Health and Science
Health and Science
how will the aca affect Duke?
Student coders come together at hackathon
The Chronicle 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
xxxxxday, monDAY, november mmmm xx, 18,2013 2013
ONE ONE HUNDRED HUNDRED AND AND EIGHTH ninthYEAR, YEAR,Issue Issuexxx 52
U BETTER WATCH OUT
JACK WHITE/The Chronicle
48 DUKE Blue Devils send their seniors off in style by Daniel Carp The Chronicle
Duke’s 48-30 victory against Miami Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium was more than the team’s sixth win in a row. It was more than the victory that elevated the Blue Devils into the AP top 25. It was even more than the team’s second win against a ranked opponent this season, something Duke has not done since 1971. It was the perfect sendoff for the Blue Devils’ senior class. “Very special seniors,” head coach David Cutcliffe said. “I couldn’t be happier for a group of players and
their families that were able to celebrate their last game in Wallace Wade.... A great tribute to what those guys—fourth and fifth and our sixth year senior—have done in their careers.” Boasting a young squad, Duke has just 11 scholarship seniors this season. But despite lacking strength in numbers, the most experienced Blue Devils each played a role in Saturday’s victory. Holding Miami to three field goals on its four trips inside the red zone, Duke’s defensive front featured fifthyear seniors Justin Foxx and Sydney Sarmiento and sixth-year senior Kenny Anunike, who was a member of Cutcliffe’s first recruiting class back in 2008.
MIA 30 Redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell had five pass breakups despite playing through an ankle injury that has hobbled him in the second half of this season. He started alongside his classmate, Garett Patterson, who registered two tackles. Juwan Thompson, recently promoted to team captain by Cutcliffe, recorded two tackles on special teams, and fifth-year seniors Dave Harding and Perry Simmons led the Blue Devil offensive line that anchored a 358-yard rushing performance. “I’m proud of those guys,” said redshirt junior running back Josh Snead, who ran for a career-high 138 yards on the evening. “They’ve been together for about three years
now, so they have a lot of experience working with each other. They just said, ‘Trust in us, we’re going to get the job done up front.’” Whether they had been here for four, five or six years, Duke’s seniors have had front-row seats to the resurrection of this football program. They had all seen one—if not two—39 seasons. Last year, this group played a crucial role in the Blue Devils’ first bowl trip since 1994. Now Duke’s senior leaders are in the midst of the ultimate victory lap for a team that is ranked 25th in the nation and has already matched its win total from its last winning season, which also occurred in 1994. See seniors, Sportswrap page 4
2 | monDAY, november 18, 2013
Uni chooses own health insurance plan over ACA for employees by Anthony Hagouel The ChroniCle
The Affordable Care Act will have little impact on the way Duke manages its health care policies. For the past three years, Duke has been preparing for the recent enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Duke has decided to continue to offer its health insurance plan to employees for 2014, despite needing to be diligent with reporting requirements and fees. The ACA sought to increase access to and lower the cost of health care insurance by mandating citizens to have either public or private insurance, funding the expansion of Medicaid for states and creating an annual online marketplace for insurance while providing subsidies and tax credits for people between 100 and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty level. The ACA has also forced employers like Duke to decide between the “play strategy”—continuing to offer their previous insurance plan for employees—or the “pay strategy”—mandating that employees participate in the exchange. “The biggest issue that every employer is facing right now is whether you’re going to pay or play,” said Vice President of Administration Kyle Cavanaugh. “We believe it makes most sense for us in the foreseeable future to stay in the play strategy.” Duke pays for a portion of employees’ insurance premiums under the current system, resulting in a relatively low monthly bill for coverage for employees and their families. Competing employers have not moved toward exchanges and will continue with the “play strategy” for 2014. “As we look at the various industries that we compete in—from health care to academic medical centers to universities—none are moving into the exchanges in an aggressive way at this point and time,” Cavanaugh said. A switch to the “pay strategy” would potentially be detrimental to both employees and employers explained Donald Taylor, associate professor of public policy and associate professor of community
