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Banning the box

(09/26/18 6:00am)

This week, it was announced that Duke University and Duke University Health System will no longer ask potential employees for information regarding prior criminal convictions in the initial part of the job application process. This policy change, commonly referred to as “banning the box,” is part of the “Ban the Box” project—created by the civil rights organization All of Us or None—organized around ending employment, housing and service discrimination against formerly incarcerated people. The namesake check box refers to the question “Have you been convicted by a court?” It commonly appears on applications for employment, housing, public benefits, insurance, loans and other crucial services. “Ban the Box” has become a growing nationwide movement and since its inception, the policy change has been adopted by 33 states and over 150 cities and counties; now 75 percent of the U.S. population currently lives in a jurisdiction that has banned the box. The purpose of the policy is to mandate that employers look at an applicant’s qualifications first and their conviction or arrest record afterward, to avoid letting stigmas and stereotypes cloud decisions made about what kind of service or employment they receive. 

#MeToo in the Supreme Court

(09/24/18 4:00am)

Drunk boy assaults girl at high school party: sound familiar? Following the footsteps of many before her in the #MeToo movement, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has formally accused Brett Kavanaugh, the GOP nominee for the Supreme Court, of sexual assault. With his Ivy League pedigree, a television-ready family and more than a decade of experience as a federal jurist, Kavanaugh seemed to be yet another familiar (albeit controversial) white-bread appointee in a historically white, male-dominated Supreme Court. Yet removed from the saccharine picture of academic and professional success were the details later described in Ford’s account of the assault. Ford, currently a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University, described in a public statement how a 17-year old Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, physically groped her body and attempted to pull off her bathing suit, confessing, “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.” 

Housekeeping at Duke

(09/21/18 4:00am)

Every Monday morning, as Duke students wrest themselves out of their beds, they awake to a brochure picture-worthy campus. Vomit, trash and other miscellaneous evidence of a weekend of binge-drinking and social events have been removed; displaced, toppled furniture has been reoriented; and residence halls have been returned to a livable state for the week ahead. Most undergraduates don’t give this cycle—or who is responsible for it—a second thought. However, recent moves to reshuffle the work schedule of campus housekeeping employees have pushed these members of the Duke community into the spotlight. The scheduling change now will requires housekeeping staff on some weeks to work Saturdays and Sundays (days they previously had off) and move their “weekend” to Thursdays and Fridays, resulting in reported issues with finding child care and difficulty attending religious services. This was answered with outrage from students and housekeeping staff alike—even resulting in a petition calling for the reversal of the decision. Duke administrators who green-lit this decision claim to have answered desires from students to be covered during weekends. Any potential wage hike or other financial compensation for these new working hours is not being implemented to the knowledge of the petitioners. The stir this shift adjustment has caused not only begs questions of labor conditions on campus, but also highlights the current glaring deficiencies in basic personal sanitation routines that Duke students have accepted as normal.

No Asians need apply?

(09/19/18 4:00am)

Most of us arrive at Duke questioning how we even got admitted here. What was the “it” factor that convinced an admissions officer to accept us? The murkiness of a holistic admissions process holds true not only for Duke but also for universities across the nation. It has led some students to come together against the institutions they believe have wronged them. While Asian-Americans have been suing elite universities for many years, alleging that the university practices discriminatory admission policies against Asian-American applicants, this time the U.S Department of Justice has lent its support to the plaintiffs. The case brings up important conversations concerning inequalities in higher education, but more particularly, the continued need for affirmative action policies.

Receding into history...

(09/17/18 4:00am)

Rows upon rows of foreclosed homes. Endless lines at the unemployment office. Weekly trips to the Dollar General for bargain deals. For millions of Americans who grew up during the late 2000s and early 2010s, these scenes represented daily reminders of their economic precarity. 2018 roughly marks the tenth anniversary of the start of the Great Recession, arguably the worst economic crisis in our nation’s history since the Great Depression. Brought on by risky lending and borrowing practices in the U.S housing market during the mid-2000s, the Recession sent shockwaves through a heavily interconnected American economy: “official” unemployment figures hit double digits during its peak, while median household income dropped in value by over four percentage points. For a generation of college students who spent their elementary and middle school years in the shadow of the Great Recession, it is perhaps easy to forget the lasting effects the crisis has left upon our country and communities.

