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​What’s in a demand?

(04/07/16 4:51am)

When the sit-in of the Allen building began, Duke Workers and Students in Solidarity issued seven demands of administration. Over the course of the next several days, the protesters elicited a public apology from Executive Vice President Tallman Trask as well as received amnesty for those sitting-in. Given the current negotiation impasse initiated by the administration on Monday, we turn now to scrutinize the demands issued by students through their original issuance and the clarifications announced yesterday evening.

Failing with grace

(04/06/16 5:20am)

Last Thursday was a pivotal day for the over 28,000 high school seniors who applied to join the Class of 2020. For many of them, Duke was high on their lists and for most, even at the top. Over the course of high school, they probably visited campus, revelled in the excitement of last year’s basketball championship, strived for perfect test scores to impress admissions officers and poured their hearts into Common App personal essays. At the end of that, more than 20,000 of them received no reward except for the closure of a disappointing denial letter. At a time when many Duke students are experiencing rejection and failure in the forms of job and internship searches and difficult midterms before the rush to LDOC, today’s editorial will explore failure and the role it can and should play for students.

Raising our standards

(04/05/16 6:11am)

Last Thursday, DSG rejected a resolution calling for administrative action in response to Executive Vice President Tallman Trask’s hit-and-run incident. The resolution noted that Trask’s behavior had violated the Duke Community Standard—an observation that evidently carried little weight with DSG as the discussion turned to unfavorable political impacts and hesitation because DSG is holding elections next week. It is time to revisit the standard and increase its presence and weight on campus.

Protests for progress

(04/04/16 6:42am)

Once again, Duke’s campus is embroiled in outraged protest. This current flare up of tensions on campus seems perfectly in rhythm with semesters past. On Friday, students began a sit-in at the Allen building demanding a litany of administrative action including the removal of Executive Vice President Tallman Trask and other key administrators, as well as the resolution of institutional inequities in Duke’s Parking and Transportation Services. The protesters’ demands followed a two-part Chronicle investigative series that revealed that Trask had committed a hit-and-run on campus and that PTS, indirectly overseen by him, was home to a racially hostile workplace.

​Don’t forget your roots

(04/01/16 4:15am)

Over the years, Durham has experienced rapid and significant economic growth that has traded the declining tobacco industries of old in for newly minted tech startups. The Economist recently reported that since 2001, Durham’s growth has been particularly unusual, with the city’s GDP per capita growing faster than the state’s at a whopping ratio of 28 percent to North Carolina’s three. Durham joins other high-flying cities across the United States, in outpacing its state’s economic growth. In each of these complex landscapes, urban-rural inequality persists, and growth often benefits some more than others even within the city itself.

Why Asian-American Studies?

(03/31/16 5:35am)

The call for an Asian-American Studies program and support for interested students and faculty has increased in volume at Northwestern, Harvard and our very own Duke. Today we argue that this is a no-brainer for our administration and academic leadership. The meaning and relevance of such a move to our community is undeniable, deserving the University’s full support. At the very least, the University should look to avoid The Daily Northwestern's announcement headline which reads, "After 20 years in the making."

Think outside the bookbag

(03/30/16 7:01am)

With the start of bookbagging on Monday, yet another semester comes into view. Full of possibilities and marked by the momentary return to blissful academic romanticism wherein we forget about the actual burdens of academic life and envision all the possibilities of a new semester—one replete with new classes, new professors and new material waiting to be explored. Excepting those seniors about to be shown the secret passage out of our Duke bubble, we are all now faced with the question of what to spend our next semester at Duke studying.

​Revisiting the Common App

(03/29/16 3:58am)

As the perennial flurry of press releases and news articles has trumpeted, Duke accepted a record-low 8.7 percent of Regular Decision applicants for the Class of 2020. Each of these applicants as well as the more than 26,000 less fortunate applicants used the Common Application to apply. Filled out by hundreds of thousands of students per year for applications to hundreds of universities and colleges, the Common App covers a vast swath of American college campuses, including ours. Despite its dominance, this fixture of admissions to institutions of higher education is in need of reform.

​Transphobia, clear as day

(03/28/16 5:13am)

The North Carolina State Legislature held a special session last Wednesday, fast-tracking House Bill 2 through to Governor Pat McCrory, who immediately signed it—all within 24 hours. The bill not only forces transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room of the gender they were assigned at birth, but also changes how people can pursue claims of workplace discrimination and prevents cities and counties from establishing minimum wage benchmarks for private employers. Fueled by the unsubstantiated fears of bathroom assaults by trans individuals throughout the nation, this law directly threatens gender-nonconforming and working class residents across the state.

​Staying positive about politics

(03/25/16 4:36am)

Over spring break, President Obama announced chief judge Merrick Garland from the D.C. Court of Appeals as his nomination for the Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in mid-February. The nomination process immediately became politics as usual when Senate Republicans vowed to unconditionally prevent any nominee from being confirmed. Senate Republicans likely hope to secure a more conservative vote on the Supreme Court with a justice nominated by a Republican candidate who emerges victorious in November. This stubborn, political conflict is a symptom of a larger trend towards playing politics with issues, something noticed by many voters as early as the many debt ceiling crises of recent years.

