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​Pot: why not?

(10/27/16 5:49am)

To legalize or not to legalize recreational marijuana: lawmakers across the country have been contemplating this polarizing issue for years. While no national consensus has been reached, on November 8, voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Arizona will be casting ballots to answer this question for themselves. Regrettably, missing from the list of states is North Carolina, and as voters in the state go to the polls this election, the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana should be an issue on everyone’s minds. The time to legalize marijuana in our state is now.

Where lies the truth?

(10/26/16 2:45pm)

Doom. Doom. Doom. The truth is gone, the lines are blurred, the lies prevail. Politics may never recover. So sayeth the crowd of commentators who have declared that we now live in a “post-truth” world—a state of politics and discourse in which people and politicians stake out claims grounded in their own subjective versions of facts, ignoring any semblance of objective reality.

Money for nothing?

(10/25/16 4:29am)

Last Friday, hundreds of students flocked to the Washington Duke Inn to attend an annual celebration of scholarships and fellowships. In the glitz of the fête, students were seated next to the individual donors that, in many cases, made it possible for them to attend Duke. Permeating the night was a not-so-subtle intimation: Duke gives, and for Duke to give, it needs to receive.

Putting the Duke in DKU

(10/24/16 4:25am)

Last Thursday, the university’s Academic Council met to discuss the beginnings of the launch of a full, four-year undergraduate degree program at Duke Kunshan University. Now in its third year, DKU currently only offers a semester-long undergraduate program and a few master’s degree programs. While there is no question that there is much room for DKU to grow, the plan to develop and introduce an entire undergraduate program for it recalls painful memories of all the setbacks DKU suffered at its beginning. Still, it promises a noble impact for DKU: empowering Kunshan to be a Chinese center of knowledge driven by a liberal arts-style education and top quality resources.

​Drawing the line

(10/21/16 4:28am)

Yesterday, following the discovery of hate speech spray-painted across the East Campus Bridge, we emphasized our campus’s complicity in promoting a culture in which some among us feel comfortable utilizing hate speech. Today, we scrutinize hate speech to characterize the types of derogatory and problematic speech we should actively push against. We evaluate potentially hateful speech on the basis of content, intent and context, noting that the intersections of these criteria often confound the differences between hate speech and appropriate self expression. Recognizing this, we caution students not to toe the line we draw since gray areas can still prove to be offensive.

Our silence speaks volumes

(10/20/16 10:04pm)

On Sunday, racial, homophobic and anti-semitic slurs were found spray-painted under the East Campus Bridge where Duke’s NAACP, Mi Gente and the Asian Student Alliance planned to host an event. In light of the exhausting regularity with which these hate-driven actions occur, as students, we cannot remain complicit in our approach to hate speech. Today, we urge our community to reject our complacency and push against problematic speech.

Why not teach for America?

(10/19/16 4:42am)

Today marks the third deadline for this recruiting season of the popular Teach for America program. A brainchild of a Princeton senior’s 1989 undergraduate thesis, the non-profit organization has been selecting recent college graduates to serve two year as teachers in low income communities since 1990. In 2011, 53 Duke students were accepted into the program, which was the fourth highest of any mid-sized institution that year. As recently as 2014, Duke was still listed by the organization as a top ten contributing mid-sized university, and in 2015, TFA was noted as one of the top five employers of graduating Duke seniors. In light of the popularity of TFA on campus, we evaluate the shortcomings of the program and urge students to be critical of their decision to apply.

​Integrating acceleration

(10/18/16 4:15am)

Last Thursday, the Arts and Science Council considered the expansion of accelerated master’s degree programs at Duke. Currently, the University offers such programs in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Pratt School of Engineering. Among the proposed new programs are a master’s programs in global health and public policy. Eight other graduate units have expressed interest in accelerated degree programs. We hope to see accelerated master’s degrees brought to fruition, but believe that the current proposal for them must be slightly altered.

​The Oscar for best campaign goes to...

(10/17/16 4:37am)

This past week, both Michelle Kwan and Jason Collins visited Duke University to garner support for democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. They are among a plethora of celebrities who have spoken publicly in favor of either major party candidate. The approach of Election Day merits consideration of the impact the “celebrity factor” has on modern day elections—a topic more relevant this cycle, as one of our candidates is indeed a celebrity himself.

Correcting for Columbus

(10/14/16 4:02am)

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Hundreds of years later, children, schools and states celebrate the violence, genocide and imperialism that followed his arrival in the Americas. Returning to campus, many students likely passed through their four-day fall break without a second thought for the Columbus Day holiday that falls in the middle of it every year. Established in 1937, Columbus Day has been a federally endorsed symbol of American erasure of indigenous peoples in this country’s history for nearly 80 years. That is abhorrent. Instead of celebrating the life of a murderous conqueror, we should instead turn our attention to indigenous peoples in America, reflecting on what we as Americans have done and failed to do with respect to native populations.