and family medicine and nursing. employees who are below the federal poverty level—such as some part-time laborers—would be uninsured, while those above 400 percent of the poverty level—such as some professors—would have to pay full premiums for themselves and their families, as opposed to a single monthly fee when covered by Duke, Taylor said. “People with employer-provided health insurance have a lot to lose with any change coming about,” Taylor said. “With enough people with a lot to lose it makes it hard to bring about any changes—and that’s a pretty big deal.” in addition to having to pay more, employees could also potentially receive less income from Duke because a tax-exempt portion of that income is spent on subsidizing premiums. “Duke pays around three-fourths of the premium cost for employees, and the tax code treats these employer-paid premiums as not taxable, providing employees with tax free income,” Taylor wrote in an email Sunday. A change in medical insurance policy could result in fines and revenue loss from employee visits, Taylor said. “Generous health benefits are one thing that makes Duke an attractive employer for professors, researchers and other employees,” Taylor said. “Tradeoffs from any savings would include being a less attractive employer, and potentially reducing revenue to Duke University health System because many Duke employees must use Duke providers given the plan they have chosen.” No changes in coverage Duke is the second largest private employer in the state of north Carolina and covers 64,000 lives under its health insurance plan—including employees’ children up to the ages of 26. Although the ACA mandates individuals to have a health care plan by Jan. 2014, Cavanaugh does not believe many of its employees will switch to other insurance plans, citing that 92 percent of eligible employees currently accept Duke’s offer. “Any way that you measure that, that’s
considered to be a very high participation rate, which speaks to the quality of the plans that currently exist,” Cavanaugh said. “We think that we’ve been enormously successful as a system in managing the cost and delivering a very high-quality benefit plan.” Additionally, a new provision of the act—auto-enrollment—changes the signup policy for new hires. Previously, individuals had 30 days to accept or reject Duke’s medical insurance offer or wait a year for the next enrollment window. now, all employees are automatically signed up for the offered insurance unless they explicit reject it. Cavanaugh predicts a 2 to 3 percent increase in coverage due to the new rule. Cavanaugh explained that smaller organizations have limited options when it comes to providing health insurance to their employees, which could potentially make the “pay strategy” more appealing. “Smaller employers have less options than do larger employers,” he said. “We have the very good fortune of having the benefit of numbers and having access to world-class care and having the ability to design strategies that proactively help to manage costs.” Community impact north Carolina is one of 25 states as of oct. 6 that chose not to expand Medicaid under obamacare to cover individuals whose incomes were at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. For community health centers, this decision has made it so that the way they provide care to the poorest in the community will not change. The lincoln Community health Center in Durham, for example, sees roughly 41,000 patients annually, 80 percent of which are uninsured, and 84 percent who are below the federal poverty level, said Phil harewood, Ceo of lincoln Community health Center. “With the promise of the Affordable Care Act, we expected that the bulk of those uninsured patients would have qualified for Medicaid and receive coverage,” harewood said. “As a result, very few of our patients are going to benefit