After the hurricane

(09/14/18 4:00am)

The Duke bubble is persistent. In an anxiety-inducing week, when people from Georgia to Virginia have been preparing for the potential devastating effects of Hurricane Florence, the fortitude of this bubble has become only more apparent. Hurricane Florence, now a Category 2 storm, is projected to cause widespread damage across the southeast region, from power outages in 1-3 million homes and businesses to flash floods that could result in the loss of life. 

Delving into diversity

(09/12/18 4:00am)

Beginning this fall, the University of California, Los Angeles, will require applications for regular rank faculty positions to include an “EDI statement” that describes the candidates “past, present, and future contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This policy change resembles similar protocols being instituted at other universities, including five other UC schools. While this shift has been quietly accepted by the UCLA community, it has served as a flashpoint in the national argument against efforts toward equity in higher education. Those who feel that colleges have becomes sanctuaries for the hypersensitive—where honest conversations on race, gender, sexuality and identity have run rampant—strongly oppose UCLA’s initiative towards diversity.

Blocking the ballot box

(09/10/18 4:00am)

As early voting for the midterm elections draws near, North Carolina is struggling once again with continued legal battles over gerrymandering and claims of voter fraud, reflecting a larger voter suppression effort that is as frightening as it is familiar. Just last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) subpoenaed the North Carolina Board of Elections for voting records, ostensibly to investigate illegal votes cast by non-citizens. This comes just after the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina’s decision to retain the state’s electoral maps for the upcoming elections, regardless of its previous ruling that the maps were unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering. At the same time, the General Assembly—undeterred after a controversial 2013 voter ID law was struck down by an appellate court last year—has drafted a constitutional amendment mandating voters provide photo identification at the polls. The proposal, regardless of multiple legal challenges, will likely be on the ballot this fall.

Of Kaepernick and corporations

(09/07/18 4:00am)

Colin Kaepernick, who has spent the past two years as the face of protests in the NFL against police brutality and a target of presidential ire, made national waves once again this Monday when he was featured in Nike’s ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of their famous slogan “Just Do It”. Kaepernick hasn’t played since January of 2017 and is currently suing NFL for colluding against his employment. The subject of Kaepernick’s protest is well-understood, but with the intrusion of Nike’s marketing machine, it stands to examine the role of corporations in shaping political discourse.

A Duke for some

(09/05/18 4:00am)

With recent national headlines about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos planning to deregulate for-profit colleges—a policy choice that would end Obama-era protections put in place after hundreds of these colleges were accused of “widespread fraud”—and campus news items like the reappointment of Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag (the administrator credited with drastically reducing Duke's admission rate), higher education accessibility continues to be a prominent topic of heated debate. However, these conversations often lack nuanced and historicized assessments of the hallowed grounds we praise as sites of scholarly production. The ills that plague prestigious campuses like Duke around the country can’t be discussed in earnest without understanding the intentions and values that birthed them.

What is Larry Moneta's legacy?

(08/31/18 4:00am)

To first years still learning the layout of campus and using official Blue Devil lanyards for their dorm keys, Larry Moneta is likely just another administrator. Perhaps he’s stood out to some of them because of the signature gold chain hanging around his neck or his frequent visits to Sprout for the vegan fare, but more likely than not, he’s just another face in the crowd. However, to the students who have spent their last two to three years on campus and witnessed the highs and lows of the once venerated “LMo,” Larry Moneta is a far more complex figure. Following a semester marred with public, national criticism, calls for his termination and lambastings on the university meme page, his departure at the end of this year was announced early this month. This  conclusion to Moneta’s seventeen years at Duke and nearly half century working on college campuses certainly warrants a reflection on just who he is, what went wrong and what there is to learn from his fall from grace.

From silencing Sam to confronting Carr

(08/29/18 4:00am)

As always, new and returning students alike flocked this week to the iconic Duke Chapel for celebratory, Snapchat-worthy pictures to ring in the start of Fall semester. However, what those striking shots taken during the much sought after golden hour probably won’t capture is the now-vacant space at the Chapel’s entrance that once housed the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The statue was vandalized then removed nearly a year ago, precipitated by white supremacist violence at Charlottesville and the toppling of a confederate monument in front of the Old Durham Courthouse. Finally, on August 16th, President Price announced the decision to maintain the empty space in accordance with recommendations from the ‘Commission on History and Memory’ taskforce. This recent pattern of confederate monument removal in the Triangle area continued last week when protestors at UNC Chapel Hill collapsed the notorious Silent Sam statue. 

