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T H E I N D E P E N D E N T D A I LY AT D U K E U N I V E R S I T Y

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 DUKECHRONICLE.COM

Duke at forefront of NC health care changes

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEENTH YEAR, ISSUE 10

SEARCHING FOR SQUID

Dean Ashby talks graduate stipends By Matthew Griffin

Contributing Reporter

University News Editor

With the issue of health care at the center of the 2020 presidential campaign, North Carolina is tackling it head-on—with Duke at the center of the reforms. North Carolina’s health care system currently operates under a fee-for-service model, which charges patients for every service they receive during health visits regardless of quality of care. It’s shifting to a model that pays providers based on the success of health outcomes. The team behind this progress is multifaceted, including the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke University Health System and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The current model was born in the midst of the establishment of the federal Medicaid and Medicare systems in 1965. While the fee-forservice model has since become the U.S. health care standard, critics have argued that it has resulted in skyrocketing expenses for patients and providers alike, especially if a patient is charged for a service that they don’t actually need. To cope with those rising costs, North Carolina and Duke University affiliates are helping to pioneer a new way to pay for health care in North Carolina. “North Carolina is dramatically redesigning the way health care is paid for and delivered in the state,” Robert Eick, a policy fellow at the Duke-Margolis Center, wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “These changes are being led by [North Carolina] Medicaid’s transition to managed care and reimbursement models that pay for better patient health rather than how many services a provider or hospital delivers.” Under the new system, providers will be paid based on their patients’ health outcomes rather than the number of services they receive. This change is being implemented by both Medicaid providers and private insurers including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest private insurer. The idea of value-based payment has already been implemented

to w hen a n d T h e including that they quiet and possible. To i n the Medusa camera. The Medusa, which was also used to capture the first video of a giant squid seven years ago, was developed by Johnsen with a couple of colleagues around 2009. Built on a modest budget, the camera is designed to give off as little light and noise as possible. Apart from a small LED array on the camera, it is nearly completely anonymous, dangling at the end of a mile of rope. That rope has a satellite-tracked buoy on the other end that lets the researchers track their camera as it drifts for more than a day. Less conveniently, the rope has to be lowered and raised by hand, which can take more than three hours each way. “It was like 19th century mariner days, telling jokes and anything else to keep ourselves entertained as we pulled it up hand-over-hand,”

Valerie Ashby, dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, loves her job. Still, she recognizes there is important work to be done. Ashby emphasized her main objectives as a dean and the progress she has helped make during her five years in the role at Thursday’s Arts and Sciences Council meeting. Ashby spoke of how she seeks to promote arts, humanities and social sciences at Duke, enhance teaching, hire diverse faculty and improve the quality of the graduate experience in pursuit of “consistent excellence.” Ashby noted that Duke’s promise to provide 12-month stipends to all graduate students comes with a hefty price tag of $3.4 million per year. “[Trinity College] made budget this year by the grace of God,” she said. “That’s the first time we’ve made budget since I’ve been here. We do not have $3.4 million annually.” However, she added that the administration would find funding somewhere. She compared the promise of 12-month stipends to Duke’s need-blind admissions policy, by which the university finds funding for financial aid after the undergraduate class has already been admitted. “We will do some hard work together in the next three years to figure out how we’re going to afford this,” she said. “So a lot of conversations will be had with departments about choices, because there isn’t an extra $3.5 million in here.” Ashby described placing emphasis on the arts, humanities and social sciences at Duke. Despite these programs’ consistent high quality, it is important to continue to promote them, she said. “You don’t have to worry about us taking our eye off of that while we run around the country trying to raise a billion dollars for science,” Ashby said. “By the way, I run around the country trying to raise significant dollars for the humanities and social sciences, and that will also continue.” Ashby noted that the University was looking to hire a new vice

See SQUID on Page 3

See ASHBY on Page 4

See HEALTH CARE on Page 4

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By Nadia Bey

By Carter Forinash University News Editor

As the saying goes, lightning rarely strikes the same place twice—but sometimes it strikes right after you see a giant squid. While the saying might seem oddly specific, that was the reality of June 20 for one Duke professor— Sönke Johnsen, professor of biology at Duke, who became a biologist on a dare and wound up on research c r u i s e s searching for squids. Jo h n s e n , with a team of other r e s e a r c h e r s from around the country, led an eventful National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration exploration cruise earlier this year that brought back the first footage of a giant squid in U.S. waters. NOAA funding comes with a quirk, requiring that expeditions focus on exploring rather than testing any specific hypothesis. Exploration is one thing, but this mission to the Gulf of Mexico needed to bring in new techniques to actually find anything. The Gulf of Mexico, in the grand scheme of bodies of water, is not particularly large or remote. In fact, Johnsen said, the flood of the Gulf at any given time is patrolled by a small army of more than 1,000 robot submarines, mostly run by large oil companies interested in maintaining their drilling operations. Given their mission, the robots are not particularly good at staying quiet or unobtrusive, making them poor scientists.

“They say that they never see anything and they have an incredible amount of footage showing that they never see anything,” Johnsen said. “But deep sea animals are smart enough just go away anything is big noisy.” NOAA team, Johnsen, knew needed to be as unremarkable as do so, they brought

Duke hosts research town hall

Grad students camp out in K-Ville

Effortless perfection at Duke

The forum comes after the University shelled out $112.5 million in a research fraud lawsuit. PAGE 2

Around 1,700 graduate students spend a weekend in K-Ville for a chance at men’s basketball season tickets. PAGE 7

Columnist Annie Yang dissects how neoliberal universities influence the drive for perfection. PAGE 11

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2 | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

Town hall tackles the fight against research fraud By Preetha Ramachandran Contributing Reporter

In the wake of a $112.5 million settlement, the question of research integrity has been prevalent on the minds of Duke students and staff members. The Sept. 11 research town hall, an exploration into the limitations, potential for misuses and reproducibility of research data, made this abundantly clear. Each speaker brought to the discussion a new angle by which to approach the data driven—and also errorprone—human enterprise of science and research. “I think these two things come together: the technical and the human,” Vice President for Research Lawrence Carin said. “Scientific integrity is like a diet. It is not something you do every now and then. It is something that you have to think about all the time. And you have to work at all the time. And like a diet, it’s hard. And so these town halls are our diet.” The event was moderated by Carin, James L. Meriam professor of electrical and computer engineering, and hosted by the Duke Office of Scientific Integrity. It featured Dan Ariely, James B. Duke professor of psychology and behavioral economics; Steven Grambow, assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics; and David Carlson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. Ariely spoke to the behavioral component behind ethical research, inviting the audience to consider the thinking that drives dishonesty, both in research and in personal lives. “We have many human values. We have our own benefit, the benefit of the people we love, not wanting to offend someone, financial success, all kinds of things,” he said. “And sadly, not all human values point in the same direction all the time. What do we do when some of those values don’t fit?” He illustrated the motivations behind dishonesty through rolling a die. A participant was asked to choose the top or bottom of a die prior to rolling it, under the pretense that whatever number was on the side they chose would be the amount they would be paid by the researcher. The participant was not required to disclose which side they chose. They simply reported the final number. After rolling the die 20 times, participants would end up with sum totals of