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from the Affordable Care Act.” it was estimated that 475,000 people would be eligible for coverage in the state of north Carolina if Medicaid was expanded. “People who understand what happened are outraged, but i don’t think most individuals that we see understand it,” harewood said. Under the ACA, people without insurance—public or private—who are below the 138 percent federal poverty level will be fined only if the state legislature approved of Medicaid expansion, Taylor explained. The Division of Community health at Duke University Medical Center is aiming to expand primary care services to limit emergency room visits through community health centers. “one of the things that you want to look at is how many folks come into the emergency with conditions that are better treated at a setting that are much less acute than the emergency room,” said Division Chief Michelle lyn. Fred Johnson, vice chief of the division and director of clinical and care management services, noted that not expanding Medicaid has forced some premiums to skyrocket, despite previous rates. “The algorithm for the insurance premium can only take into account three factors—one of them is geography,” he said, adding that if you have private insurance in a neighborhood where most people are uninsured, your premium may increase to cover those individuals. The community health division of the medical center has begun to reach out to communities through partnerships in order to educate individuals about the exchange brought on by the ACA. “What we’re doing right now is primarily rolling out a community outreach strategy through a countywide coalition to inform everyone of the exchange,” Johnson said. harewood’s health center has also began its outreach program, having recently received $300,000 through a health resources and Services Administration
monDAY, november 18, 2013 | 3
DSg brings back Duke-Durham Duke students remember Discount Program starting 2014 victims of Typhoon Haiyan by Tessa Vellek The ChroniCle
Duke students can look forward to an incentive to exploring different dining venues in Durham. The Duke-Durham Discount Program— an initiative through Duke Student Government—is slated to take effect in January 2014, said junior Derek rhodes, DSG vice president for Durham and regional affairs, who is spearheading the project. DSG is currently working with local eateries to create a weekly discount calendar in hopes of getting students to go out and eat off-campus. rhodes said he hopes to have five or six vendors participate in the program with each vendor giving a discount to students one day a week. The discount would vary based on the vendor, but he said the goal is 20 percent. “The impetus of it for this year has been the change in dining on campus,” rhodes said. “This is a way to further incentivize students to explore the greater food options in Durham.” The program started in 2009, but fizzled away because students mostly keep to on-campus eating routines. DSG attempted to reinstate the program for a trial-run last January, but student interest waned then as well. “College students, especially at Duke, get caught up in these patterns, so we either eat on campus or on erwin road,” rhodes said. “For the vendors, it’s their chance to put their face on campus in a really unique way.” rhodes, who is from Durham, said the program will be mutually beneficial for
Duke students and Durham businesses. “A lot of vendors that i spoke with at least recognize the value of having Duke students in the Durham community,” rhodes said. “For some of them, it was no problem at all because they wanted Duke students to eat at their places and tell all of their friends. Another incentive is [that] it creates a new market for their business.” Co-founder of local Yogurt, leah Bergman, said that her business offers Duke students a dollar off of any purchase on Tuesdays and offers a similar discount to affiliates of the Duke University Medical Center on Thursdays. “We thrive on the Duke community and want as much of Duke as we can get,” Bergman said. “if a student organization is looking to raise money for a nonprofit, we do sale days and anything we can do to try to get a stronger relationship with Duke University and Duke students.” not all vendors close to Duke, however, would be able to afford giving such hefty discounts. Cammie Brantley, co-owner of elmo’s Diner—Durham said that their prices are as low as possible. “honestly, our margins are not such that we can do a 10 or 20 percent discount,” Brantley said. “We try to keep our prices as low as they possibly can be.” Junior Tony Cao said he is excited at the prospect of the Duke-Durham Discount Program and thinks it will be a way to bring Duke students out in the Durham community. “The program would encourage me to get off Duke and eat in the greater Durham metropolitan area,” Cao said.