New year, same problems?

(08/27/18 4:00am)

Welcome back to Duke and happy first day of classes! As Duke officially begins its 94th academic year, the Editorial Board will commence our own editorial cycle by addressing the recent vandalism of the Mary Lou Williams Center. Chiefly, this incident represents an opportunity for us as a new campus community to explore the implications of racially-motivated acts at an institution that continues to struggle with strained race relations. 

The end of the 93rd

(04/30/18 4:00am)

Amidst the frantic rush to finish up the academic year, tunnel vision has set in for most students: got to cram for my orgo exam, got to finish up my senior thesis, got to decide what I’m going to wear to Myrtle. Lost among the seemingly endless bucket list of things to do this week is an appreciation that yet another year at Dear Old Duke is finally coming to a close. Ever since January 1925, when Trinity College students came back from winter break to find their campus newly christened as Duke, this institution has been progressing forward and changing quickly with each passing year, with new challenges awaiting it each new cycle. As members of this institution, we should take it upon ourselves to reflect on the events of this academic cycle, and the progress (or lack thereof) we have made as a community. 

The weakest GoldLink

(04/25/18 4:00am)

Despite what the 60 degree temperatures and scatters of rainfall might suggest, summer is rapidly approaching and Duke’s undergraduates are finally heading into their last day of class this week. As a result, the campus is once again buzzing with excitement for the annual day of revelry and heavy drinking that accompanies the end of every academic year. This exhilaration was slightly quelled however when the LDOC headliner, GoldLink, cancelled days before he was set to perform. While the LDOC committee members scramble to get another act together last second, Editorial Board has taken it upon ourselves to suggest a number of possible substitutions that would surely win over the student body. 

Respecting Religion

(04/24/18 4:00am)

Last Friday, Trinity first-year Victoria Priester penned an opinion column in The Chronicle in which she opened up about her personal experience as a practicing Christian at Duke. In particular, she described the somewhat negative stereotypes associated with being a Christian student at an elite university where religion can often be thought of as a backwards relic from a bygone age of past prejudices. As students of this University, dedicated to creating a safe, diverse space for every member of the Duke community, it is crucial that we examine religion and its place here on campus.

Students are still having sex

(04/23/18 3:42am)

Last week The Chronicle reported that the Academic Council will be voting early next month on a new policy that will ban undergraduate-faculty relationships. The proposed ban, though consistently marketed as not being punitive in nature, is a step toward trying to limit the sexual misconduct that takes place at Duke as a result of such relationships. Duke’s current policy only bans relationships between students and those in direct positions of authority over them. Though the board agrees that this policy is an important step in acknowledging the uneven power dynamics at play within student-faculty sexual relationships, the policy seems somewhat questionable given its paternalistic attitude and ineffectiveness in addressing the root cultural causes of sexual misconduct. 

Duke of past, present and future

(04/20/18 4:00am)

Coming right after the controversial events of Duke’s most recent reunion weekend, incoming members of the University’s most recent undergraduate class have arrived on campus this week for Blue Devil Days, marking the end of a whirlwind of major university events during April. The last major month of the academic year, April represents a rare time when past, present and future members of the Duke community converge upon this campus to interact with the institution. Reflecting on the tumultuous events of previous Aprils over the last few years, it is also a month filled with celebration of the University’s future, as admitted students are presented with hopeful visions of their lives within Duke’s gothic architecture and glass boxes.  

Shattering the blue-colored glasses

(04/19/18 4:00am)

We extend our utmost congratulations to visiting admittees to the Class of 2022 on obtaining entry to Duke in its most competitive year in history. The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated. Coming to the University with blue-colored glasses, prospective students on Blue Devil Days are often greeted by their respective hosts to a postcard-friendly image of campus life where a diverse set of gifted students thrive under the benevolent nature of almighty Duke. It would be drastically ill-advised, in spite of the jam-packed Duke sightseeing schedule, not to look beyond the pale of one single host. It is statistically impossible for a single host to be representative of the Duke student body due to the sheer depth and breadth of diversity among students here. Shattering one’s blue-colored perspectives of campus life should thus be forefront in the minds of prospective students who are set to flock to Duke over the next few days.