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Last Wednesday, Dean of Arts and Sciences Laurie Patton outlined her vision for the Duke undergraduate liberal arts education, in which Duke students would seamlessly integrate many diverse interests into a single course of study, driven more by the weaving together of flexible and intersecting passions than the accumulation of discrete credentials. We support Patton’s emphasis on integration but believe integration must be practiced in measure. Integration, practiced without moderation or thoughtfulness, may create an overly customizable choose-your-own-adventure approach to education where students integrate various interests before—and at the expense of—gaining a solid foundation in the academic discipline of their choice. In order for meaningful integrative learning to take place, Duke needs to solidify its intradisciplinary curriculum before working towards the interdisciplinary goals Patton has articulated.
Renovations to the Bryan Center have begun and are expected to pick up over winter break in the hopes of finishing the makeover in time for the 2013 academic year. Unrenovated since 1982, it is high time for the BC to be renovated. We are excited about the changes to come, as they will bring improvements in the building’s aesthetics, functionality and accessibility. We outline what students can expect from these renovations and how they will impact student life.
Next May, Duke graduates will be sent off with words of wisdom from one of their own. Melinda Gates, Trinity ’86 and Fuqua ’87, has taken up President Richard Brodhead’s long-standing offer to speak at commencement, bringing a world-renowned philanthropist and lifelong Blue Devil back home. For what she has accomplished, what she represents and what she can offer future alumni, we wholeheartedly support her selection.
Lee Royster’s sentencing is a culmination of a tragedy that illustrates the need for an immediate shift in attitudes toward drunk driving in society and especially on Duke’s campus. Our thoughts remain with all those who were affected by last September’s catastrophic incident, particularly the family of the late Matthew Grape. In one sense, we feel uncomfortable using a tragedy of this nature as a platform to discuss the broader issue of drunk driving, but the prevention of future tragedies is a crucially important higher motive. To this end, we continue to see serious problems with the way drunk driving is perceived by students on campus, Duke’s administration and society at large.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is only ten miles away from Duke, but it’s about to seem a little further away. The Robertson Express Bus will eliminate its free fare starting this January. The Robertson Scholars Program announced that bus operations will switch from Duke to Triangle Transit, necessitating a $2.50 charge for a one-way ticket.
In the Duke Student Government meeting on Wednesday, student leaders took a strong stance opposing any possibility that administrators might eliminate freshman parking on East Campus. Although Duke Parking and Transportation Services has not made any official statements, the possibility of such a change certainly worries many freshmen who value the convenience and freedom that on-campus parking provides. Given that Duke has finite parking space and a high demand for it, the removal of freshman parking has been discussed by administrators for years. However, before DSG and the larger student body go up in arms, both sides of this complicated policy issue must be considered.
Between April 1, 2012 and Nov. 1 2012, the West Union Building Renovation Working Group solicited proposals for additions to the new student union, with the only constraint on proposals being that they must be capable of enshrinement in a glass square, rectangle or trapezoid. The Chronicle’s independent editorial board fished these obviously unread proposals out of thedumpster behind the Allen Building.
It is coming. After years of forecasting, anticipating and strategizing, online education is making bold strides in elite higher education. Duke reached an important milestone by announcing its collaboration with Semester Online, a platform created by the company 2U that will allow students to take online courses at Duke and nine other universities for credit. Students need not attend any of the consortium universities, as long as they pass Semester Online’s admissions requirements.
We were not at all surprised that a study commissioned by Trojan ranked Duke a measly 41st out of 141 universities in a sexual health report card. While we cannot comment on the methodology of the study or its accuracy, we strongly agree with its lead researcher, Bert Sperling, who noted that Duke does not have enough awareness outreach programs regarding sex and sexual health. The lack of campus dialogue surrounding sex leads to a number of negative consequences. Specifically, a lack of dialogue leaves students grossly misperceiving common sexual behavior at Duke, flooded with stories about sex portrayed solely in a negative light and, especially for women, questioning their self-worth or the validity of their sexual decisions.
Last Thursday, a Duke Students for Justice in Palestine event was interrupted when a senior destroyed the replica West Bank barrier and flipped over a table of Palestinian food DSJP was offering to passersby.
Tuesday, architects from the firm Grimshaw held an open house for students to view and comment on plans for the new West Union building their firm is designing. The early results are very encouraging. In both their designs and solicitation of feedback, the architects demonstrated an awareness of the needs this new building must fulfill. As currently proposed, the new building will reconceive student space on campus by providing a social hub at its heart. The New West Union will hopefully serve as a place students want to be, not just a place they have to be.
The Charlotte-based Duke Endowment made the announcement that it would give Davidson College $45 million, the largest single donation ever given to the school.
At last week’s Senate meeting, Duke Student Government moved up the 2013 election for president and executive vice president from mid-April to the first week of March. Because of this change—and the reality that DSG election policies invariably change each year—we take the opportunity to ask whether the current system, in broad terms, is as good as it could be, and what the ideal DSG electoral process would actually entail.
The recent uproar over affirmative action exposes the need to rethink how we talk about race and ethnicity in college admissions.
A grim portent hung over President Barack Obama’s victory Tuesday—the prospect of another four years of partisan gridlock and brinksmanship. It was easy for newscasters to find voters forlorn about partisanship. But many of the individuals chose to vote straight party on Tuesday, and in doing so endorsed the same system they decry.
In Tuesday’s editorial, we commented on the danger of prematurely condemning the house model before it has had the proper opportunity to flourish. While the goal of the house model is to establish vibrant residential life for everyone at Duke regardless of affiliation, this type of residential community will take time to fully materialize.
This headline appeared in the Nov. 2 issue of The Chronicle: “Independents lack sense of community in Duke house model.” We recognize the article for what it was: A much-needed mid-semester check-up on Duke’s new house model. But we fear that students may mistake the article for a death notice.
Last week, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta sent out an email to the student body expressing the community’s concern for those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. “I’m not sure how we can help,” Moneta wrote, “but your family are our extended family.”
We support the administration’s announcement of two new, Duke-sponsored study abroad programs earlier this week, but urge the University to continue evaluating and addressing the deficit in academic rigor found in many of the approved abroad programs. Earlier this week, administrators approved two new study abroad programs: Duke Neurohumanities in Paris and Duke in Barcelona, a summer and fall semester program, respectively.
In 2008, The Chronicle’s independent editorial board resoundingly endorsed Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. Obama’s subsequent victory—which placed a black man in our nation’s highest office for the first time in history—was the fruit borne by a campaign of change, bipartisanship and much-needed healing after eight years of squandered money and goodwill. There were high hopes for the newly elected president, especially among many young voters who saw their 21st century outlook reflected in Obama’s history and personality. At Duke, nearly 700 students packed Sanford to witness his historic election.