all Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows into one space. Neither the director of the program, program staff, nor Baldwin Scholars were consulted during the decision-making process and, in effect, were told we would be evicted from the space at the end of this academic year. We condemn this decision and ask that Duke University preserve our rightful space.

The state of affairs for women at Duke University is dire. Most undergraduate women at Duke graduate with lower self confidence or worse mental health than when they matriculated. In the most recent study on sexual assault on Duke’s campus, 48 percent of undergraduate women reported having been sexually assaulted during their time at Duke. On average, female professors make approximately $20,000 less than their male counterparts. The Baldwin Scholars program was founded within the context of these realities in an effort to uplift female-identifying and non-binary/gender nonconforming students and equip them to be effective, confident leaders at Duke and beyond. The program necessitates the existence of a safe, unified space for these students to meet, collaborate, and interact. This space exists in the Baldwin office, which has been a haven for Baldwin Scholars since the program began in 2004. Countless memories and important relationships were forged in this space, and without such a space, our ability to forge these important relationships and develop these skills will be severely hindered. For it to be taken without any regard for the Scholars or the director of the program is impudent and insulting to women on Duke’s campus. This decision perpetuates the continued erosion and displacement of women’s spaces on campus, including the displacement of the Women’s Center without the consideration of the directors or those it served in 2016. This decision sends a message to the women of Duke: we are dispensable. Destruction of our spaces is just collateral damage.

Furthermore, this space has a long history: the history of women at Duke began on East Campus, formerly the Woman’s College, and removing Baldwin from this space disregards it. Additionally, this space was given to Baldwin at the request of former President Keith Brodie. He personally designated his former office space to be given to the Baldwin Scholars Program upon his retirement. The removal of this space from the program disrespects the late President Brodie’s wishes. Lastly, the office and meeting space are card-access only and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning that these rooms are secure for vulnerable students. This private space for Baldwins could not be replicated in a limited and shared space at Smith Warehouse, and this history cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

We, the current Baldwin Scholars and alumnae of the program, ask that our Baldwin office and meeting space remain intact, and that the decision to evict us from our space be reversed. The destruction of this crucial meeting space is regressive and irresponsible, and will affect Baldwins for generations to come. We implore you to reflect and reconsider the implications of this decision and extend an apology to Colleen Scott, who has worked tirelessly to uplift women on Duke’s campus.

Sincerely,

The Baldwin Scholars

Susana Gutiérrez, Class of 2022

Elizabeth Loschiavo, Class of 2022

Cayley Ryan, Class of 2022

Madison Alvarado, Class of 2021

Megan Dorogi, Class of 2020

Lauren Hadley, Class of 2020

Camara Wooten, Class of 2020

Megan Libke, Class of 2021

Clara Love, Class of 2022

Leila Milanfar, Class of 2020

Dina Qiryaqoz, Class of 2022

Madeleine Yancy, Class of 2022

Shweta Shukla, Class of 2014

Caragh Heverly, Class of 2022

Liyu Woldemichael, Class of 2022

Chloe McLain, Class of 2018

Sophie Elliott, Class of 2021

Charity Agasaro, Class of 2021

Elizabeth Clark, Class of 2013

Anna Koelsch, Class of 2014

Aleena Karediya, Class of 2017

Madeleine Scully, Class of 2022

Lindsay Maggioncalda, Class of 2021

Sujal Manohar, Class of 2020

Fernanda Machicao, Class of 2022

Allison Dorogi, Class of 2015


Cyan DeVeaux, Class of 2020

Esha Solanki, Class of 2014

Alethea Toh, Class of 2020

Flora Muglia, Class of 2014

Mia Wise, Class of 2014

Hannah Miao, Class of 2021

Audrey Adu-Appiah, Class of 2014

Kamika Shaw, Class of 2014

Mannat Bakshi, Class of 2020

Anne Crabill, Class of 2022

Mashal Ali, Class of 2022

Margaret Gaw, Class of 2022

Natalie Le, Class of 2019

Megan Rabe, Class of 2022

Mary Gooneratne, Class of 2021

Maria Guadalupe Renteria, Class of 2021

Elizabeth Edel, Class of 2020

Maria Rocha, Class of 2021

Ceren Ebrem, Class of 2020

Ece Yurukoglu, Class of 2021

Lauren Wein, Class of 2021

Mayra Navarro, Class of 2021

Lydia Smeltz, Class of 2021

Hawo Ibrahim, Class of 2021

Amelia Steinbach, Class of 2021

Tyler Edwards, Class of 2022

Abla Samantha Messie, Class of 2021

Daisy Almonte, Class of 2020

Nina Chen, Class of 2019

Kelly Chung, Class of 2019

Mumbi Kanyogo, Class of 2019

Sydney Jeffs, Class of 2018

Moreen Njoroge, Class of 2019

Anika Ayyar, Class of 2018

Samia Noor, Class of 2021

Samantha Holmes, Class of 2018

Amir Williams, Class of 2018

Rebekah Johnston, Class of 2014

Andrea Patiño Contreras, Class of 2012

Katie Hammond, Class of 2018

Alexandria “Lexy” Lattimore, Class of 2014

Catherine Joseph, Class of 2012

Samantha Streit, Class of 2022

Rachel Rubin, Class of 2019

Sophie Hurewitz, Class of 2022

Ema Klugman, Class of 2020

Vanja Vlahovic Malloy, Class of 2008

Eritrea Temesghen, Class of 2021

Morgan Sheppard, Class of 2011

Merri Estren, Class of 2009

Mollie Breen, Class of 2015

Elizabeth Barahona, Class of 2018

Regan Bosch Checcio, Class of 2008

Claire Stout, Class of 2019

Jasmine Tan, Class of 2019

Michaela Dwyer, Class of 2013

Aria Branch, Class of 2009

Brittany DuChaussee (Hesbrook), Class of 2010

Kristen Larson, Class of 2017

Inés Jordan-Zoob, Class of 2019

Leah Hill, Class of 2009

Katie Jane Fernelius, Class of 2016

Beth Gordon, Class of 2013

Kala Juett, Class of 2020

Arianna Carr, Class of 2020

Vanessa Agudelo, Class of 2019

Shruti Rao, Class of 2018

Edom Tilahun, Class of 2019

Roma Sonik, Class of 2017

Nonnie Egbuna, Class of 2020

Mariana Calvo Boullosa, Class of 2017

Arielle Kahn, Class of 2017

Symonne Singleton, Class of 2017

Christiana Oshotse, Class of 2019

Anna Kaul, Class of 2018

Aarti Asrani, Class of 2016

Sarah Urdahl, Class of 2016

Lexia Chadwick, Class of 2015

Mia King, Class of 2019

Samantha Huff, Class of 2017

Tori Williams, Class of 2020

Suhani Jalota, Class of 2016

May Lee, Class of 2020

Nourhan Elsayed, Class of 2016

Elizabeth Tobierre, Class of 2014

Riyanka Ganguly, Class of 2018

Kalifa Wright, Class of 2016

Daniela Flamini, Class of 2019

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