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As the campus quiets under a swell of Southern summer heat, the packed library tables and stacks of flashcards signal that another year has come to an end. During this hectic time, it seems that the ability to truly reflect upon the happenings of the past academic year become muted amongst the feverish pressure to both study for finals and pack up for the summer. Yet, as Duke concludes its 92nd academic cycle, it is important to look back at some of the noteworthy occurrences that made the 2016-2017 year memorable for the Duke community.
In his last days in office, President Brodhead has elected to bequeath all funds raised in the Duke Forward capital campaign to The Chronicle’s Editorial Board. After agonizing over a long list of potential improvements that this obscene amount of money should go toward, we decided on five proposals. For the sake of transparency, here are the ways we will be spending those $3.25 billion dollars:
Around this time last year, the Harvard Crimson ran a shocking ad during accepted students weekend that caught the attention of the student body and the country. The advert started off congratulating the new class then quickly transitioned into harrowing, but all-too-familiar campus sexual assault statistics. This was only a small part of larger, ongoing discussion of rape culture at places like Duke and Harvard that can seem repetitive at times. However, it is precisely the continued need for tireless repetition that warrants analysis.
Yesterday, thousands gathered in
Washington D.C as well as other satellite sites to participate
in the highly publicized March for Science. The collective effort was inspired
in part by the Women’s March in January and served as a response to Trump’s
recent actions against the scientific community such as the controversial
to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as the administration’s censorship
of the EPA and USDA. However, the movement quickly generated controversy
even from members within the scientific community out of the fear that science
would become trivialized and ingrained within the “culture wars” and ultimately lose
the authority it currently possesses.
Last Friday, rapper Kendrick Lamar released “Damn.”, his highly anticipated fourth studio album. This new work possesses a politically-charged tone similar to his previous album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, which was a potent vehicle for the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement. It made headlines after Lamar’s powerful and controversial performance at the Grammy’s, where it won five of the eleven awards it was nominated for. In a Rolling Stone article reviewing “Damn.”, the magazine declared that “To Pimp a Butterfly” is an album that “will likely go down as the defining reflection of the America that spawned #BlackLivesMatter, in the same way Pablo Picasso's Guernica stands as the defining reflection of the Spanish Civil War.” However, critics such as Geraldo Rivera, a Fox News host, have been less receptive to the messages embedded in Kendrick Lamar’s art. On the songs “DNA.” and “BLOOD.”, Kendrick sampled some controversial sentiments that Rivera expressed during a Fox News panel in 2015. In this segment Rivera claims, “hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.” This assertion is clearly audacious and incorrect, but it’s important to further analyze how comments like this are extensions of other historically racist views. Non-Black Duke students should also strive to understand the significance of hip-hop as an art for the Black community and be aware of how they interact with these albums and their messages.
The end of second semester is always a busy time of year. Between studying for exams, finishing up final projects and getting ready for LDOC, everyone on campus is bustling about in preparation for the summer. For professors in the non-regular rank faculty union that formed last spring, the end of the term also represents one of the final rounds of bargaining on contract negotiations for this year. Although the unionization vote got a fair amount of press coverage, most undergraduates still fail to understand what exactly these negotiations represent. The ongoing discussions have been about numerous things, but at the core, they have been centered around better wages and job security.
Recently, The Harvard Crimson provided a lens into the experiences of underrepresented minorities in Harvard faculty positions, framing the narratives with that of their first female tenured faculty member in the physics department, Melissa E. B. Franklin. In the 24 years since the appointment of Franklin, Harvard’s exclusively white, male professorial past has been seemingly forgotten. While Harvard has made great strides in their recruitment of diverse faculty members, the persisting imbalance of representation in their faculty demonstrates that there is more work left to be done. Our own University shares these concerns. Though we are comparable to the other universities in the Association of American Universities in terms of our faculty diversity, we still struggle with the recruitment and retention of faculty from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. As an institution founded on a “deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential,” we should push ourselves to recruit and retain diverse faculty.
The past week has been a particularly visible one for religious life at Duke. Between the pastel colored church attire out in full force for Easter Sunday Mass and the more vibrant colors that caked clothes and smiling faces on the Clock Tower Quad for the celebration of Holi, it was nearly impossible to go without noticing some form of religious observance on campus. To one of the many visiting prospective students last weekend, that might have signaled evidence of Duke living up to its promise of promoting freedom of religious expression and housing a diverse range of religious practices. But beneath the surface, life on campus for students of certain religions is more complicated.
After a protest last Thursday on Abele Quad and a
petition circulated by the Duke Graduate Student Union, both of which were
incited by Duke’s revocation of complimentary gym access privileges for fourth
and fifth-year graduate students, the Duke University administration has
recently reinstated free
gym access for doctoral students in their first five years. Separately, the
administration also announced a package of other benefits: a lengthening of the
accommodation period for primary and non-primary caregivers following birth and
adoption and the opening of supplementary TA and RA roles to the graduate student
population. The Editorial Board applauds this positive development and looks
forward to seeing the University further expand benefits for graduate
Today, we extend a sincere welcome to the hundreds of prospective students on campus who are currently scouring the great expanse of our beloved Gothic Wonderland for Blue Devil Days. Deciding where to matriculate and spend the next four years of one’s life can be understandably a daunting task for many visitors currently on campus. To help the many visitors on campus as they undergo this momentous decision-making process, we present glimpses of “quintessential” experiences of our ever-changing, ever-growing school.