Look before you watch

(10/13/16 4:17am)

This past weekend “Birth of a Nation,” a Sundance-favored period drama based loosely on the life of Nat Turner, an enslaved man who lead a slave rebellion in the 1800s, opened with disappointing numbers at the box office. Perhaps the film’s underperformance stemmed from overly high expectations. Perhaps it stemmed from the movie’s formulaic composition. Perhaps, though, it stemmed from the past of the movie’s director, Nate Parker. In 1999, Parker and his roommate at Pennsylvania State University were accused of raping a female student while she was passed out. Parker was cleared of all charges, but his admission that he had engaged in sex with an incapacitated person marred his image. Parker’s new movie and old but sordid history bring up a question of ethical media consumption: where do we draw the line with the personal lives of content creators when it comes to engaging with their content?

To study abroad or to be abroad?

(10/12/16 4:21am)

The study abroad program is an essential part of the “Duke Experience,” with roughly half of the undergraduate population spending a semester abroad before graduation. The abroad experience includes a wide variety of Duke-In programs that vary from placement into classes alongside host-country students to programs taught entirely by Duke Professors and populated by Duke students. The university recently announced an addition to abroad options with the development of a new program specifically tailored for engineering students. In its announcement, the university acknowledged that the material studied in the program could be studied similarly in any location. With that in mind, today we tackle the question of whether there is really any worth in students studying abroad, and if there is, how to maximize it.

When will our reports lead to action?

(10/06/16 5:51pm)

Earlier this year, the School of Medicine announced the appointment of a new Assistant Dean for Underrepresented Faculty Development, a promising step toward addressing concerns many students and faculty have voiced about discrimination and bias on campus. This new dean will be charged to specifically ensure that diverse faculty in the School of Medicine are properly supported in promoting their careers in research, teaching and mentoring with the hope of ensuring that these faculty continue their careers at Duke successfully.

High stakes, high standards

(10/04/16 4:07am)

With tonight’s vice-presidential debate, America begins a five-week countdown to the general election. Some voters are already fatigued with politics. Across the board, they have lamented the tone of national political discussions. This election more than ever, it is easy for them to back away and wash their hands of political opponents. But the stakes are too high for people to plug their ears and not talk about politics. Instead, they must set ground rules for political discourse. So beyond parroting the sound bites they are given by the media and the nominees of our two major parties, how can voters, especially us at Duke, talk to each other in this critical home stretch of the election in a way that will push our country’s politics forward and not backwards?

Shame on the shamers

(10/03/16 4:10am)

After the first 2016 presidential debate last week, some viewers of the event struggled to agree on which candidate had won. If the victor’s identity was ambiguous though, one thing was surely not: the fact that attacks on physical appearance and weight had emerged as a new norm in politics. Over the course of the debate, candidate Donald Trump made repeated jabs at a former Miss Universe winner, Alicia Machado, referring to her weight in an effort to discredit her endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Even before the debate, opponents of Trump had stooped to similarly low levels, relentlessly mocking some of his physical attributes. Such body-shaming is not a new phenomenon, but it is disappointing that it has metastasized its way into the political arena and found a home in presidential election campaigns. In today’s editorial, we examine both how body shaming emerged in US politics and how it can once again be relegated away from the political realm.

​Deserted by IFC, abandoned by a task force

(09/30/16 4:28am)

One year, three months and 16 days ago, the Duke Interfraternity Council launched a task force charged with a mission to investigate the role Greek life plays in sexual assault on campus. The task force was to meet weekly, analyze findings and report back to the wider student body with conclusions. 474 days later, it has all but vanished into thin air.

Engendering gender harmony

(09/29/16 4:24am)

Yesterday, the Duke Men’s Project held its first meeting. The project, led by a goal of “creat[ing] a space of brotherhood fellowship dedicated to interrogating male privilege and patriarchy,” is both admirable and necessary. We wholly endorse its mission and hope that along with other initiatives, it will move our campus towards a better and more nuanced understanding of the mix of identities that populate Duke.

​A long way to go

(09/28/16 5:13am)

For the past week, Duke’s campus has been abuzz with discussions of LGBTQ rights. Last Friday, Jim Obergefell visited Duke to speak to students about his role in the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. On Saturday, Pride celebrations occurred on East Campus only a few days after Governor McCrory announced that he would drop a lawsuit against the Department of Justice after its appeal of House Bill 2. As we celebrate the progress, We should recognize that the fight for LGBTQ rights did not end with the achievement of marriage equality and consider avenues for its advancement.