Regardless of who you choose to vote for this week, vote “No” on the referendum included in your ballot Tuesday. Very early Thursday morning after a four-plus-hour meeting that began Wednesday evening, we voted at the close of the Duke Student Government Senate meeting to put a referendum on the ballot for Tuesday’s Presidential election.
The last time I managed to go a day without food and water, I ended up spending most of the day in bed. Much to the enjoyment of my roommate at the time, I could not function the way he was accustomed to during Ramadan, an annual holy month of fasting in the Muslim tradition that commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad.
The first time I heard that 52 percent of Duke students pay less than the sticker price of over $65,000 to attend this university, all I could think is that somehow 48 percent of the student population is paying full price. Even when you attempt to control for those students on the fringe between receiving financial aid and not, the reality is that a significant portion of the student population—or, more precisely, their families—are able to afford education that annually is over $10,000 greater than the median income of Durham, N.C. Over the past couple weeks, as administrators have been forced to grapple with the realities of bias, homophobia and racism that exist in the fabric of the institution and the Duke community, little has been made of the connection between those issue and the policies that have entrenched wealth and more specifically socio-economic inequality at Duke. A few years ago, the administration and Board of Trustees endeavored to create a new model for housing at Duke, instituting a house model that afforded sections of housing to Greek and selective organizations while forming a swathe of randomized independent houses.
On Tuesday, we vote not for the fate of the nation but for the fate of our city. Tomorrow, we vote yet again, though I may be one of 100 students who will take the extra effort to head to the polls, but there is so much more on the line this time around.