Following a violent incident involving an airline passenger being forced off a plane earlier this week, United Airlines is in the midst of a media scandal that has since cost the company nearly a billion dollars in the market value. Cell phone videos of Dr. David Dao, the victim of United Airlines’ excessive brutality, being dragged down the aisle with a bloodied face have since gone viral. In response, to protest the incident, United Airlines customers vented on social media, vowing to never fly United while publicly disposing of their airline reward cards. Overall, this unsettling incident, and incidents like it, serve as examples and reasons to carefully consider the actions of the companies whose products and services we consume.
Those on west campus last weekend, probably noticed it was jam-packed with more activities than normal. The older crowds clutching Duke Store bags signaled that Alumni Weekend events were in full swing. The brightly colored garb and dancing on main quad drew people milling around in the balmy April weather into a powwow hosted by the Native American Student Alliance. And, to the point of today’s editorial, one of Duke’s premier theatrical productions, All of the Above, performed on East Campus in White Lecture Hall. All of the Above is an annual performance of monologues about the multifaceted experience of being female at Duke, written and acted out by female students.
At around the time this editorial is published, 50 percent of the first-year class will wake up, frantically click mice for a few seconds, either smile or sigh and then roll back into bed. That, of course, can only mean one thing: registration season is upon us. Students are rushing to schedule meetings with advisers, plot out contingency plans for next semester’s classes and find ways to fill out elusive Trinity requirements before graduation. Many of them have likely recently remembered that although the dawn of a new semester can be exciting, registration on DukeHub/ACES — the window to the future— can be unnecessarily frustrating. Although the service was recently revamped, there are still parts of it that need work. With their correction, registration could be a time of year students look forward to with enthusiasm, rather than a time characterized by the strenuous process of digging through classes blindly and hoping for the best.
This past weekend, hundreds of Duke alumni ranging from the Class of 2012 all the way back to the Class of 1967 converged on campus for their respective class reunions. They encountered a university that has evolved more than just physically since their graduation. Walking through the newly renovated West Union, they would have seen countless faces of color—Asian, black, Hispanic and interracial students—among the mosaic of people gathered to dine and converse within the building. This might not have been the case during their time at Duke.
On Tuesday, the NCAA ended its boycott of North Carolina after the repeal of House Bill 2, the “bathroom bill” that pushed North Carolina into the national spotlight last year. The notorious bill has been replaced by a harshly-criticized compromise bill—which removes the infamous bathroom regulation but places a moratorium on local nondiscrimination ordinances until late 2020, effectively maintaining House Bill 2’s original prohibition of said ordinances. Today, we examine the political tradeoff made by Governor Roy Cooper who was elected to his position by a slim margin, in large part, by his campaign promise to repeal House Bill 2.
Last week, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions finally released the regular decision acceptances for Duke’s Class of 2021. In total, out of the 31,000 applicants to Duke in the regular decision round, a mere 2,255 were offered spots to matriculate at the university. Factoring in the number of applicants and matriculants from the early decision round last December, Duke’s aggregate acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 stands at about nine percent, a significant decrease from the acceptance rate of the previous class.
On Sunday, the Editorial Board interviewed President Brodhead; for the past two days, we have reflected on his history at Duke, mulling over the roses and thorns of his legacy. Today we shift gears and use the interview to look forward on the university-time continuum to when Brodhead steps down and his successor, current University of Pennsylvania Provost Vincent Price, takes over.
On Sunday, the Editorial Board had the privilege of interviewing President Richard Brodhead in his final year at Duke University. Yesterday we wrote positively about his history and philosophical legacy at Duke. Today we turn to discussing one of the thornier problems that has remained unresolved during his presidency: campus sexual assault.
On Sunday, the Editorial Board held an hour-long interview with President Richard Brodhead. Over the next three days, we will use his responses as a lens to examine three topics: Brodhead’s tenure and legacy at Duke, problems at Duke under Brodhead and the future of Duke after Brodhead’s retirement. Today, we begin the arc by discussing his tenure, history and legacy at Duke.
Yesterday, we highlighted the importance of the Black Student Alliance Invitational. However, a single weekend event cannot create a sustainable, welcoming campus for students of all different communities. Ultimately we must strive daily to ensure that the picture we paint for students during recruitment becomes the image in which they find themselves during their time on campus. While recent efforts have sought to counteract instances of hate and bias with varying success, there is still much to be done to ensure that students who differ from the majority at Duke on the basis of race, socioeconomic status, family educational status or country of origin can take full advantage of the opportunities Duke affords.