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To the end of complacency

(04/21/05 4:00am)

I suppose that the farewell columns we seniors are asked to write should highlight the “big lessons” of our four years here. Big things like, “get to know your professors” or “branch out of your comfortable social circles.” If you can’t figure these things out on your own, I doubt a column is going to help you. I imagine there is a huge number of students on this campus who will have wasted four years of what should be an incredibly edifying, formative, and transformative experience. A rehashing of the “big lessons” is not going to change that fact.

Sorry, everybody

(12/02/04 5:00am)

The latest link popping up on Instant Messenger profiles is the comical yet sincere site Thousands of Americans have posted pictures expressing their apologies for the outcome of the November election. A companion site,, already boasts over 1,000 foreigners accepting our heartfelt acts of contrition.

Weekend security for nothing

(10/26/04 4:00am)

For all the ballyhoo leading up to the Palestine Solidarity Movement conference, I was quite disappointed with this past weekend’s lackluster protests. Where were the flying bricks? Even a hint of activist life on this campus (from Duke students, not flown-in protesters)? Considering the security measures in place and the money spent to protect participants and passers-by alike, I expected a lot more fun.

Bomb the Middle East

(09/09/04 4:00am)

And by the Middle East, I mean Israel and Palestine. How long is this foul conflict going to last? Does anyone else ever ask this question? Since the creation of Israel in 1948, the region has been plagued by wars, sieges, intifadas, occupations and [insert politically-charged term here]—not to mention the history of “tension” in pre-modern-day Israel. These tensions have inundated academia—supposedly a bastion of critical thinking and reflection—in dumbfounding ways.

The Duke of New

(08/26/04 4:00am)

Gone are the days of keg stands on the quad. Nowadays, house parties off East Campus reign supreme. Gone are the days of fraternity sections’ undemocratic dominance of prime real estate on West Campus. All sophomores now take up residence in linked quads. Gone are the days of Duke’s reputation as a provincial institution. There’s now more truth to the Harvard of the South T-shirts. Under Nan’s tenure, Duke has become a world-class university for research and learning, and arguably the two undergraduate colleges have benefited most from this dramatic transformation.

Got $25,000?

(01/08/04 5:00am)

Ah, the irony at Duke University. The cover story of the September-October 2003 issue of the Duke Magazine, "Discourse on Discrimination," offered a series of insightful interviews with undergraduates about affirmative action in the light of recent Supreme Court decisions. A few pages later, I noticed another plug for the Duke Annual Fund. But this plug was different. It listed all the major donors and their affiliations with the University.

Column: Party Rape and Effortless Perfection

(11/13/03 5:00am)

Just like any other responsible Duke student, I read the Women's Initiative report as soon as it was released. And just like many other Duke students, I was intrigued by this notion of "effortless perfection." In the executive summary of the report, a short but fascinating finding is glossed over: "Fraternities and sororities play a prominent role in enforcing social norms." Keohane, Roth, et al., should be commended for their ingenious conclusions!

Column: Is the drug war on crack?

(09/04/03 4:00am)

The only reason I read the crime briefs section of The Chronicle is to learn even more synonyms for the word 'stolen.' This summer while I was perusing The Chronicle Online, one section of the crime briefs stood out from the pilfered laptops and lifted wallets. A student on West Campus was apparently duped into handing over all of his money ($3000) and drugs by local men impersonating police officers. The three men returned later and demanded "more money, drugs or names of other drug dealers."

Column: STD testing: Too costly for Duke?

(04/11/03 4:00am)

How many of us have free condoms in our dressers from the Healthy Devil Peer Education Program? Peer educators, in addition to passing out free condoms, educate the campus about issues of sexual health. The coordinator, Ray Rodriguez, gives an informative, humorous and rather famous presentation on safer sex and STD testing to classes, greek groups and other student organizations. Rodriguez encourages students to seek STD testing if students are concerned with their sexual behaviors. In fact, Healthy Devil Online promotes screening for HIV and chlamydia for "sexually active people who have had more than one partner, or whose partner has had more than one partner..."

Commentary: Carolina Blue

(02/20/03 5:00am)

After six weeks of infiltration in Chapel Hill, I long to paint my hot naked body in a shade of blue only Blue Devils appreciate. "The only true blue is sky blue" is a phrase that becomes too familiar at UNC. Despite widespread symptoms of color blindness, Carolina has more to offer than Top of the Hill and Halloween decadence. In my first six weeks at the other end of Tobacco Road, I've become increasingly surprised by the somewhat drastic differences between the two rival schools. On several accounts, Carolina takes the cake.

Column: What's in that bottle?

(11/21/02 5:00am)

I fondly remember my introduction to fraternity parties on a hot September night freshman year. A bunch of us bright-eyed freshmen, hundreds of us. excitedly boarded the bus with alcohol fresh on our breath. We traversed West Campus from frat party to frat party, reveling in the minimal amount of alcohol we managed to find from sympathetic frat brothers. This became the routine for the first months of school.

Column: Being honest with p-frosh?

(10/24/02 4:00am)

When you were considering Duke as a high school senior, did you know about security issues, community strife and over-zealous meter maids? This past weekend, I was on a "first-year residential life" panel with other undergraduates in front of North and South Carolinia prospective students. The audience asked questions about FOCUS, East Campus living, move-in day, coed dorms and orientation. Those were pretty easy.

Column: Coming out to debate homosexuality

(09/26/02 4:00am)

Much of the campus discourse about sexual minority issues is meant to provoke. Such discourse is heating up again as this year's Coming Out Week sparks conversation and spurs new controversy about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. Certainly there is talk concerning gay stereotypes, funding for the LGBT groups, the "gay lifestyle" and gay politics. Unfortunately, most of this discussion calls forth an emotional response rather than an intellectual debate on issues of sexuality at Duke and in general.