money far greater than what was statistically anticipated. “We find that people are surprisingly lucky,” Ariely joked. In the same study performed while the participants sat next to their significant other, he found that people have an easier time justifying dishonesty when it’s for a team or for other people. He also recounted a study from Harvard University in which a drunk outlier participant pulled group performance down and destroyed the results for the whole experiment. The individual’s removal would have confirmed the hypothesis, yet such an act would call into question research ethics. Although the group eventually substantiated the hypothesis without removing the individual from the study, the question still remained of what to do in such a case. Ariely asserted that the solution lies in making clear rules, such as excluding drunk participants, for an experiment prior to starting due to “our conflicts of interest, our motivation to seriality in a certain way.” Above all, he emphasized the need to respect all experimental results. “We need to celebrate all results and not just the results that agree with our initial intuition,” Ariely said. Complications can arise in models that are too complex, as well. Taking a technical look at machine learning, Carlson described the problem of data overfitting—the idea that an increasingly complex model might fit data better but fail to predict more or future data—and the problems this predictive technique brings to the real world. It is for this reason that Carlson stressed the importance of creating a one-time use data test set. The test set aims to mimic a new real world experiment, a relatively straightforward feat that is often not carried out, he argued. Grambow added a statistical perspective to the discussion. Some researchers view “data as a thing onto itself,” and he countered that this is not often true. There is a “research protocol” that occurs before the data is gathered, he said, and each step is critical for obtaining a “clear inference on the study question.” This process involves “how the data is to be collected, how it is to be managed, how it is to be analyzed,” he explained. “Statistics as a discipline has to some degree failed, because

Mary Helen Wood | Photography Editor One speaker mentioned a Harvard experiment in which a drunk participant skewed the results of the study.

we often teach statistics as here’s some data let’s analyze it, and that’s not how science actually works,” Grambow said. To elucidate his point on correcting false data, he pointed to a case in pediatric psychology where consultation data was erroneous and led to incorrect conclusions. The false conclusions were due to a failure to reverse the code for some of the questions on a survey, he said. Problems like those in the pediatric psychology case may occur because the programmer, data collector and statistician “never had a conversation,” Granbow added. “We need to change things so that people are intrinsically motivated to do good science,” he said. “We need better team science. We need to create better incentives. We need to increase resources for doing transparent and reproducible science, and we need to educate people so they know how to do reproducible research.”

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SQUID FROM PAGE 1 Johnsen said. Armed with a robotic submarine, a trawling net—the kind of fishing net that commercial fishing crews would use—and the Medusa camera, the team set out for weeks at sea. As it turned out, the squid was in more of a hurry than the expedition was. “Amazingly, after only sending [the camera] down five times, we picked up a giant squid,” Johnsen said. The team hurried to the mess hall—the dining area of the ship—and huddled around the computer to watch the squid drift into view and grab the camera before backing off when it realized that it probably wasn’t food. That’s when lightning struck—literally. “We see this huge column of yellow and gray smoke about 50 or 60 feet tall off the back of the ship,” Johnsen said. “We look back at the ship and we see that the entire mast is gone.” While no one was hurt, the lightning strike cost the ship its communication equipment, which they needed in order to get in touch with experts and confirm that they really had spotted a giant squid. When they eventually got through, they got their confirmation. The next step was getting in touch with a reporter at a national newspaper, no easy feat for a small group of scientists in the Gulf of Mexico claiming to have just recorded video of a giant squid. As Johnsen pointed out, it’s a difficult story to get picked up out of the blue, similar to emailing a newspaper with your most recent picture of a UFO. “If you go on the web portal for the New York Times and type that you’ve just seen a giant squid, nobody writes back,” Johnsen said. Eventually, they were put in touch with a contact at the New York Times. Days later, the story was out, bringing unusual attention to the world of ocean biology research cruises, with

Johnsen at the center. Johnsen and another researcher on the research cruise also documented the research cruise’s events in the team’s mission log, which is available to the public on NOAA’s website.

‘B for biology’

While the squid-hunting research cruise was a giant accomplishment, Johnsen’s career path up to now has been far from smooth sailing. The son of a physicist and a doctor, Johnsen’s path to biology was improbable. It seemed even less likely in the 1980s, when he enrolled at Swarthmore College—a small liberal arts college in the Philadelphia suburbs—to study physics. The choice of college was not driven by any particular drive to pursue a science career at a liberal arts school, but rather by Swarthmore College’s proximity to a family friend’s hardware store. The physics dream was short-lived, as Johnsen jumped ship to the math department, inspired by a particularly colorful algebra professor and an aversion to what he calls the dry world of physics. At Swarthmore, Johnsen also dabbled in art and dance, knowing that he wasn’t interested in becoming a mathematician. “I left having no idea what I wanted to do with myself,” Johnsen said. After graduation, with little idea of what he wanted to do, Johnsen made the obvious choice—he hopped on a plane to the West Coast and spent time hitchhiking along the Pacific. Along the way, he took time to set up a daycare center, and he taught kindergarten and first grade. Johnsen also dabbled in careers more aligned with his math background, spending time as an assistant to Stuart Kauffman, a theoretical biologist whose research focused on complex systems related to the origins of life on earth. Kauffman has also had a taste of scientific stardom, cited by novelist Michael

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Crichton as one of the scientific sources for “The Lost World,” the sequel to “Jurassic Park.” Eventually he decided to come back home, or at least his college roots, and returned to the Philadelphia area as a carpenter. After one particularly bad day of carpentry, Johnsen and his friend had had enough. In the car back from the failed job, they decided that they needed to sort out their futures. True to Johnsen’s career, they went about it in a fairly unorthodox way. “We each went through the alphabet and I stopped at B for biology for no good reason,” Johnsen said. “We literally dared each other to go to graduate school in a subject from the alphabet.” A dare is a dare, so Johnsen pulled together an application for biology graduate programs and sent it out to three schools—Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Chicago. He never expected to hear back from any of them, but they came calling anyway. Now faced with a choice between three schools that he had assumed would laugh at his application, Johnsen passed on Duke for the other end of Tobacco Road. Even without actual biology experience, the admissions committee was interested in bringing Johnsen in—as he tells it, they thought that it would be easier to teach a physicist biology than to teach a biologist physics. Once he was in, it was another story. At their initial meeting, his first faculty committee was skeptical, to say the least. “It wasn’t until they had admitted me that they suddenly realized that they’d made a mistake,” Johnsen said. That skepticism wasn’t nearly enough to deter a sort of physicist, sort of kindergarten teacher, sort of carpenter dead set on making it work in biology. The first couple of years were a grind, sustained by Johnsen’s ability to draw bugs better than most biologists, most of whom had shockingly limited art experience.

