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The dining bubble

(01/17/06 5:00am)

Self-described "conservatives" at Duke are fixated on the notion that "liberals" are crowding out their ideas, as shown by the uproar over "academic freedom" and Harry Belafonte's Sunday appearance. They might, however, want to look into something that costs each and every one of us thousands of dollars every year and flies in the face of both common sense and basic tenants of conservative philosophy:


The Big Picture

(12/07/05 5:00am)

 The hundreds of pages of publicly available (and sometimes not so publicly available) reports on various aspects of Duke's finances offer a unique and detailed picture of the inner-workings of our university. As an organization run by academics, statements about Duke's priorities, intentions and actions are often sweeping, vague and flowery-but the application of Deep Throat's famous command in "All the President's Men" lets us see what's really going on:


It's for the children!

(11/29/05 5:00am)

"We believe that education works best when a school brings together the best students, regardless of financial background. Many of us, many of our classmates, and many of Duke's most accomplished alumni could not have attended Duke if it weren't for the University's commitment to financial aid-and without financial aid students, Duke would not be Duke. That's why we, the students of Duke University, would like to voice our strongest support for Duke's Financial Aid Initiative."


Opt in to this

(11/17/05 5:00am)

As the Duke Student Government Vice President for Academic Affairs, Joe Fore is supposed to fight for my interests. The students elected him to serve as our chief advocate in academic matters, and he has failed in that very important role.


Numb3rs

(11/15/05 5:00am)

A title such as the "Summary of Unrestricted Unallocated Budgeted Funds" may conjure an image of an abstract and unintelligible financial statement. This document is the last on a long list of documents (many of which have equally cryptic tiles) buried on the Duke Financial Services website. Although it contains information that illuminates so much, given its form and location, I would be surprised if more than a dozen students have ever taken a look at it.





'Back off'

(09/27/05 4:00am)

Your children will thrive here, but for them to get the good of their new life, you need to back off," commanded the newly-installed President Richard Brodhead during the 2004 Freshman Convocation. Although he was addressing the (at that time) very anxious and ambivalent parents of the Class of 2008, his message has resonated with me since I watched my own family depart after his address. That was the moment when it finally sank in-I am now an adult; I am now independent; I am now responsible for myself.


Ask and ye shall receive

(09/13/05 4:00am)

It should not be up to me to enforce proper behavior that signifies the intelligence of Duke Students. You should do it," former Duke President Terry Sanford wrote in a 1984 letter to the student body regarding profanity during basketball games. As Duke's sixth president and namesake of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, his legacy has endured long after he left office in 1985.


Open to public inspection

(08/30/05 4:00am)

With relatively little fanfare, Duke submitted its Form 990 to the IRS and made it available to the public over the summer. This extremely important document details Duke’s financial activities over the most recent tax year and, more importantly, justifies to the U.S. government and to the public why Duke University should retain its non-profit, tax-exempt designation. By law, the public is privy to these filings and the University is obliged to turn over copies to anyone who requests them.



Too little, too late

(03/29/05 5:00am)

Last week, Duke Dining Services announced a new program that allows freshmen to use unused breakfast credits to purchase lunch at the Marketplace. I was thrilled, as most other freshmen were, to learn that my unused breakfasts wouldn’t continue to go entirely to waste. It alleviates some small portion of the enmity that I have felt towards the Marketplace and Duke Dining after being so completely ripped off over the course of this year.


Compassionate conservatism

(03/08/05 5:00am)

Despite all of the varying opinions espoused about the ideal nature of a tax system, one thing seems clear: People do not particularly enjoy paying their taxes. Even liberals who are vehemently opposed to the Bush tax cuts don’t relish the thought of giving upwards of 30 to 40 percent of their income to federal, state and local governments. Although many see taxes as a social and moral imperative, there is still the widespread perception of the government itself as a bloated and wasteful bureaucracy that is not worthy of such a high level of financial support.