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It takes a village: Lessons in collective action

(02/17/20 5:00am)

This week, in the short lull between the end of the Young Trustee campaign season and the beginning of the DSG races, we’re presented with an opportunity to reflect on the work that has been accomplished in the political arena and to consider the challenges that the University and its students, faculty and staff, continue to face in the coming year. However, the chance of healthy reflection seems to be constantly overshadowed by inevitable fights over whose individual triumphs have had the greatest impact. 

In pursuit of presidential prestige

(02/03/20 5:00am)

Since December 26 when the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) was first notified of elevated carbon monoxide levels at McDougald Terrace Apartments, close to 900 residents have been evacuated and placed in hotels. At least nine residents have been hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning, and subsequent investigation has revealed abhorrent sewage, carbon monoxide leaks, and many failed federal inspections at the public housing complex. These revelations have prompted statements from local Representative David Price, the mayor of Durham Steve Schewel, and CEO of the housing authority Anthony Scott. Despite Schewel's effort to silence their protests during a recent City Council meeting, McDougald Terrace residents made their justified anger clear: they have lived in hotels and eaten unsubstantial food for three weeks, away from all they own, and they refuse to bear the violent brunt displacement for longer than they need to.

Home is where the...

(01/27/20 5:00am)

Although conversations about housing reform on campus seem to have faded since 2018, the trials and tribulations of on-campus living have remained. From the plan to build apartments for graduate students off of Towerview, to the opossum and flea infestation in Few, the potential split of Avalon House and the price increase for rooms in 300 Swift, there have been no shortage of housing-related news stories this academic year. The most recent of these—the possible changes to Avalon House and rate increases at Swift—also speak directly to concerns raised by the lapsed group Duke Students for Housing Reform (DS4HR) about the nature and structure of residential life at Duke—concerns which, like last semester’s flea problem, are slow to be resolved. 

Resolutions for a new year

(01/16/20 5:00am)

The Community Editorial Board is made up of 12 undergraduate students from across the University. The Board’s members are independent, and do not speak for The Chronicle’s newsroom staff. They meet once a week to discuss issues and topics at Duke. A member of the Board will write the editorial, which is then edited by other members and the chairs before being reviewed by the opinion editor.

People and planet—profits be damned

(09/19/19 4:00am)

The average Duke student might look to enjoy some sun and Beyú Blue coffee on the Bryan Center Plaza this Saturday. However, they may not be aware of the climate strike that will be happening, with just 128 individuals—less than 1% of all Duke students—“interested” in the Facebook event as of the beginning of this week. This strike coincides with the climate strike in Raleigh on Friday as part of a global climate strike. Demanding the end of fossil fuel use, the movement has been led by youth like Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist who has skipped school every Friday for more than a year to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament and the White House last week.

Introducing: The Community Editorial Board

(08/23/19 4:00am)

For the past 13 years, the Editorial Board of The Chronicle has published weekly and, for much of that history, daily columns reflecting on issues related to Duke and the broader communities that the University touches. Comprised of students and advised by Chronicle staff, the Board strived to maintain its stated mission “to enrich campus dialogue by offering thoughtful opinions on a variety of issues; to hold students, faculty and administrators publicly accountable for their statements and actions; and to help students sharpen their journalistic and writing skills.”

More money, more collective action

(04/23/19 4:00am)

Starting in 2022, Duke will guarantee every Ph.D. student in their five-year guaranteed funding period an annual stipend of $31,160 spread out over 12 months. Depending on each department, Duke’s current policy until 2022 is to award Ph.D. stipends on either a nine or 12-month schedule, with the nine-month stipend amounting to $23,370. This means that starting from 2022, a sizeable number of Ph.D. students will have their yearly income increased by $10,000. In an age of increasing precarity within the world of academia, Duke’s decision to institute a university-wide policy guaranteeing yearly $31,000 stipends to Ph.D. students should be applauded. Moreover, the stipend increase signifies an important victory for activism at the University, as graduate students continue to press the administration for better working and living conditions.

Questioning the merits of merit

(04/20/19 6:26pm)

As current students begin rallying for LDOC and staking out the perfect study spot in Perkins for finals season, starry-eyed Blue Devil Days attendees are flooding campus once again. While some prospective students are primarily evaluating the university based on the rigor of classes, the quality of the food in the Brodhead Center and general campus atmosphere, others are facing a far more daunting, deterministic metric: financial aid.

Let justice be done

(04/15/19 2:39pm)

Last week, Georgetown University students voted in favor of a referendum suggesting a $27.20 tuition increase. If the referendum is approved by their Board of Trustees, the extra revenue will be used to fund “charitable purposes” to benefit the descendants of the 272 enslaved people sold by the University in 1838 to pay its debts. In 2017, Georgetown formally apologized for the sale as part of a larger effort to grapple with its history, especially in relation to slavery. That same week, UNC-Chapel Hill Police announced that two people were arrested for the March vandalism of the Unsung Founders Memorial at UNC, a commemoration of labor done by people of color at the university. These two events remind us that the histories of our universities are often intertwined with exploitation, whether of enslaved people or otherwise, and we retain an obligation to confront and expose these histories.