As he grew more comfortable in biology, he started branching out and seeking more outof-the-box opportunities, until he stepped foot on a research cruise. “Every part of it was amazing, and in many ways pretty miserable,” Johnsen remembered. Since then, Johnsen’s career has turned markedly more conventional. Johnsen received his doctorate in biology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1996. He has been teaching at Duke since 2001, ran the graduate school’s biology admissions program for eight admissions cycles and lives nearby with his family. When he returned to Duke, the consistency was remarkable for Johnsen, who found a situation much like the one he had gotten used to in graduate school, when he took many of his classes at Duke. “I still had the same library fines from when I was a student,” Johnsen said. His career appeared conventional, with the obvious exception of taking somewhere between two and six weeks a year to venture out onto the open waters to find whatever there is to find. After all of those twists and turns, Johnsen is reluctant to recommend his path to students in 2019. That being said, he still emphasizes that knowing exactly what you want to do out of school is both rare and unnecessary. “I loved every moment, all the way through,” Johnsen said.

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HEALTH CARE

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The new reform relies on close partnerships between health care providers, something that Thomas Owens, president of Duke University in 48 states with varying levels of success, and Hospital and senior vice president for Duke alternative payment models represented 34% of University Health System, described as one of all payments in 2017. States like New York have the main forces driving the movement. tested and implemented value-based systems “Blue Cross and the state have been really for Medicaid and are progressing towards challenging us,” Owens said. “We try to see the new approaches to maternity care and HIV world through each other’s eyes, learn about treatment. what challenges we face and how we might In North Carolina, value-based payment better serve patients by working together.” models have already been implemented in Owens emphasized that Duke Health is trying areas like Winston-Salem, where physicians to move away from transactional relationships at Ardmore Family Practice receive extra pay and focus more on patients themselves, a process in addition to a standard charge when certain that has been ongoing for several years. quality outcomes are achieved. “Another key driver of change is that patient Eick wrote that the transition is “an essential preferences are changing,” Owens said. “Patients focus of our work at Duke-Margolis,” a center are seeking care differently.” within the University Owens explained that that aims to produce North Carolina is health care needs and innovative solutions for dramatically redesigning the preferences are changing healthcare dilemmas. across age groups, so The center collaborates way health care is paid for younger people may have with industry and policy and delivered in the state. different expectations experts to develop, than older generations. implement and evaluate robert eick The region served by POLICY FELLOW AT THE DUKE MARGOLIS Duke University Hospital health policy in the state CENTER of North Carolina. also treats more diabetes The Duke University and smoking-related Health System also worked with Blue Cross diseases than other regions, so this needs to be NC to spearhead the health care reform taken into account instead of developing a onewithin its facilities. size-fits-all approach. This reform is not the first time the two have North Carolina is also working to promote worked together, as they formed a new insurance health in other ways. company, Experience Health, as a joint venture The state Medicaid division recently launched two years ago. The company was created to meet the Healthy Opportunities program, which aims the needs of seniors, and it will be launching a to address underlying causes of health issues, Medicare Advantage program in January 2020, such as housing stability. Duke is also involved in according to a news release. that program, as Mark McClellan, director of the That launch is happening alongside the Duke-Margolis Center, serves on the advisory launch of Blue Premier—a collective effort panel for Healthy Opportunities. including Blue Cross NC and Duke Health “It certainly feels like a challenging time for alongside a host of other state health care many in health care with all the changes coming, providers—which would place responsibility for but that means it’s also a really exciting time,” costs and care on providers. Owens said. FROM PAGE 1

ASHBY

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service, improving leadership and mentorship amongst faculty and fostering diversity. Since she first came to Duke, there has provost for the arts, as Scott Lindroth, professor been significant progress, she said. Trinity of music and the current vice provost, will be College has hired stronger and more diverse stepping down from the role. The Board of faculty, improved leadership mentoring of new Trustees is also in the process of developing a professors through a variety of initiatives and new plan for the arts, she said. increased racial and economic diversity in the She referenced a program that is currently student body, she explained. underway to enhance teaching, led by the However, faculty must become more diverse Dean of Academic Affairs John Blackshear. in the future, she added. The program aims to improve the content “We have a long way to go,” she said, though and atmosphere in classrooms, she added, and she noted that there has been improvements. Blackshear is collaborating The number of black with departments faculty in Trinity on “enhancing the So a lot of conversations will College has increased introduction to the be had with departments from 35 to 50 since she disciplines,” as well as came to Duke, she said. helping departments to about choices, because Ashby has been collaborate and share best there isn’t an extra 3.5 repeatedly vocal practices. about her priorities. million dollars in here. Another program She lamented Ashby mentioned entails the “inconsistent valerie ashby excellence” of Trinity a “global perspectives DEAN OF TRINITY COLLEGE OF ARTS AND hiring” initiative, which will College in a 2017 SCENCES eventually hire six faculty speech to the Duke members who focus on Student Government African, Latinx and Asian American studies. Senate, and she outlined her priorities to DSG She also spoke about the importance of again in 2018 and 2019. improving the quality of graduate programs Although she outlined things that should and making graduate students feel like true change, Ashby was clear that she is happy here Duke students. Ashby is working to foster at Duke. She said that she loves the faculty, the communication among directors of graduate administration and the trust between them. Most studies and institute a policy that requires DGSs importantly, she loves the students. to be approved by divisional deans. “I still love my job. I jump up and down “We would never have [directors of when I love something,” she said. She jumped undergraduate studies] that we had not as she spoke. approved,” she said. Ashby was re-appointed in February to In other business: a second five-year term as dean of Trinity Chair of the Council José María Rodríguez College, and she reiterated her desire to García, associate professor of romance studies, create a “culture of consistent excellence” noted that a Q&A with Matt Serra, director of throughout the college during Thursday’s Trinity College’s Office of Assessment, had been meeting. This includes three areas of focus: postponed until the next Academic Council hiring faculty who will promote research and meeting because Serra was ill. FROM PAGE 1

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OLD MAN YOUNG

MEN’S SOCCER: BESTED BY NO. 6 VIRGINIA • MEN’S BASKETBALL: GRAD STUDENTS CAMP FOR TICKETS


FOOTBALL

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6 | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