See act page 8
We are pleased to announce the Class of 2017 Baldwin Scholars Mariana Calvo Elizabeth Horne Samantha Huff Arielle Kahn Aleena Karediya Elizabeth Kennedy Elizabeth Klein Kristen Larson Juliette Pigott Symonne Singleton Sierra Smith Roma Sonik Sofia Stafford Zarah Udwadia Emma Wright Amy Xiong Grace Ying Maimuna Yussuf
by Carleigh Stiehm The ChroniCle
Gathered beneath the rain in front of the chapel, a group of students participated in a candlelit vigil Sunday night to honor those devastated by Typhoon haiyan. in the aftermath of the typhoon, which tore through the Philippines nov. 8, over 3,900 people have been declared dead. As survivors struggle with injury, displacement and limited water supplies, the death count continues to grow. Members of the alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority organized the vigil in remembrance of those impacted and to collect donations to support the Duke chapter of the red Cross. “it is ironic that it is raining—it is uncomfortable and annoying, but it doesn’t even come close to what the people have been
going through these past few days,” said Sue Wasiolek, assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students. Senior Cara Buchicchio, president of alpha Kappa Delta Phi, encouraged all of the students in attendance to donate to the efforts of the Duke red Cross. “After i heard about the typhoon, i was really devastated by the magnitude and scope of the event,” said senior rebecca li, member of alpha Kappa Delta Phi. “i really felt like students weren’t really talking about it enough.” To prepare to speak at the vigil, leo Chang, associate professor and chair of the department of Asian and Middle eastern studies, said he contacted his friend who was a professor in See ViGiL page 8
DARBI GRIFFITH/THE CHRONICLE
Students hold a vigil in the rain to commemorate the victimes of Typhoon Haiyan.
4 | monDAY, november 18, 2013
And the winner is ....
monDAY, november 18, 2013 | 5
Duke Hackathon attracts more than 700 students
Past, present and future
by Yiyun Zhu
22-hour coding marathon
khloe kim/The Chronicle
Devils after Dark, Jarvis and Blackwell House Councils organized the annual Mr. East Campus pageant Saturday night.
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Professors and experts discuss the evolution of terrorism and future of groups such as al Qaeda.
Shanen ganapathee/ the chronicle
Students came together to create real-world solutions at the DukeHack, the biggest hackathon in the southeast.
• • • The Sulzberger Distinguished Lecture Series
Developing More Effective Solutions to Social Problems
Jeffrey Liebman Monday, November 18 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Sanford School of Public Policy Rhodes Conference Room
The modern era of social-policy development and evaluation dates back to the late 1960s when large data sets and randomized experiments began to be used regularly to evaluate federal policy initiatives. Decades later we still lack proven, cost-effective, scalable solutions to many social problems and, despite significant government investment, we are failing to make sufficiently rapid progress in addressing our most serious challenges. Part of the reason we lack solutions to many social problems is that the problems are hard, and human beings and their social environments are complex. But it is also the case that our current mechanisms for funding and evaluating social programs do not produce a culture of continuous learning and improvement, nor do they generate opportunities for fundamental re-engineering of systems to produce better results.
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620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Monday, November 18, 2013
Please visit www.childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu to register.
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3 1 8 1 5 5 1 2 6 7 6 9 8 The Chronicle 9why7we love 5 football: 8 2 6 Because America has the best sports:����������������������������������������durandurand 8 2 5 3 2 7 9 Gladiators in modern times:�������������������������������������������������������������Mr. Teeth Smiling at a football game is fun:��������������������������������������������������chowchow 8 9 1 7 5 Great for mid-day festivities:������������������������������������������������������������������� Hags Good break from politics:��������������������������������������������������������������������� Mouse 1���������������������������������������������������������������Magicarp 4 3 4 8 3 4 Story time with Coach Cut: Gatorade showers:����������������������������������������������������������� Linsanity, Thanh-lol 2 7 6 3 Mr. 1 Jorts 2 I am the worst human:����������������������������������������������������������������������� Barb Starbuck always makes the top 25:�������������������������������������������������Barb 8 9 2 4 9 8 5 7 Student Advertising Manager:...................................................James Sinclair Account Representatives:....................... 8 1 Jennifer 3 Bahadur, Shannon 9 Beckham 2 .
Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will review the barriers to social innovation and then describe a set of new strategies, including pay-for-success contracts and community collaboratives that offer the hope of more rapid progress.
See hackathon page 8
9:30 p.m. Saturday After coding for more than five hours, some students found themselves in need of a break. Following hours of staring at their laptops, NC State first-year computer science graduate
Over 700 students from various east coast universities competed in a 22-hour long hackathon this The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation weekend at Duke.