​Watching the watchmen

(03/24/16 8:32am)

Over the course of the past few years, police departments across the U.S. have been brought under strict public scrutiny for racial profiling, militarization and excessive force that too often resulted in fatal encounters. Related to this shift in police-community relations is the news reported earlier this month of University EVP Tallman Trask’s hit and run with parking attendant Shelvia Underwood. DUPD was inappropriately unresponsive to Underwood’s requests for the release of the police report. Outside experts have claimed that DUPD and its state-commissioned officers may not have filled the report out thoroughly. We have also pointed out that Tallman Trask’s indirect supervision of the university police department poses a potential conflict of interests for such DUPD investigations. Many of the murkier parts of this case, including the legitimacy of DUPD’s mandate to release records and their oversight by Trask emanate from DUPD’s status as a private police force.

Bring back more than sunshine

(03/22/16 5:00am)

Students returned to campus this weekend washing the sand from their hair and looking forward—in vain unfortunately—to showing off their tans with short sleeves and shorts. Many undoubtedly spent their time out of the country, on beautiful Caribbean beaches soaking up the sun and updating Instagram or sightseeing on quick jaunts to Europe. Before suitcases are unpacked and classes kick back into gear in the countdown to LDOC, now is a crucial time to reflect on what we should make of our favorite vacation spots such as Jamaica, the Bahamas and Cancun and their complex histories and rich cultures. We have to be responsible travelers and think about how we can become better global citizens even on our breaks, taking every opportunity to think beyond tourist traps to the political, social and cultural spaces we occupy. This message is not one of reprimand but rather a reminder that we can dream bigger in what we take away from our travels.

​Time for a mentorship makeover

(03/21/16 5:24am)

Many of the Class of 2018 made the long trek a week and a half ago back to East Campus and the Academic Resource Center to declare their majors. These students will be matched with major advisors and embark on a journey to deepen their understanding and experiences of their chosen fields. As changes are proposed to the undergraduate advising model, including one to allow students to retain the same advisor for all four years, we believe a transformation of our undergraduate advising and mentorship models is in order.

​The spirit of volunteering

(03/11/16 5:13am)

For many Duke students, spring break is a welcome respite, offering a chance for rest, relaxation and sunny beach visits after two long months of classes, job recruitment and rush processes. For some students, spring break also serves as an opportunity to take the week of free time to give back to their communities. Today we turn to the motivations behind and ramifications of pursuing these various service trips and alternative break programs.

​Politics of style, politics of substance

(03/10/16 5:33am)

There are a few more days to take advantage of the Freeman Center’s early voting site, which runs through this Friday. Cast your vote now before you miss out on your chance to participate. Of course, this time around it is difficult to not be aware that the elections are underway—the airwaves are saturated with poll results and Donalds waiting to be made "Drumpf again". Yet for all the talk, in this election perhaps more than others, it feels as though the policies have taken a backseat to the politics and severely subverted in discourse.

​Share each other’s experiences

(03/09/16 6:48am)

In yesterday’s editorial, we discussed the value of designating spaces for cultural identity groups on campus. Today we turn to the importance of continuing engagement with and awareness of our student body’s diversity. Through statistics our University boasts the value it sees in having a diverse student body, yet we do not often take the time to explicitly and personally consider as students, faculty and administrators our commitments to understanding each other’s values, backgrounds and identities.

​A bigger, better CMA

(03/08/16 7:14am)

Last week, the administration announced three new programming spaces for Asian-American, Latinx and Native American student communities in the expanded Center for Multicultural Affairs. We look now at what needs these spaces meet and at the importance of recognizing the efforts of groups on campus, such as Mi Gente and the Asian-American Alliance, which have advocated for such changes for years.

​Uncle Sam should not read your texts

(03/07/16 6:31am)

At the end of last year, California saw the deadliest terror attack on American soil since September 11 in the mass shooting and attempted bombing of San Bernardino. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked Apple last month to assist in a brute-force attack on the passcode to gunman Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone. Apple pointedly refused in a letter from CEO Tim Cook. The Justice Department obtained a judicial order requiring Apple to design the software needed for this kind of entry. Apple appealed this motion two weeks ago, and tech giants, law enforcement agencies, activist groups and private citizens have been taking sides on whether the government can burden Apple in this way. As a follow-up to our discussion of attitudes towards privacy last semester, today we are confronted with the question of what gives when data privacy goes up against national security.

​Honor Abele with a landmark

(03/04/16 6:33am)

In an email to the student body, President Richard Brodhead announced on Tuesday that West Campus’s main quadrangle would be named after Julian Abele. Approved on Sunday by the Board of Trustees, the naming of the quad is meant to honor a man who was relatively unknown until the 1980s but is nonetheless the black architect responsible for Duke’s iconic gothic architecture and original campus design. For years, students have sought recognition for Abele on campus, and as Brodhead’s email mentions, Abele’s accomplishments coincided with some of “the darkest days of racial segregation”. For years, students have asked for his recognition on campus with the most recent push coming from November’s community forum, which saw shortly afterwards the formation of an advisory group to research an appropriate honor for Abele.