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The new era, one year in

(04/26/05 4:00am)

The synchronized arrival of Richard Brodhead, a host of Ivy League ex-pats and several new buildings heralded a New Era for Duke. With the first year in the books, it’s time to take a look back at what was accomplished, what was surprising and what expectations might need to be reconsidered as the University presses—slowly, it turns out—into uncharted territory.

My Duke pride

(04/05/05 4:00am)

Hate to admit it, but I’ve never been much of a Duke basketball fan. I started hating the Blue Devils around the time they met my Arkansas Razorbacks in the 1994 men’s championship game (and—ahem, Scotty Thurman—lost). Matriculating at Duke meant I had to lose the hate, and I did, but being a sports fan is serious business to me. I like to see the team do well, but can’t artificially manufacture that diehard love I have for the Hogs.

Tenure needs fixing

(03/22/05 5:00am)

There sits today at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock a bright young scholar. She obtained her doctorate from Harvard and produced a well received dissertation. Her research at UALR has been stellar and her teaching has been inspiring. She’s happy enough at UALR but sometimes wonders what it would be like to teach at an Ivy League or comparable institution. So far, they aren’t calling.

Amiably mediocre

(03/08/05 5:00am)

There’s a lot of brilliance among Duke’s undergraduates. But you’d never know that from looking at our dominant culture. In my four years at Duke, I have been struck by the amiable mediocrity that pervades undergraduate public discourse and self-presentation. Where are the obnoxious standouts, who have the guts to visibly provoke us and question our community norms?

Paging Eddie Hull

(03/01/05 5:00am)

For the past few years, an unspoken sentiment has surfaced on the pages of The Chronicle, at the meetings of student government organizations and in countless conversations across campus. Let’s come right out and say it: Housing at Duke is a mess. This condition has little to do with the nature of housing, even less to do with the fantastic staff of Residence Life and Housing Services and a great deal to do with the leadership style of RLHS Dean Eddie Hull.

Sticking up for the big guy

(02/22/05 5:00am)

There is a lot of anger about wealth among Duke students. We tend to scorn the practice of admitting students based on legacy and financial donations. Some of our poorest financial aid students can get rueful when rich peers make personal finance gaffes. Rich students can be oblivious and insensitive to others’ constraints, and often get irritated when their less well-off friends can’t keep up with the price of social life.

Know when to hold 'em...

(01/18/05 5:00am)

Once in a very great while, senior administrators will backtrack on a bad decision or policy. Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta opted not to proceed with construction of his West Campus plaza this summer, an embarrassing retreat but the right decision nonetheless. Last year, former Arts and Sciences chief William Chafe quietly began the process of shrinking the faculty after a decade of growth. It now appears Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst is sticking it to ARAMARK Corp. after years of poor results.

Down with Jon Stewart

(11/08/04 5:00am)

Like many seniors, I was mildly disappointed with the announcement of Chilean President Ricardo Lagos as our commencement speaker. By most accounts he is a courageous, intelligent advocate for democracy. But both William Safire and Antonin Scalia are extremely compelling, possess more name recognition and would be more eagerly anticipated by students. Lagos is not a bad choice, but no one seems too revved up about him—and that’s too bad.

The case for Kerry

(11/02/04 5:00am)

It’s a peculiar science, the study of what makes a good President. Some of our brightest, like Jimmy Carter, have struggled mightily when thrust into the highest office. Some of our least educated, like Harry Truman, have etched new definitions of heroism into our collective consciousness.

The best part of Duke

(10/19/04 4:00am)

When I first arrived at Duke in August 2001, I expected a strong showing from the latter half of the “work hard, play hard” maxim: beer, frat parties and boisterous basketball games. By contrast, I braced myself for academic disappointment after an incredibly rich classroom experience at Phillips Exeter Academy.