The independent news organization of Duke University

Duke is not rich, just comfortable

On Thursday, the New York Times published an article highlighting the lack of socioeconomic diversity at Duke, causing many Duke students to gasp in shock.

Immediately after, President Vincent Price published a statement rebuking the article’s sentiments and mentioning the efforts Duke has undergone in the last few years to rectify the socioeconomic disparity at Duke. Unfortunately, President Price seems to have forgotten that most students at Duke do not speak broke. Therefore, I, Monday Monday — champion of the vernacular of the common (top 1%) man — have taken it upon myself to translate the announcement into more accessible language:

Dear donors and notable alumni,

As you may be aware, famous fake news outlet the New York Times has published an unflattering article about the true demographics at Duke University. 

We care deeply about making our statistics look good and polished for the US News Rankings every year, although we know we have more work to do in this area. Thanks to my incredible, brave and very humble leadership, Duke has skyrocketed its enrollment of broke bitches this year to a whopping 17% of our incoming class — despite our efforts to collude with universities to limit financial aid. Of course, our goals of increasing socioeconomic diversity cannot come into conflict with our goals of growing Duke dynasties and donations through legacy admissions. But Duke is about family — we represent family, we talk about family — and every family must have its ugly ducklings, our Pell Grant recipients. 

Although lower income status, unlike race or gender, is not considered a protected class in our Office of Institutional Equity we are firmly committed to making our lower-income students feel accepted at Duke. However, if you ever suspect you have experienced discrimination because of class, there is nothing we can do about it. That's kind of an L for you, and you should have thought about that before being poor. 

Duke has made incredible advancements in our support for students through Duke LIFE, like covering insurance, surgery, housing and other basic biological needs that allow poor students to survive. And through QuadEx, we have finally been able to solve the problem of social self-segregation by abolishing Greek Life once and for all. Since we implemented QuadEx two years ago, all parties on campus have been inclusive and socially and economically diverse. We have also heard resounding success from random roommate pairs who are benefiting from learning from each other’s different backgrounds — richer students are learning what it means to do your own laundry, and poorer students are learning the best places to visit while in Europe over spring break.

At Duke, we are aware of our privilege. We are constantly acknowledging it. All the time, in every conversation, we are acknowledging how privileged we are. As a man who makes a point to lift at least three mattress toppers every year during first-year move-in outside of Trinity, I have routinely put myself in positions where I understand and resonate with the working class struggle. 

While we certainly have more yet to do, I am proud of the many new administrators I have hired with six-figure paychecks whose job it is to figure out how to better spend University resources. As I drive my daily four-minute commute from my house on campus to the Allen Building in my Duke blue Tesla, I see on a daily basis the progress we are making. We have more work to do, and we will continue to do it, but I won’t tell you how we will continue to do it because that would ruin the surprise! We can, we have, and we will do better. 

Following the announcement, Dean of Trinity Bary Gennett announced that the curriculum review committee was strongly considering adding How to Speak to Poor People as a mandatory course for first-years alongside Writing 101. Topics covered will include “how to invite your boatless friends onto your boat without offending them” and “euphemisms for how to say you are related to the Rothschilds.”

Monday Monday is back and a certified Vinny P. translator. We share a tongue, so to speak.


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