CUT-THROAT

Duke slices Middle Tennessee behind aggressive playcalling By Shane Smith Blue Zone Editor

MURFREESBORO,Tenn.—After opening the season with two noncompetitive games, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe had no problem bringing some excitement with his game plan, even if the score differential stayed the same. Cutcliffe and his staff unleashed an assault on the Blue Raiders, leading the Blue Devils to a 41-18 win against DUKE 41 Middle Tennessee MTSU 18 Saturday night at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium. He let quarterback Quentin Harris sling it around the field as he pleased, threw in an onside kick and went for it on fourth down twice, converting both. “The onside kick, I just made the decision during the week that the second kick was going to be an onside kick,” Cutcliffe said. “If you don’t do that then you’re never trying it. I thought it had a chance of building momentum. If you steal a possession and then score, it really hurts the opposing team.” A week after tallying 428 total yards of offense, Harris shined once again with pinpoint accuracy and soft touch. The redshirt

senior finished the game with 237 yards and four touchdowns through the air, also rushing for 107 yards. Harris also showed off his knack for finding receivers behind the defense with four completions over 18 yards. “If they were going to play us in press man, then we felt like our matchups were good,” Cutcliffe said. “I thought Quentin played mentally as well as any quarterback we’ve had since we’ve been at Duke tonight.” On Middle Tennessee’s opening drive, Duke (2-1) looked nothing like the team that kept Alabama off the scoreboard in the first quarter two weeks ago. Blue Raider quarterback Asher O’Hara picked through the Blue Devil defense on short throws and moved the ball down the field. Even when Middle Tennessee was pushed to a third and 28, O’Hara streaked through the defense and back into field goal range for a 20yard gain. One 41-yard kick on the next play put the home team on the board first. But then, Cutcliffe provided a spark that Duke turned into a Blue Raider-engulfing wildfire. Facing a fourth and 1 on the Middle Tennessee 19, the Blue Devil head honcho chose to keep the drive in Harris’ hands, who found Noah Gray for a quick completion. Deon Jackson would score four plays later. “I’m going to go for statistics,” Cutcliffe said

Mary Helen Wood | Photography Editor

David Cutcliffe and company went pedal to the metal against the Blue Raiders Saturday. on his fourth down philosophy. “When they tell you to go for it on fourth down, I’m doing it. I believe in that. I believe that’s how you play to win. Our team has already been mentally and emotionally trained that way.” With a 7-3 lead, Cutcliffe kept his foot on the gas, as Duke surprised Middle Tennessee

head coach Rick Stockstill with an onside kick. Damond Philyaw-Johnson pounced on the football and the Blue Devils were in the end zone in less than two minutes, this time on a dazzling catch and run from Jalon Calhoun for See CUT-THROAT on Page 9

FOOTBALL

‘He’s finding himself ’: Aaron Young enjoys career night By Shane Smith Blue Zone Editor

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.—It can be hard to stop momentum. As Aaron Young was suspended in midair after high pointing a 25-yard shot from Quentin Harris, it took a forceful toe tap with the left leg just inside the end zone to change the story of the throw, and perhaps a career. Young’s mesmerizing touchdown to end the second half of Duke’s 41-18 win over Middle Tennessee was the highlight of a night the redshirt senior has been waiting for since the start of his career. Young tallied six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns, headlining a passing attack that helped the Blue Devils put the Blue Raiders away early. After an injury-riddled 2018 and doubts on whether or not he would ever don Duke blue again, Young showed off the valuable skillset Saturday that has been apparent since his freshman season. “I couldn’t be happier for a young person than I am for Aaron,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. “I told him back at the hotel that I want to see him relax and try to have some fun tonight. Quit worrying. Loosen up a bit. Low and behold, I’m going to tell him that every week I guess. He sure had fun.”

Mary Helen Wood | Photography Editor

Aaron Young enjoyed a career night, hauling in six grabs for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Young bullied the Blue Raider secondary all night with his elite size and reliable hands. He even displayed some fancy footwork on the first touchdown and an earlier fourth down conversion. “He’s always been a hard worker and you can see what he’s able to do when he is fully healthy,” Young’s quarterback Harris said of

him. “Just his ability to go up for contested catches, use his physicality as a 6-foot-5 receiver and use that to his advantage.” The trajectory of the California native’s career has seesawed since he arrived on campus in 2015. After redshirting his first season, Young played in 11 games in 2016, starting two and catching as many

touchdowns. After earning second team freshman All-ACC by Athlon Sports that season, he followed it up by playing in all 13 games in 2017. The following year, poised to be a breakout threat, he ran into a rough patch. Young totaled four catches for 114 yards and a score in the Blue Devils’ season opener, but would go on to play in just one more game during 2018 while dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. Then in January, the Murrieta Valley High School product announced he would enter the transfer portal and play elsewhere for his final year of eligibility. Two weeks later though, he had a change of heart and chose to stay in Durham to finish out his career. “Last year was a very emotional year just because of the way things turned out with the injury,” Young expressed. “It does feel very good to come back out here and get a win for the team and play well.” Throughout the 2019 season, Young has been flanked by a talented group of young freshmen who are making immediate impacts for a receiving unit that was expected to struggle in 2019. Both Eli Pancol and Jalon Calhoun reached the end zone Saturday for their second and third touchdowns of the year, respectively. Neither of the two were elite recruits expected to contribute right See YOUNG on Page 8


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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 | 7

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Why grad students overran K-Ville this weekend By Derek Saul Sports Editor

Braving the elements in Krzyzewskiville for a chance to see the men’s basketball team play in Cameron Indoor Stadium has been a rite of passage for Duke undergraduates for a long time. Now, it’s graduate students’ time to join in on the fun. Spiked seltzer cans galore and overcrowded tents lined the grassy area in front of Cameron this weekend, as about 1,700 Duke graduate students vied for better odds at earning men’s

basketball season tickets over a 36-hour period at Campout 2019. Approximately half of campers won the opportunity to purchase season tickets for the 2019-20 campaign through the primary lottery. “I didn’t know anybody, but everybody’s super friendly,” Andrea Brucculeri, a first-year master’s student studying computational media, said. “It was easy to just run and play and have a good time and the weather was great.” Regulated by the Basketball Committee, Campout requires participating graduate students to remain in Krzyzewskiville for random checks, when campers have a

Eric Wei | Sports Photography Editor

Graduate students flocked to Krzyzewskiville, the grassy area before Cameron Indoor Stadium.

