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The price of extravagance

(02/23/17 5:25am)

The middle of February brings with it the usual flurry of students pressured to complete midterm assignments and study for exams. Added to seemingly overwhelming academic concerns, however, is the struggle to micromanage a quickly-depleting stockpile of food points. Of course, some upperclassmen on campus boast surpluses of food points, conducive to sharing with others, but for many students, especially those on financial aid, food insecurity may start to feel like a reality in the middle of the semester. With the lack of alternative eating options and increases in dining costs, many students may find themselves compromising on regular meals to avoid running out of food points.

Don't talk dirty to me

(02/22/17 6:50am)

In our last editorial, we revisited the treatment of Duke student Miriam Weeks, whose porn identity caused a scandal in 2014 and has recently inspired a Lifetime movie. Today, we turn to examining perspectives of sex and morality on campus and how they are discussed. Sex is often a taboo subject on its own; mixed with morality and judgment, it can easily become a dangerous and awkward topic.

Belle Knox revisited

(02/21/17 6:19am)

With the release of a new Lifetime movie centering around the dramatized life of Miriam Weeks, better known as the Duke porn actress, Belle Knox, conversation over the 2014 scandal has been stirring on campus. When Weeks was outed by a classmate during her freshman year, the story was picked up by local and national outlets alike. The idea of a young college student at an elite, prestigious university paying off tuition by starring in adult films caught the attention of the country and pulled her into a firestorm of debates over sexuality, morals and gender. Three years after the affair, exiting seniors are the only students left with direct memory of Weeks and her controversy. But with the story back in the news and now on TV in film format, now is a good moment to reflect on the response of students at the time to Weeks and how they and we deal with deviations from the student norm on campus.

A regrettable case

(02/20/17 7:00am)

Last Wednesday, a superior court judge issued an injunction against Duke University allowing Ciaran McKenna, a men’s soccer player suspended six semesters for allegedly sexually assaulting a fellow student, to remain on campus as a student for the duration of his lawsuit against Duke and Dean of Student Conduct Stephen Bryan. This is the latest development in yet another case highlighting issues surrounding sexual assault on campus as well as the ethicality of private university student conduct policies.

​An American past, a global present

(02/17/17 5:34am)

Earlier this week, an article published in The Chronicle highlighted a report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the subsequent debates regarding the relevance of American history in college curriculums throughout the country. The report, titled “No U.S. History? How College History Departments Leave the United States out of the Major,” stresses that 53 out of the 76 collegiate institutions surveyed—Duke included—do not require undergraduate history majors to take a course relating to U.S history. According to the report, the lack of a U.S history requirement is both dangerous to higher education and leads to a “vicious circle of historical illiteracy and the civic illiteracy that accompanies it.”

A Forgotten Flint

(02/16/17 2:54pm)

It has been more than a thousand days since the residents of Flint, Michigan could drink their tap water without a filter. After the city’s switch to a new water source in 2014, thousands of residents were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead, causing health problems and potentially permanent neurological damage in adults and children. Since then, the city has undertaken the replacement of its aging lead pipes, and public officials involved have been criminally charged for neglecting and covering up the crisis.

​Thou shalt not take thy neighbor as a lesson

(02/15/17 6:32am)

Earlier this month, The Huffington Post published a contributor piece shared on social media as “I was afraid of Muslims until I started dating one.” In it, the author describes her transformation from being born and bred to fear Muslim men and society to her growing realization—after she began dating a Muslim man—that not everything was as she expected it to be. While her journey turned out positively, it was nonetheless reductive. Today we argue that allyship must not depend on personal and familiar connections, but must come from a place that is deeper in recognizing the common threads that connect struggles against marginalization.

​Vote Soto for Young Trustee

(02/13/17 5:09am)

Starting tomorrow, undergraduate students will be tasked with selecting a new Young Trustee. The stated role of the Young Trustee is to serve as a steward of the University, a caretaker of the University’s long-term development and health. Beyond that, the Editorial Board sees the Young Trustee to be someone to whom students can voice concerns that may lie in the blind spots of other members of the Board of Trustees. Each candidate is extraordinarily qualified and has a lot to offer, but only one fully fits into our vision of the role.

A right to speak

(02/10/17 6:49am)

Earlier this week we tackled the line between legitimate protest and counterproductive violence in the wake of protests at the University of California at Berkeley, which turned violent in objection to speaker Milo Yiannopoulos’s visit. Today we turn our attention to a different line, exploring what it means to invite a speaker to a campus and whether the platform doing so provides can ever be apolitical.

