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Film room: Analyzing Duke men's basketball center Mark Williams

(07/10/20 2:46am)

Another year, another new crop of men's basketball players coming to Durham. In this series, we will analyze film on each of Duke’s signees and transfers for the 2020-21 season. Previous film rooms include Jalen Johnson, DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach. Let’s continue with the next man up to grace a Blue Devil uniform as a dominant inside presence, Mark Williams:

Facebook is the new tobacco

(07/13/20 4:00am)

As the global movement against racial injustice precipitated by George Floyd’s brutal killing continues unabated this summer, Duke students have begun the arduous and necessary task of mobilizing, reading and unlearning racist superstructures required to convert the intensity of the current environment into a lasting anti-racist movement. The horrific scenes of police brutality strung out on the screens of every American last month were no different than abuses of years past, but after watching the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of moral depravity that occurred in Minneapolis, America’s galvanization out of its collective stupor seemed only natural, if not totally unsurprising.

Don’t distort the present in reckoning with the past

(07/13/20 8:00pm)

In the Chronicle’s recent guest column, “Who trusts a tobacco-stained university in a pandemic?" Petronis and Meyerhoff advocate for a reckoning with Duke’s past and its relationships with the tobacco industry. Indeed, it is important for all of society to come to a reckoning with the history of interactions with the tobacco industry, an industry that has had a history of concealing the truth about the dangers of cigarette smoking. In emphasizing the distant past, however, the authors unfortunately ignore key developments in the recent past as well as in the evolving present. Since the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, it has been impossible for tobacco companies to hide secret documents or conduct a misinformation campaign regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking. Moreover, the law acknowledges the vital role the industry must play in developing innovative products that reduce the dangers of combustible cigarettes. The products of combustion, not the addictive constituent nicotine, cause the overwhelming majority of smoking related death and disease.  Nicotine can be provided in the absence of smoke, and recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the marketing of a smokeless tobacco product (“snus”) that delivers nicotine while eliminating almost all of the toxins of cigarette smoke. In reviewing voluminous evidence, the FDA concluded the product is substantially less harmful than traditional cigarettes, and that its marketing is consistent with the protection of public health. Another product, iQOS, uses “heat-not-burn” technology, which eliminates most of the toxic byproducts of burning tobacco, and has also been authorized for sale in the U.S. Just today (July 7) the FDA officially announced that exclusive use of this product significantly reduces exposure to the toxins generated by burning cigarettes. Just as the auto industry of the 1960s resisted making safety improvements such as seat belts, but eventually was instrumental in developing technologies to improve auto safety, so must tobacco companies now play an active role in developing technologies that reduce the harms of cigarette smoking. This living present must be taken into account in any rational analysis of the relationship between universities and the tobacco industry.

In solidarity with international students

(07/08/20 4:00am)

The past few months have been exhausting, especially for Black students across America. At Duke, we have received multiple emails regarding the university’s solidarity with Black students, which have included actionable plans to support us as we continue to be a part of this community. Despite these gestures of support being long overdue, we acknowledge them. In conjunction with these mechanisms of support and in solidarity with Black students, we as DukeAfrica executive members demand Duke release a statement of action regarding the recent news from the U.S Immigration and Customs modifications to temporarily exempt non-immigrant international students from taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester. We encourage all students, alumni and faculty to reach out to Mr. Chris Simmons, Associate Vice President of Government Relations at Duke University, to raise their concerns regarding the recent news, and demand Duke push back while offering actionable and transparent steps regarding their efforts against these racist police institutions. 

The more things change...

(07/08/20 4:00am)

On June 16, 2020. Duke’s Black students, faculty and staff spoke out about racism at the university during an all-day event called “Living While Black.” Held by videoconference, more than 6300 members of the Duke community attended. Soon thereafter, Duke president Vincent Price committed the university to taking “transformative action now toward eliminating the systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the lived experiences of too many members of the Duke community.” He acknowledged that Duke had “often not fully embraced” its mission “to be agents of progress in advancing racial equity and justice.” Price outlined a series of bold and specific actions that would “resolutely turn [Duke’s] attention toward the mission of anti-racism." Although addressing issues that had confronted the university since the Sixties, Price’s words conveyed new urgency in both tone and substance.

'We can make a legitimate change': Duke students join protests against racism and police brutality

(07/06/20 4:04am)

The evening of May 30, sophomore Bethlehem Ferede saw tear gas float toward a crowd of protesters in Raleigh. It looked like a cloud of smoke, she said. But smoke wouldn’t account for what came next: the “blood-curdling” screams of people inhaling the gas.