10-minute window to report. Depending on how many checks campers attend, they receive more entries into the primary lottery. An attendance level of 100 percent results in six lottery entries, between 95 and 99 percent results in three entries, between 90 and 94 percent results in two entries, between 80 and 89 percent results in one entry and below 80 percent results in a loss of entries. The primary lottery was held Sunday, though those not selected still will have the opportunity to get tickets for individual games or attend games through walk-up line. Graduate students that did not attend Campout are eligible for a

secondary lottery with longer odds of receiving student tickets. While Truly and White Claw—both explicitly referenced in Campout’s official policies—kept everybody in a happy mood, not everything about Campout was glamorous. “It’s loud all night, they’re waking you up at 6 a.m., 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., so you really can’t sleep, especially since the last check was 2:15 am or something,” Brucculeri, who actually attended North Carolina for her undergraduate studies, said. “Then it got hot and there’s not a lot to do See CAMPOUT on Page 8

Eric Wei | Sports Photography Editor

The festivities continued at Campout for 36 hours, lasting from Friday to Sunday.

MEN’S SOCCER

Blue Devils bested by UVA in ACC heavyweight battle By Cam Polo Associate Sports Editor

Though one may think a date such as Friday the 13th would favor the eerilynamed Blue Devils, fortune was not with Duke Friday evening. While soccer is a game played in halves, the first 45 minutes of the contest took a decidedly football-esque approach. It was a tale of two quarters: the Blue Devils owning the first, and more even play characterizing the latter. The teams retired at a score of 1-1, but the second frame was all Virginia, the side in white 3 and orange netting UVA 1 two quick goals to DUKE put the game away and prove it belongs in national title conversation. No. 2 Duke struck early, but once the sixth-ranked Cavaliers got a hold on the game, they converted on key Blue Devil mistakes, walking out of Koskinen Stadium with a convincing 3-1 win against their previously undefeated foe. “We were doing all the right things, we just didn’t finish,” lamented Duke head coach John Kerr. “Games are decided on moments, and momentum changes based on those moments.” In the opening minutes, Virginia put the

first shot on net, though it was not long until Duke took command of the pitch— even if only for a short time—the fifth minute seeing the Blue Devils put together a quick counterattack. That is when all the players on the pitch seemed to vanish—all save for Daniele Proch and Aedan Stanley. Proch touched

the ball to his teammate, spinning around a defender as he gathered the return pass, took a long touch and sent a gorgeous cross to the back post, where fans were reminded that soccer is played with more than one attacker. Kristofer Gardarsson seemed to appear in the perfect spot, beating his defender clean and finding the ball in the

Jackson Muraika | Associate Photography Editor

Kristofer Gardarsson netted the first goal of the game, but it was Duke’s only goal of the night.

air, heading it across the goalmouth and finding the left side of the net to give Duke the early advantage, 1-0. But, alas, this was to be the shining light in an otherwise subpar showing from the Blue Devils. The game resumed in the second half at a similar, frenzied pace to the close of the first, but this time with the Cavaliers dominating play. Things got chippy, as multiple fouls were called and a yellow card was issued to Joe Bell of Virginia. But the Cavaliers did not let the newfound aggression affect their game plan. In just the fourth minute back from the break, Brandon Williamson of Duke sent an errant pass right into the Virginia midfield, sparking a quick counterattack. Cavalier forward Nathaniel Crofts, Jr found the back of the cage off an outstanding run, beating Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic low in a moment that he assuredly would have wanted back. “They had a good gameplan, they worked hard,” said Kerr regarding the offensive play of Virginia. “They took advantage of their opportunities.” The Cavaliers (4-0, 1-0 in the ACC) continued this trend, and in rather quick See M. SOCCER on Page 9


8 | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

The Chronicle

dukechronicle.com

YOUNG

CAMPOUT

FROM PAGE 6

FROM PAGE 7

away—both were ranked as three-stars—but made their mark in camp to earn significant roles early on. “They all are very mature for their age,” Young said. “They are definitely more mature than I was as a freshman. That is a big part of why they are able to be on the field so early and why they’re all true freshmen and making plays already. They’ve done all the things right off the field. They’re working hard, studying hard, doing their best to get better in the training room no matter what it is.” Besides Scott Bracey, who entered this season with 11 career receptions, Young was the only non-freshman wide receiver to catch a pass against the Blue Raiders. The redshirt senior has taken on a leadership role for the inexperienced group, especially with expected starter Jake Bobo missing the first three games with a clavicle injury. “He’s not going to say much of anything,” Cutcliffe said on Young’s ability to lead. “He’s not a verbal guy at all, but the way Aaron goes about working, he’s consistent and he never misses. He’s tough physically.” For as impressive as the receivers have been through a quarter of the regular season, they’re expected to get even better. Bobo was active for the first time this season and was on the field prepared to take a snap before a timeout was called. The sophomore didn’t see action after that, but is expected to contribute in two weeks when Duke faces off at Virginia Tech and will give Harris another big target. Anything can happen over the course of the season to turn a streaking unit in the other direction, from slumps to injury. With his emotional 2018 behind him however, Young is unquestionably the Blue Devils’ most reliable option as a pass catcher and will be called upon for consistent top performances as the program begins its quest for a second ACC Coastal division title. “The script hasn’t been written like he wanted it to and now he’s finding himself,” Cutcliffe said. “Now my job is to make sure he maintains that same spirit.”

and not a lot of food, and you can tell people are stir crazy. “But it’s an experience. You have less than a 50 percent chance of getting the tickets, which, if I overthink it, stresses me out, but then I’m like, ‘No, life’s about the journey, I’m here for the experience. I’m not just here for the tickets, it’s so I can do a Duke thing.’” For many of the campers that are new to Duke, Campout was odd, though a true welcome to the Duke community. “I’m pretty comfortable camping, but the tent gets a little cramped—lots of bodies, lots of heat—but it’s a lot of fun,” Eric Reynolds, a first-year MBA student who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said. “We made it work.” Campout resembles the more recognized tenting practice of Duke undergraduates, which involves students sleeping outdoors for weeks leading up to the Blue Devils’ home game against their bitter rival, North Carolina. The hotly anticipated contest will be held March 7.

Mary Helen Wood | Photography Editor

Jalon Calhoun is one of the blossoming Duke wideouts.

Eric Wei | Sports Photography Editor

Nearly 2,000 campers packed into Krzyzewskivile.

