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A case against QS

(11/28/23 5:00am)

When students first arrive at Duke, they are bombarded with a plethora of acronyms and academic codes. During class registration letters like CZ, NS and ALP are assigned to various courses on DukeHub. Some students jump into their four-year plan early and decide to knock out some of these requirements. Some of us — myself included — wait until this becomes an unavoidable reality. 

History’s role in race-based affirmative action

(11/01/23 4:00am)

With the striking down of affirmative action over the summer, I had assumed the debate was over. Conservatives won, and Black students — as we often are — were left to grapple with what this new legislation would mean. We came back to Duke and many students moved on with their lives as if nothing had happened. I was hesitant, however. I didn’t know what this meant for my community and as I navigated campus, I constantly wondered who was on “our side." It turns out that this debate on affirmative action is bigger than I could have ever imagined even though the concept is quite simple. Affirmative action policies aim to achieve and maintain racial diversity in higher education and give opportunities to a diverse group of people. What exactly is wrong with that? The era of segregation was not that long ago, and barring Black Americans from schools like Duke did not depend on class but race.

Where's the love for Duke football?

(10/05/23 4:07am)

I am struck by just how much has changed in Coach Mike Elko’s two years with Duke football. We’re bowl game champions. We beat Clemson. ESPN College GameDay came to Durham. We held our own against Notre Dame.  Whether this improvement is due to our beloved Coach Mike Elko, our new recruits, or the team’s passion for the game, it is clear that we are no longer just a basketball school. Duke is becoming a football school too. 

Economic diversity is not enough

(09/22/23 4:00am)

Duke’s lack of economic diversity made national headlines recently when the New York Times released an article titled “Why Does Duke Have So Few Low-Income Students?” A few days later, Duke’s President Vincent Price released a statement attempting to showcase ways that the university supports and encourages low-income students. While the university is doing many things correctly, I would argue — mainly from personal experience — that despite these initiatives, Duke does in fact have a problem with economic diversity. There is no denying that. When students furnish dorms as if they are moving into mini apartments, park Teslas in Blue Zone and across campus, spend large amounts of money on alcohol and Ubers to and from off-campus frat parties and plan costly fall, winter and spring break trips, it is impossible to ignore that this campus oozes wealth. 

STEM students are privileged at Duke

(09/06/23 4:00am)

What picture comes to mind when you think of the stereotypical STEM student? Are they stressed? Do they struggle to balance their workload? Do they procrastinate or do they work hard and play equally as hard? Regardless of what exactly you imagine, I’m pretty sure that privilege was not a part of that image. I’m not talking about the fact that STEM students are overwhelmingly white or Asian and male or the fact that their careers generate higher salaries. I’m talking about the privilege that comes with studying STEM and how the Duke community treats students because of it. 

What it takes to be a Duke student

(03/28/23 4:00am)

I remember telling some people in my dorm last year that “all-nighters are a choice." I was met with shock. This statement became the subject of a debate among the STEM students in Bell Tower, as they held more significant numbers and represented most students in our dorm who worked into the early morning. It was then that I was confronted with a complicated reality: this is normal for Duke students, even if it is not normal for me. Throughout my time at Duke, I have seen firsthand how we as students sacrifice things that are so important to our health. We would rather pull an all-nighter to write a paper than get a good night’s sleep. We would rather skip meals and use our time to study when our brains need that skipped meal to perform properly. Some of us can’t even make time to call our loved ones because we are so focused on work.

An ally's guide to Black History Month

(02/09/23 5:00pm)

To many, Black History Month means commemorating the same three figures (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and maybe Frederick Douglass) and reciting their historical significance. It’s a time for people to bring up hot topics like critical race theory and affirmative action so that they can either position themselves as allies or prove that “they don’t see color." But to others, the month of February means so much more. It is a chance to celebrate the African American community and all of the ways we have contributed to what America is today. This piece is meant to serve as a guide for allies so that they are adequately prepared for ways that they can respectfully celebrate this month with us instead of observing from the sidelines.

A Black student's thoughts on affirmative action

(01/25/23 5:00am)

My grandmother was born two years before Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which declared racial segregation in public schools illegal. Then there’s me, an undergraduate student at the prestigious Duke University, and my sister, who is Ivy bound. With the Supreme Court currently hearing a case that could mean the end of affirmative action, it’s important that people hear from the mouths of students who will be impacted most, students like me.

Being a beginner at Duke

(10/29/22 4:00am)

When I came to Duke as a freshman, I was excited to join clubs and groups that were unavailable to me in high school and experience activities that I had always admired from afar. I eagerly attended the Involvement Fair at the height of what felt like a never-ending heat wave and knew exactly what tables I wanted to visit. Now that I am in my third semester of school, I realize how naive I was. I assumed Duke was a place to try new things and learn about activities I always wanted to explore, and I was wrong.

What's a criminal?

(10/05/22 4:00am)

On Tuesday, September 27, Duke students received an email about a robbery that occurred near the Center for Documentary Studies. The suspect was described as “male, medium-dark skin tone, late ’20s, dreadlocks with a black bandana, black hoodie and blue jeans”. Initially, I felt sympathy for this “victim”, whom I assumed was robbed of some electronic devices, until I received another email a few hours later that said no robbery or theft occurred at all. This student, I learned, reported the theft of a car—something much more valuable and difficult to steal than a MacBook or iPhone—went to great lengths to describe the young Black man who allegedly stole it and preyed on the fear of Durham that many students on campus still hold (a fear that is quite frankly amusing considering how removed Duke is from the Durham community). Then they made a conscious choice to weaponize the inherent fear of Black men that our society holds close.

What's so special about peanuts?

(09/22/22 4:00am)

One day at WU, I walked downstairs to order my go-to meal from Panera: the Fuji apple salad with chicken. However, when I opened it up, I realized that the pecans, a staple of the dish, were missing.  After a brief moment of confusion, I remembered that this was due to Duke’s transition to a nut-free campus. A few days later, I noticed that Duke had also gotten rid of almond milk and replaced it with soy milk. It sounds trivial, but I wasn’t just disappointed with my salad or the fact that I now have to go off campus to find almond milk. I was disappointed that Duke, like many others, has begun to follow the pattern of prioritizing people with nut allergies over those who have allergic reactions to other foods.

Stop disrespecting our bus drivers

(09/15/22 4:00am)

It’s understandable that some students may find Duke’s masking policy a bit frustrating. Rushing to catch the C1 only to realize you forgot your mask in your dorm room is a feeling many of us know all too well. More often than not, a little self-compassion and generosity from a fellow Blue Devil are usually all you need to get yourself back on track. This isn’t always the case though. Sometimes no one has an extra mask to offer, you refuse to use the discarded mask on the ground, and the bus driver does not accept a scarf held over your mouth, and students can either choose to accept the loss or put up a fight with the bus driver who is just trying to do their job.