Created by Peter Ritmeester/Presented by Will Shortz
In Kakuro you must place the digits 1 to 9 into a grid of squares so that each horizontal or vertical run of white squares adds up to the clue printed either to the left of or above the run. Numbers below a diagonal line give the total of the white squares below; numbers to the right of a diagonal line give the total of the white squares to the right.
4 p.m. Saturday Teams of student programmers occupied the Fitzpatrick Center and started to code on their laptops, many visibly excited. The auditorium was filled with people eating Doritos while sharing ideas with each other, jumping over the table barefoot and discussing individual responsibilities within a team. “I am very excited,” said Vishal Erabelli, a computer science student from Georgia Tech who was enjoying his second hackathon. “We are building a game where there are security guards trying to prevent people from committing crimes.” Duke sophomore Saffana Humaira, a beginning programmer who participated in the hackathon for the first time, was working on an app that would help residents in rural India with three other team members. The app will allow families with kids who have diarrhea to receive recordings of instructions on how to develop a saline solution that prevents the kids from becoming dehydrated, she said. “Our goal is to facilitate communication between those families and local health workers because we know that in many villages in India, there are only one or two health workers taking care of the whole village,” she said. “We want to make the most efficient use of whatever resources they have.”
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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
Football school? Coming off a major win against Miami, Duke’s football program secured a place in the rankings this weekend for the first time since 1994. At a school where basketball has always been king, Duke football’s success and popularity bring with them new advantages and risks. The football program’s recent triumphs have been in the making for several years. In 2008, the Board of Trustees approved the Department of Athletics’ strategic plan, “Unrivaled Ambition,” which called for more investment in football and basketball—programs that generate profits and support non-revenue generating sports. Athletics also hired the well-regarded Coach David Cutcliffe in 2008, offering him a handsome salary that is now almost $1.8 million per year. In 2012, the Duke Forward capital campaign pledged to raise $250 million for athletics, part of which will go towards renovating Wallace Wade Stadium. Even though Athletics funding comes from a self-sustaining budget that operates largely independently of Duke’s academic budget, administrators see football as a sound investment for University as a whole.
In fact, I would say that Tailgate and football are complementary. Without a tailgate scene, many students end up not going to football games at all. With Tailgate, more students are apt to be around the game and even go in to watch.
Editorial camp out in the cold. After years of investment, football’s successes are beginning to deliver, bringing in donations and viewership that will help keep non-revenue sports solvent. Its prominence may also complement basketball in boosting Duke’s branding efforts. But as Duke joins the group of ranked football programs, the University must step back and evaluate how football’s progress fits in with larger institutional priorities. Balancing academic and athletic pursuits has always been a controversial topic at Duke, but until now it has been confined chiefly to discussions about basketball. In a meeting with the Editorial Board in October 2012, President Richard Brodhead called basketball a “foolish”
Letters PoLicy The Chronicle welcomes submissions in the form of letters to the editor or guest columns. Submissions must include the author’s name, signature, department or class, and for purposes of identification, phone number and local address. Letters should not exceed 325 words; contact the editorial department for information regarding guest columns. The Chronicle will not publish anonymous or form letters or letters that are promotional in nature. The Chronicle reserves the right to edit letters and guest columns for length, clarity and style and the right to withhold letters based on the discretion of the editorial page editor.