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CUT-THROAT FROM PAGE 6 his third touchdown of the year. After getting some time to regroup, the defense found its groove. After racking up 51 yards on the opening drive, the Blue Raiders could only muster 46 more for the rest of the half. Led by redshirt sophomore Chris Rumph II with four tackles for loss including a pair of sacks, the defensive line put pressure on O’Hara, forcing him to rush his throws. “We just settled down into the game,” Rumph said on how the defense adjusted. “We knew we had a good game plan going in and we just got collective as a group, did our thing, ran the calls and did our job. We just played calm.” Much has been made of Duke’s crop of talented freshmen wide receivers, but it was the veteran Aaron Young who dominated Middle Tennessee’s secondary with an array of deep balls. The redshirt senior has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career, but answered the bell whenever the coaching staff called for a deep shot. Young finished the game with six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. “[Harris] and I have been throwing and catching together since 2015 when we first got here. We do have a good connection already established and you saw it tonight,” Young emphasized. With both units clicking, the Blue Devils rolled through the rest of the first half. After an A.J. Reed 49-yard field goal, Harris connected with freshman Eli Pancol in the back corner of the end zone. Young then snagged his first score by high pointing a 25-yard pass and just tapping his left foot inbounds to put Duke up 31-3 at halftime. Sophomore Jake Bobo was active for the first time this season after suffering a broken clavicle during training camp in August. The wideout was on the field ready for his first snap in the second quarter, but a timeout was called and he did not have a catch all night. The Blue Devils came out of the locker room running, as Harris called his own number on a 65-yard run to the Blue Raider 11-yard line. Calhoun would go on to drop an easy touchdown on third down and Duke settled for three. Middle

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 | 9

Tennessee was able to use that momentum to go on a quick seven-play drive ending in a 26-yard touchdown strike from O’Hara to C.J. Windham. With Middle Tennessee (1-2) threatening to take over the momentum, Cutcliffe and his staff temporarily abandoned the aggressive approach by bringing out the triple-option offense that the Blue Devils featured against Alabama. What resulted was a 12play, 84-yard drive capped by Young’s second touchdown, a cherry on top for a dominant Duke performance. “That’s how we want to play each game—just being aggressive and really trying to get on top of our opponent and maintain our advantage,” Harris said. “I thought we were aggressive with our play calls, throwing down the field, mixing in runs and things like that. Kind of blending the three phases of the game as well.” Duke will get a chance to catch its breath next week as they have an open week. Then, it’s on to conference play with a primetime Friday night showdown in Blacksburg, Va., against a Virginia Tech team that’s stumbling out of the gate in 2019.

M. SOCCER FROM PAGE 7

fashion. Though the Blue Devils had the occasional promising attack, the pace of Virginia’s counter-strikes was just too much for the battered back line. In the 71st minute, it was forward Daryl Dike that stole the show, taking cue from Proch’s first half dominance. Getting the ball inside the 18, Dike utilized his large frame masterfully, holding off multiple Duke defenders and spinning off multiple would-be tackles. Through the dizziness he was undoubtedly suffering from at this point, he found a wide-open Spencer Patton in front, Patton passing the ball across the goal line to extend the Cavalier advantage to 3-1. Duke (4-1, 0-1 ACC) controlled play for the fifteen minutes after Gardarsson’s early goal, taking advantage of Virginia’s stayat-home defensive tendencies to go at the team with pace, again and again. An errant Cavalier header sled to a Duke shot pushed to the side by Virginia goalkeeper Colin Shutler, and the ensuing corner almost saw the Blue Devils take an intimidating 2-0 advantage. A nifty pass by Proch heard a gasp from the crowd as Duke just could not convert, a great chance in front ending in a shot easily swallowed up by the keeper. After netting its third goal, Virginia put the game on cruise control, seeing out the final 20 minutes with the only action being a little feistiness from both sides, borne from a game with a decided outcome. Emotions ran high, but did not boil over the top, both sides accepting their lot and knowing that this is just the beginning of a long season. Yellow cards were sprinkled here and there, but the fire had left the game, taking with it the strength of the Blue Devils. The contest ended with the defeated Duke team fighting until the end, pushing an attack or two, but nothing truly threatening enough for the Cavaliers to do anything but coast. “It is what it is, and we’re going to have to get a little tougher,” Kerr said. The New York Times Syndication Corporation And theSales Blue Devils must in a quick manner if they wish to 620 EighthEditor Avenue,hold Newonto York, N.Y. Mary Helen Wood | Photography their high10018 ranking in the polls, with games coming up Information 1-800-972-3550 Quentin Harris had a hyper-accurate nightFor once again. Call: next week against SMU and Clemson. For ForRelease ReleaseMonday, Friday, September September13, 16,2019 2019

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Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 7,000 past puzzles, nytimes.com/crosswords ($39.95 a year). Read about and comment on each puzzle: nytimes.com/wordplay.


T H E I N D E P E N D E N T D A I LY AT D U K E U N I V E R S I T Y

The Chronicle

Guest column: Looking down on international students is patronizing This column was written in response to “The cost of being an international student,” which was published on September 11, 2019. ear Felicia, As an international student at Duke, I appreciate your initiative to join the International Association and connect with those who share different life experiences from you. Although Duke is still within your 30-mileradius around Cary, North Carolina, it is indeed

D

came with deeply problematic underpinnings and gross misrepresentations of international students. You criticized the fact that Facebook leads people to “believe that all international students are stupidly rich.” Your article, on the other hand, portrays all international students as people who are fleeing from tragedy-stricken territories, desperately vying for an opportunity to reconstruct our pitifully broken lives in the United States of America, a wondrous land of opportunity and freedom. Both are miserably wrong.

Junette Yu GUEST COLUMN an excellent place to explore different perspectives. Here, everyone has a chance to build relationships with fellow students from diverse backgrounds, and engage together in reflections about culture and identity. This is a remarkable learning experience with lots to be gained, but only if approached with the right attitude. Unfortunately, Felicia, your article

hot take of the week “Lilly Library is the best study spot on campus.”

—Jake Satisky, Editor-in-Chief, on September 15, 2019

LETTERS POLICY

Direct submissions to:

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Est. 1905

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dukechronicle.com commentary

10 | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

E-mail: chronicleletters@duke.edu Editorial Page Department The Chronicle Box 90858, Durham, NC 27708

Citing a few examples of political conflict and natural disaster, you articulated your sympathy for international students and the difficulties some of us go through. I do not doubt that those stories are worth mentioning—they are valid struggles and genuine lived experiences of our peers. I do, however, question your selection of those particular stories to share. Was it because you believed those were common experiences amongst international students, or because those were easy sensational stories that align with your underlying view that international students are escaping persecution of some sort to seek hope in your country? A language of pathos and passivity runs throughout your article. International students are “forced to” pay for CPT writing classes, “screwed over” by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “forced to” band together to petition, and risk being “kicked out” of the country. When you could have described the challenges international students face in many different

ways, you chose a tone of victimisation. But we are not victims, we are not merely passive recipients of your country’s actions. The opportunity to pursue education at an intellectually rigorous environment like Duke is not an act of mercy extended to pairs of begging hands. We all worked hard to be here, and decided to come here out of our own volition, fully aware that there will be hurdles to overcome. In the face of obstacles such as OPT delays or visa complications, if you can offer only pity, then please respectfully stay in your lane. Before you feel proud about your attempt to speak up for international students, please recognize your own biases. Friendships with international students should not serve as a platform for domestic students to claim their privileges, as it risks implying that international students are “less privileged.” The United States is not the best country in the world. Just as some of us grew up amidst geopolitical conflict which you can only read about, some of us grew up reading about school shootings and terrorist attacks that may very well have had a close impact on your life. Some of us are excited about building our future careers in the United States, others might rather live elsewhere. Some of us miss home dearly, others enjoy the independence of being several long-haul flights away from home. And these are not binaries— many of us are somewhere in between. Felicia, there are both pros and cons, and a wide array of subjective experiences for anyone living anywhere. I am glad you have grown to appreciate the “boredom” of North Carolina, but to me, an international student, your article is just at best an egocentric proclamation of how much perspective you think you have, and at worst an embarrassing revelation of how much perspective you do not have. Junette Yu is a Trinity senior.

