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Appointment only: Why Price discontinued preset office hours with students

President Vincent Price is no longer holding office hours, but students are still able to request a meeting with him.

Price set aside an hour on seven days for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters, according to archived copies of the Office of the President’s website. The current website no longer displays dates for office hours, but Margaret Epps, special assistant to the president and associate secretary to the Board of Trustees, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that students can still request to meet with the president. 

“We respond to every student who asks to meet with President Price and, where feasible, will accommodate that request,” Epps wrote. “President Price values opportunities to engage directly with students, in groups and individually, and does so in a variety of ways and in many settings.”

Currently, students can request appointments with the president by a form on the website for the Office of the President.

Epps wrote that the change came about because few students were using the request feature. Those who did “generally had the opportunity to meet at a time that was mutually convenient to the student and President Price,” she added.

Senior Vinit Parekh, a staff videographer for The Chronicle, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that he met with Price during last year’s office hours. He noted that Price is “very busy” and emphasized the significance of Price being able to have a meeting planned well in advance or the meeting itself is very important.

Parekh encouraged students to meet with the president. During his meeting with Price, Parekh explained that they discussed topics such as Duke’s involvement with fossil fuel investment and higher education in general.

“President Price was very good at responding in a noncommittal manner,” he said. “He knows how to provide information without giving his full opinion on topics.”

However, Parekh added that the current system could make it hard for students to meet with Price in some situations. 

“Having a biweekly meeting to allow students to communicate with him would allow President Price to learn more about what is occurring around campus directly from the source,” Parekh said.

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