​Blurring a line

(02/09/17 5:26am)

Nearly a week ago, at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump, in his characteristic speaking style, promised to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a perplexing declaration considering the existence of little-to-no mainstream political debate on the amendment. This Lyndon B. Johnson-era law limits the capacity of Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from donating to political campaigns. While a variety of organizations fall under the purview of this law–from science and literacy nonprofits to charitable and educational groups–most notable are the religious organizations the law restricts. Because of the Johnson Amendment, religious officials are prohibited from directly collecting contributions for politicians although they can still participate in politics in other ways like holding voter registration drives or publishing pamphlets detailing candidates. Vitalizing a national discussion about this amendment in this current political climate serves more as a symbolic attack on both the separation of church and state and the criticism of involving money in politics.

You too need 'Me too'

(02/08/17 4:28am)

This weekend, hundreds of students will make a rare visit to the Nelson Music Room in search of something they do not often find in the day-to-day grind of studying, testing, rinsing and repeating: a deeply emotional experience—a two-hour period where they will witness the portrayal of pain, grief, embarrassment and love, and in the process undergo their own catharsis while learning how to better understand their peers. They will be audience to the newest edition of the Me Too Monologues, a series of anonymous confessional monologues designed to communicate the struggles and identities of Duke students, faculty and alumni in order to promote empathy and understanding. We wrote last year that the Me Too Monologues, while admirable and worth seeing, ought not to be seen as a one-off exchange of time for emotional inoculation and social capital, but rather as a springboard towards emotional advancement. Today, we repeat that message and explain why the Monologues and what they have to offer are valuable here at Duke.

A collegiate condemnation

(02/07/17 7:01am)

President Brodhead recently co-signed a collaborative statement together with the leaders of 47 other American universities condemning Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration. The letter, drafted primarily by Princeton President Eisgruber and the University of Pennsylvania President Gutmann, denounces Trump’s order as both detrimental to American academia and “inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions.” Along with that censure, the statement ends with a strong recommendation by the 48 university leaders for President Trump “to rectify the damage done by this order.”

No alt treatment for the alt-right

(02/06/17 4:19am)

Last Wednesday, a fiery pother erupted on the University of California, Berkeley’s campus in response to the planned appearance of the inflammatory conservative editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Angry that Yiannopoulos had been allowed on campus, masked agitators infiltrated a protest against his speech and turned it violent, throwing rocks at police and breaking windows in what was deemed by the Berkeley College Republicans—the group that invited Yiannopoulos—as the killing of free speech. The ordeal was shameful for all parties involved, but especially for liberals trying to regain respect after devastating electoral losses last November.

​Lessons from Dr. Seuss

(02/03/17 7:09am)

Theodor Seuss Geisel was an Aesop for the 20th-century, writing more than 60 children’s books that have sold hundreds of millions of copies and made their way into the nighttime readings of countless children around the world. Caught today in a world struggling to keep up with never-ending stories of hate, we look to a few of Dr. Seuss’s more pointed stories in the hopes of gleaning such insights as might rekindle the spirits of those who need fresh hope.

​A falsified past, an unchanged present

(02/02/17 6:52am)

Sixty years after the brutal murder of Emmett Till, Duke researcher Timothy Tyson surfaced new testimony from the woman—Carolyn Bryant—who sealed the fate of a 14-year-old schoolboy in Mississippi. Tyson reveals what most people had speculated all along: she had fabricated the entire accusation that Till had sexually assaulted her. Her words alone were enough to incite rage against Till, who was shortly thereafter abducted and murdered at the hands of Bryant’s husband and half brother.

A check against the Trump card

(01/31/17 5:23am)

In yesterday’s editorial, we denounced President Donald Trump’s discriminatory and inhumane refugee ban. The ban, though, is just one of Trump’s many recent executive orders that have flooded the news over the past week to the point that many of us are confused and overwhelmed. As such, today we turn to examining our supposed checks and balances system, whether/how it has failed and how the common person can check the Trump administration.

A demagogue's border policy

(01/30/17 2:04pm)

Last Friday, President Donald Trump announced an executive order to overhaul our nation’s immigration system. Included within Trump’s order was a “temporary” ban on all immigration from Syria and a number of predominantly Muslim countries, as well as impediments that prevent green card-holding American residents abroad in those countries from coming back to America. Trump’s order is part of his wider executive plan to mitigate the threats of radical Islamist terrorism; while that goal is respectable enough, the first step he has taken to achieve it is reprehensible and un-American.

​Our dangerous, silent acceptance

(01/27/17 6:59am)

Earlier this week, members of the Interfraternity Council conferred bids to potential new members, culminating the anxiety-ridden recruitment process and ushering in the infamous pledging period--a prerequisite for initiation into fraternity brotherhood. For first-years and sophomores seeking the approval of their new affiliated groups and for others in the Duke community, it is no secret that for many of the IFC fraternities, pledging is synonymous with hazing of new members. Officially, the IFC leadership, fraternities and other students on campus deny the ubiquity of new-member hazing. Unofficially, however, our community recognizes and tacitly accepts hazing rituals that precede fraternity initiations.