hile taking my morning stroll across the Plaza, I couldn’t help but overhear a girl complain to her BFFOALUSGABTYASOL (Best Friend Forever, Or At Least Until She Gets A Boyfriend, Then You’re S.O.L.) that Duke’s “dating” scene is virtually non-existent. She continued to lament about the hookup culture and that the men of Duke had made it a perverse pool of raging hormones and bad decisions. As a University, we really should take a gander at our cesspool of college kids playing tonsil hockey and sexing each other. How dare our male students go about having premarital sex with those poor, naïve women? It is an absolute crime what the males are doing to our campus. The inferior male gender has turned our once beautiful and chaste University into a hepatitis-ridden ground zero of sin dirtier than Game of Thrones fan-fiction. As a male, I am personally repentant for the horrible crimes I have committed, measured in time spent talking, holding hands and attempting to get past second base with women. In reflection, it was not right for me to despoil those maidens after they had given me full consent. In an effort to solve Duke’s horrible case of craven adultery, I propose we look to our friends, the Mormons, not just for unfortunate political leaders, but also for our salvation. Rather than have one male despoil around five women throughout his college career, we should adopt the tried-and-true practice of polygamy. Now, before everyone gets their monogamous genitalia tied in a bunch, let’s look at the positives of each Duke male having multiple wives. First of all, the women would be married and of child-bearing age. Thus the honor and dignity of each woman is salvaged due to the ring on her finger. (Ring Pops may be substituted for actual rings in the event that a male has more than seven wives and/or is currently low on Flex but high on Food Points.) No longer must we look with disdain upon a student who chooses to be sexually active premaritally. No longer must we worry about how best to scorn that adulteress in math class or that chick who banged Steve Aoki. Furthermore, if each male has multiple wives, then Shooters suddenly becomes a much more interesting phenomenon. Rather than seeing one drunk train wreck of a one night stand humping in the cage, we shall gaze in delight at a husband and three of his wives (remember kiddies, four person per cage max) happily dancing in the aforementioned iron vessel. When one wife gets too tired or too drunk to continue on in the night’s revelry, the husband simply looks to his second wife. This process embodies the same cooperative strategies as tag-team wrestling while simultaneously doubling the probability of getting action. “But Mean Boy, how do the women feel
” edit pages
—“Publius16” commenting on the article “The Oral History of Tailgate.”
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Given the amount of money and effort Duke has poured into its football program, we are glad to finally see some results. Football games can be electrifying community-building experiences, bringing together thousands of Duke fans without requiring that students
carleigh StiehM, University Editor georgia parke, Local & National Editor tony Shan, Health & Science Editor eric lin, Sports Photography Editor rita lo, Design Editor jaMie keSSler, Recess Managing Editor thanh-ha nguyen, Online Photo Editor Matt pun, Sports Managing Editor caitlin MoyleS, Towerview Editor Dillon patel, Towerview Creative Director julian Spector, Special Projects Editor chelSea pieroni, Multimedia Editor glenn rivkeeS, Director of Online Operations yeShwanth kanDiMalla, Recruitment Chair julia May, Recruitment Chair barbara Starbuck, Creative Director
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The days of old
and “disheartening” reason for applicants to pick Duke. How can the University reconcile its apparent desire to put academics first while working to join the ranks of football powerhouses? For those concerned about the possible trade-off between sports and academics, what might Duke look like if fan frenzy bleeds into the Fall? It is a stretch to say that strong back-to-back seasons and a well-deserved ranking makes Duke a “football school” like Alabama. Game attendance and program spending still pale in comparison to Duke’s more football-obsessed companions. But if our winning streak and the ensuing exhilaration continues, we should be prepared to engage in the conversations that all big-time football programs have to confront. These include questions about compensating student-athletes and the number of scholarships we should allocate to football, which has more athletes on its roster than any other sport. As we dive into these questions and discuss the cultural implications in tomorrow’s editorial, we congratulate Duke football for a job well done.