Letter: Why is the Duke Blue Devil still white?

Phone: (919) 684-2663 Fax: (919) 684-4696

The Chronicle

Inc. 1993

JAKE SATISKY, Editor DEREK SAUL, Sports Editor STEFANIE POUSOULIDES, News Editor NATHAN LUZUM, KATHRYN SILBERSTEIN, Managing Editors LEXI KADIS, Senior Editor MICHAEL MODEL, Digital Strategy Director MARY HELEN WOOD, CHARLES YORK, Photography Editor LEAH ABRAMS, Editorial Page Editor NINA WILDER, Recess Editor CHRISSY BECK, General Manager CONNER MCLEOD, Sports Managing Editor CARTER FORINASH, University News Editor MATTHEW GRIFFIN, University News Editor PRIYA PARKASH, University News Editor MONA TONG, Local & National News Editor ROSE WONG, Local & National News Editor MARIA MORRISON, Health & Science News Editor EMILY QIN, News Photography Editor ERIC WEI, Sports Photography Editor MICHELLE TAI , Features Photography Editor AARON ZHAO, Features Photography Editor MIHIR BELLAMKONDA, Editorial Page Managing Editor MAX LABATON, Editorial Page Managing Editor SELENA QIAN, Graphics Editor BRE BRADHAM, Video Editor

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The Chronicle is published by the Duke Student Publishing Company, Inc., a non-profit corporation independent of Duke University. The opinions expressed in this newspaper are not necessarily those of Duke University, its students, faculty, staff, administration or trustees. Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board. Columns, letters and cartoons represent the views of the authors. To reach the Editorial Office at 301 Flowers Building, call 684-2663 or fax 684-4696. To reach the Business Office at 1517 Hull Avenue call 684-3811. To reach the Advertising Office at 2022 Campus Drive call 684-3811. One copy per person; additional copies may be purchased for .25 at The Chronicle Business office at the address above. @ 2019 Duke Student Publishing Company

I

applaud the measures that Duke is taking to explore blatant and hidden racism, bring light onto these issues and strongly move away from its segregated past.

Lin Giralt LETTER TO THE EDITOR One notable and highly visible element remains: The Duke Blue Devil is white. Or, a pinkish version of white. If we were true to the original idea, it (I assume devils have no gender, whether they wear Prada or not) should be blue. If aligned with today’s multi-racial and nondiscriminatory views, I imagine the global mixture of all existing skin colors would be a darker hue

Chronicle File Photo

than the current pinkish Blue Devil... it certainly should reflect that the global population has a range of ethnicities and regional groups, including Han Chinese/Asian, European/Caucasian, African, Middle Eastern, Native Peoples (Americas and Oceania) and others that I have surely forgotten. A true rainbow. Were we to try to mix other human ethnic qualities into the Blue Devil, the pointy ears must surely go! I have no idea what color would remain, but not pinky white. I’m not advocating we get rid of the trident, tail or ears, but surely we have outgrown that pinkish complexion. Besides, what kind of hellfire burn protection would be needed? Thoughts only. Best, Lin Giralt, T’77 Lin Giralt graduated with the class of 1977. He is a Director with Lamda International Consulting.


The Chronicle

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dukechronicle.com commentary

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 | 11

When pain becomes an identity

hat would it look like for your pain to take up space?” asked my therapist, rephrasing a question I have been asking about a thousand different ways, in conversations with most of the people I love, for at least eleven years.

Liddy Grantland FEEL YOUR FEELINGS I have been in pain for most of my life. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was ten years old. I wore a back brace twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the next five years. When bracing failed to stop my spine from being crooked, I had spinal fusion surgery. I was seventeen, the summer before I started my senior year of high school. The goal was to make my back hurt less by making it straight. But after my doctor drilled two titanium rods, six hooks, and eight screws into my now-straight spine, and I spent months getting better from a surgery that was harder than I could have imagined, my back did not hurt less. If anything, it hurt more. I’ve spent the past four years trying to make this constant, intense, lingering pain disappear. It wasn’t until April of this year, though, that I saw a doctor who told me what I had known but refused to believe: this body was not going to get better. I can treat the pain, but I cannot make it go away. It is not temporary. It is something that is and will always be inherent to me—where this body goes, so too will this pain. It is not a condition; it’s an identity. I spend a lot of time at Duke, inside and outside of the classroom, talking about identity. I study African American Studies and English so questions of identity—especially race and gender—are at the forefront of most of the classes I’ve taken. I am accustomed to talking about how an author or decision-maker’s identity impacts what they say and do, and how people of privileged identities so often do and say harmful, violent, and oppressive things as a result of their identification with an empowered identity.

I knew that identity is not always something immediately discernible by looking at someone, and that the only thing we can assume about each other is our complexity. That’s why introducing oneself with one’s pronouns is so important, why assuming a person’s race based on their phenotype is wrong, why treating everybody as if they are heterosexual, cisgender, middle-class, and do not have a disability is harmful. Even so, I’ve had a difficult time treating chronic pain as an identity. Am I a person with a disability, someone who “has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity?” Does it “count” as a disability, even if my ability fluctuates day-to-day, if I don’t have a specific diagnosis beyond the diagnosis of chronic pain, if my body looks like a body that doesn’t have a disability? If I were to say that I am a person with a disability, would I be appropriating the term, soaking up resources and attention that should go to people with “real” disabilities? What would it look like for this pain to take up space? I fear talking about chronic pain because I am still asking all of these questions. I don’t know what to call it, and I don’t know whether it matters what I call it. I don’t know how much of it to share with the people I love, knowing that neither they nor I can fix it. I fear this pain taking up space, even in the space of this column. At what point is it not worth talking about, since the only person whose life it will change is mine? When I find myself going down that spiral—one of shame and silence—I remind myself that this pain has changed many lives alongside my own. It has changed the lives of my family, my friends, my partner. I wish it hadn’t. But it is always taking up space, even if I try to shrink it down to fit inside my body and my body alone. I also remind myself that the world is not built for people with chronic pain. The world at large, and particularly the world of Duke, assumes able-bodiedness to be the norm as it assumes whiteness, assumes maleness, assumes a binary gender identity, assumes mental health, assumes wealth, assumes heterosexuality, assumes Americanness, assumes privilege. The fact that I can ignore most of the ways our world and our campus privileges “normative,” historically empowered identities, that I can opt-in to those conversations but exist

