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Sexual assault problem, WU fish: Check out the Opinion pieces you read the most in September

cut the bull

Tired of poring over page after page of incomprehensible academic theory? Physics textbook weighing down your bag? This fall break, take a break from your existential dread and job applications and check out the top five most read opinion pieces of and September. As you'll see, it's been a fall full of hot takes and rich discourse. And don't forget to check out the top News, Sports and Recess pieces too.

1. Take it from me, a psychiatrist: Duke has a serious sexual assault problem

Our top piece in September was a guest column written by Mindy Oshrain, a Durham-based psychiatrist. Oshrain addressed current students, imploring them to be active bystanders, to do all in their power to prevent campus assault. Oshrain's years of experience working with Duke students yielded a compelling reminder of an all-too-common occurrence.

2. Letter: Why is the Blue Devil still white?

If this ranking list were an Olympic medal podium, this letter from Lin Giralt, Trinity '77, would win the silver. Giralt wrote in with a thoughtful query that struck a cord with hundreds of readers: Why is the Blue Devil still white? Although readers disagreed on the answer to Giralt's question, they certainly took his lead and pondered the role and history of our beloved Blue Devil.

3. Rethinking the Duke smoking ban

Nikhil Sridhar's biweekly column, "laissez faire et laissez passer," takes on the presence of arguably intrusive policies in our everyday lives—from Duke's campus to the classroom to the federal government. In this column, Sridhar questions the campus smoking ban, applying his libertarian perspective to challenge the recent "Healthy Duke" initiative.

4. Environmental science has a eugenics problem; Duke's program is not immune

Environmental science major Theo Cai submitted this guest column upon realizing that the Malthusian theory he had been taught in introductory courses stunk of pseudoscientific eugenics. Cai's column condemns the teaching of Malthus—or any theory of population control—without the necessary context that characterizes it.

5. Don't eat the West Union fish

Finally, a personal favorite: the impetus of the Great West Union Salmon Debate of 2019 clocks in at number five in the most widely read opinion pieces. Following a slew of back-to-school advice articles, columnist Sami Kirkpatrick offered the only piece of advice he felt genuinely qualified to give: don't eat the fish in the Brodhead Center. His column had readers clutching their sides—and got his fellow columnists talking in response.

Now, with some light reading material at your fingertips, get back to enjoying your fall break.

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