Happy wives when polygamy thrives
6 | monDAY, november 18, 2013
about this?” Great question! The women, although hesitant at first, will learn to love their newfound husband and sister wives. The sister wives provide for each other all
Monday Monday mean boy of the affection and care that men routinely neglect. Your husband forgot your anniversary? That’s fine. He’s busy trying to remember the other eight. Your sister wives, however, not only remembered it but also made you a cake. Nothing says family like eating a handmade cake from your husband’s third wife with your favorite children-in-law. Furthermore, women will never have to worry about their husbands cheating on them. You spy your husband hooking up with someone at Shooters? That’s fine! It was probably wife number three, who’s a sloot anyway. No longer must you worry about your man springing for a younger, hotter stranger. Now you can rest easily knowing that he is both happily and legally plowing one of his other faithful wives. Don’t think of it as having to split your husband’s time with other women. Rather, reconcile yourself with the fact that you and your sister wives are collaborating towards your husband’s ultimate satisfaction—as you were built by biology to do. Forget about the outdated adage “happy wife, happy life.” The new and improved Duke University will thrive on the mantra “happy wives when polygamy thrives.” For the most part, women will finally be satisfied with the campus romance scene. Ladies are always complaining about the lack of relationship culture on campus, and how they can never find a boyfriend or a dating scene. But if we, men, don’t have to settle for just one (probably lame) woman, relationships would become a whole lot more appealing. Women will finally get the commitment of a husband, while men can spread their seed as far as the wind will take it and as many times as matrimony allows. As God intended it. Although men are responsible for Duke’s immoral status, I believe that we can once again become the resplendent symbol of chaste and chivalry Duke used to be. As long as we are proactive and make honest women out of our female population instead of having a casual hookup scene, we shall no longer struggle with this moral quagmire (giggity) plaguing our campus. Let slut-shaming become a thing of the past as we welcome the new wives, second wives and so on of Duke University. Mean Boy has 99 problems, and they’re all his wives.
wish I could say I had some sassy, critical anecdote to report. It would be better that way. I wish I were feeling contrary or daring. But right now all I really can do is notice how things grow old. I found out a few days back that the dog I’ve had since seventh grade is in kidney failure. The vet’s ultrasound revealed even more extensive liver
irrelevant. It is this moment, this moment of chasing seagulls on a strip of sand, fuzzy ears tapping the rippled sand every half step, this moment of an afternoon snooze in the flower bed. This chase after crazy, impossible dreams. This, this, yes this is what matters. You see, at the beginning of this year, I felt very lost. I was out of
monDAY, monDAY,november november18, 18,2013 2013 | 7
confessions of a curry queen
m I racist? Rather than trying to preemptively rebuke criticism by evoking the cliché “I’m not racist but…” as if it were an excuse (and when has that ever not been followed by something completely ignorant?), let me admit that yes, there’s the distinct possibility. It probably depends on whom I ask, though. And with the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the musical Avenue
nodules and pancreatic dysfunction. And although I dedicate this column to my dear Penny, it isn’t meant to be a sob story of how my dog is dying. No, she would never have that. Instead, she would rather I focus on things I’ve learned this fall that she’s always known and lived. I have learned that if you keep your nose too buried in new worlds, you just might open your eyes to an old world grown older. This summer was just that for me. My new world was the little lakeside town of Muhuru Bay. The world grown older was my lifelong home on Palm Road. Now, each time I go home, I see the nuances once left unnoticed. I note the creases, deepening furrows, as my father smiles. I watch as my silver tabby gains five pounds and a slower gait. I enter my childhood room, everything unnaturally immaculate. This academic award here, my blankie there, a shelf of all my most favorite high school reads. Here, on Palm Road these days Natalie’s orange juice tastes sweeter—goodbyes sourer—and each airplane ride back to Duke leaves me wondering, what next? I cannot bear these new, all-too-literal days of old. I almost wish I did not wonder. How sweet it would be to not be tormented by memories and expectation. How desperately I yearn for ignorance. Where oh where have you gone, dearest days of old? I couldn’t tell you. But my sweet, nearly blind, all but deaf, ginger cocker spaniel could. I couldn’t tell you because ours is a species of deep thought and careful reflection, of studying history and of preserving the past in the muddled reservoirs of our minds. Oh, but Penny could. Because to Penny, these dearest days of old are
touch with the moment, swimming in questions of identity and meaning. I was on my way to everything I’d ever wanted and yet felt horribly unsettled. I very nearly didn’t come back to school this semester. I very desperately longed for closeness to my family and clarity. I wanted time to genuinely commit to a wholer self. I wanted more liberty to live as Penny does—freely. I made up every excuse for myself. “I’ve been through a lot. This summer was emotionally taxing. My water grate fall was traumatic. Duke maybe wasn’t the right choice.” But all these were just that— excuses. What I realized then, in that most uncertain of Augusts, was that I was devising excuses, tallying worries, drafting and checking off lists and making few and far between countings of blessings. So I started a journal. I began meditating every day before bed. I found answers in silence, in moments, in relinquishing the past as gone. I found strength in coming to terms with the days of old. To watch the sunrise is not to discount the beauty of yesterday’s sunset. It is only to appreciate the quiet promise of a new day. To value inner peace is not to cast away discipline and productivity. It is only to recognize that we are people above producers. So from this fall forward I vow to live as Penny has—moment-to-moment, footprint- to-footprint. Chasing birds, chasing dreams, loving loved ones with a smile as they enter through my door. So from this fall forward I vow to embrace these new days of old.