What would it look like for this pain to take up space? Liddy Grantland feel your feelings

mostly comfortably in my positionality, is a function of being white and straight and cisgendered and upper-middle class and passing as a person who does not have a different ability status. The world privileges most of my intersecting identities, so I am often granted the privilege of ignorance. Chronic pain has added another intersection to my identity, one that reminds me everywhere I go that our structures— from how our buildings are built to how are classrooms are run—are not meant for people with disabilities. I cannot opt out of that conversation. Ability takes up space—in my life and in the lives of all of us—whether I want it to or not. I don’t know what it would mean for this pain to take up space in ways that go beyond the space this pain takes up in my mind and in conversations with other people. I don’t know how to take up space in an intentional way, in a way that may make living in the world easier for me and for other people with chronic pain. But I’m going to keep writing about it, talking about it, treating it as an identity that intersects with all of my other identities and all of your identities, too. I’m going to let it take up space even when it scares me. I hope you will join me. Liddy Grantland is a Trinity senior who relates really hard to hit classic “Titanium,” by David Guetta, featuring Sia. (Get it? Because of the rods? They’re titanium. The rods are.) Her column, feel your feelings, runs on alternate Mondays.

‘Effortless perfection’ and neoliberalism at Duke

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lmost immediately upon stepping foot on campus, most Duke students pick up on a pervasive culture of “effortless perfection.” Many students have already commented on this expectation to work hard and play hard, get perfect grades, have multiple leadership positions, conduct research, secure prestigious internships and still have

drained, and yet here we are. Why? Why is the pressure to “succeed” so pervasive and ingrained? We should know better—and yet here I am, writing this column at 6:30 a.m. My purpose in this column, therefore, is not to reiterate what students have said long before I matriculated and perhaps will continue to say long after I graduate.

Annie Yang PLANTING SEEDS a thriving social life. It’s a culture that has a truly pernicious effect on our mental and physical health, imbuing a deep sense of alienation, inadequacy, stress, depression, anxiety, and so on. Most of us clearly chafe against this impossible standard, and we remind each other frequently that what’s most important in life are our well-being, relationships with loved ones and memories we make with them. We urge one another to resist the pressure to overbook and overwork ourselves, to prioritize sleep, and to recognize that we’re not failures if we struggle. And yet, the pursuit of this elusive “effortless perfection” continues to hound us. The work hard, play hard mentality is taken for granted as a given part of Duke culture. You’re not a Duke student if you’re not cramming in Perkins, rushing off to your third meeting in a row or running on three hours of sleep. We wear our exhaustion as a perverse badge of honor. Collectively, there’s an acknowledgement that it’s messed up that so many of us are constantly stressed and

Rather, I hope to expose the identifiable, political forces that shape our undergraduate experience and offer a language to understand these forces. We should not be content with resigning ourselves to the idea that “this is just the way things are.” We are attending Duke in the age of the corporate, neoliberal university. Neoliberalism as an economic model, which took off under the Reagan administration, is the triumph of free-market capitalism. In the wake of neoliberalism, universities have adapted by “acting like capitalist enterprises...and increas[ing] managerial control of faculty.” It’s increasingly clear that higher education is a business, and we are its customers. We make an investment of a small fortune in our education in hopes that the payoff is a degree that will secure better job prospects. In 2009, the cost of attendance at Duke was $53,035. This year, it’s $73,519. To make those hundreds of thousands of dollars seem worth it, Duke invests in flashy buildings and amenities (rather than prioritizing student health insurance). To cut costs and still maximize

labor productivity, tenure track faculty positions are shrinking in number while Duke increasingly relies on the contingent labor of non-tenure track faculty to teach classes. And when I call Duke a neoliberal university, I mean it in an ideological sense as well. Neoliberalism as an ideology values individual responsibility, entrepreneurship, and self-management—in many ways it’s an extension of economic values into a broader social fabric. Analyzing how our lived experiences at Duke are shaped by neoliberalism can help us better understand why the culture “effortless perfection” is so damaging—and yet so persistent. I came from a competitive middle school and high school—as many Duke students did—and I was taught early on to treat my peers as competitors rather than collaborators (or, perhaps, co-conspirators). The individualist logic of neoliberalism positions each individual as responsible for their own success. In the rat race that was my high school, the implicit prerequisite to gaining admission to elite, private institutions was to outcompete and devour one another in grades, extracurriculars, and volunteering. When I arrived at Duke, the pressure didn’t stop, and in some ways, it escalated. College has become a prerequisite for many jobs, ever since the post-World War II G.I. Bill made higher education accessible to millions of veterans—though the bill’s benefits only extended to white men. Especially in the corporate, neoliberal university, college is less a place for a romanticized notion of “intellectual exploration” and more a preparatory space to groom the next generation of doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs. In order to best maximize our individual marketability and chances of securing a good

job after graduation, the logic of neoliberalism demands that we use every opportunity possible for self-improvement. We should major in something (usually a STEM field) that directly translates into lucrative careers. Our “leisure time” isn’t really leisure time at all because we need resume-boosters from organizations or activities that gives us a leg up in the internship/ job/graduate school market and distinguishes us from our competitors. When I tell myself to practice “self-care” and not worry about my responsibilities for just one night, I feel guilty, fear gnawing at me that I’m not working hard enough, that I’m falling behind while everyone else is getting ahead. The ubiquitous stress of “effortless perfection” isn’t something that can be so easily remedied with puppies in Perkins or East Campus carnivals. As much as I tell myself that I can’t spend my twenties perpetually sleep-deprived and anxious, neoliberalism as an economic and ideological structure permeates Duke to its bones. I can’t opt out of the reality that after I graduate I need a job to survive, and if I want to survive I need to compete. This certainly sounds bleak and pessimistic. However, I want to argue that by giving a name to the systems that structure our lives, we equip ourselves with a vocabulary to articulate a different organization of the University and of society. To name the system is to begin to know it—and to begin to challenge the underpinnings of neoliberal capitalism that insist that the only way to live is through competition and exploitation, rather than through community care and collective resistance. Annie Yang is a Trinity senior. Her column, “planting seeds,” runs on alternate Mondays.


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