Q playing quietly in the back of my brain, I’d hazard that at least I’m not alone. There’s been a flurry of talk lately about race, religious and socioeconomic relations (a perennial topic) with confessions of secrets and explanations for apparent hypersensitivity towards labels and (mis)assumptions. So, walking on lily-white eggshells, I admit to you that I’m in a quandary: I tend to be attracted to members of a certain race—a group to which I do not belong. Is it the physical features, culture or food? I don’t know. Race is, ultimately, a societally imposed categorization, and upon seeing my fairer skin and blue eyes, it’s unlikely, even when I speak another language that anyone would call me anything other than white. And despite a modest Jewish upbringing—a bit of a “hidden minority” status that only seems to come out when convenient, like my homosexual orientation—I don’t feel I can identify, ethnically, as much more than an amorphous American. Perhaps, then, my interest in other social groups comes from a somewhat parasitic need to fill this void—to actually find my own identity. I am defining what I am by recognizing what I am not. It didn’t take me tallying up the number of desis I follow on Twitter (nearly half of my list, including Kal Penn, Aziz Ansari, Anoop Desai and Utkarsh Ambudkar ) to recognize my fondness for my somewhat more melatonin-enhanced brethren. Derived from Sanskrit and meaning “one from our country,” the term “desi” usually refers to the people, products and cultures from the greater Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and their diaspora. It’s a word that, over time, has also entered my lexicon, causing others in-the-know to chuckle, asking white-bred me, “How do you know that word??” Language is key. In trying to build rapport with my patients in clinic, for example, sometimes I will speak Spanish. I usually preface it by playfully acknowledging I am different: “If you don’t understand me, let me know; it’s clear that I’m a gringo (foreigner).” I have also evoked a few scattered words in Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin or French to subtly express, “Hey, I’m interested in where you come from and have taken a moment to learn something about your culture.” This can backfire, however: I launch into some great explanation only to be met with a blank stare, a beat and a dull “I speak English.” Nonmembership in a particular community affords certain leeway (“he doesn’t know any better”) but can be less forgiving in other respects (“how dare he think he’s one of us”). At least I am not chastising them for not speaking a language they “should” know, as several of my more “ethnic-looking” friends have been, seemingly randomly, on the street. My interest in other cultures
Gracie Willert is a Trinity senior. Her biweekly column runs every other Monday.
developed slowly, likely beginning while I lived abroad (“what’s foreign is unknown and therefore more interesting”). It wasn’t until I entered a long-term relationship with a double minority—a gay man of color—that I realized there could be anything wrong with it. A British-born Pakistani, having experienced repeated racial profiling in airports when coming to visit me, he was
understandably angry. This transmuted into social frustration: He felt that if someone wanted to talk to him because he was brown, or European, or Muslim (he’s actually a practicing Quaker), he was being “fetishized” as something exotic, a tick-box to be checked. If he was given unfavorable attention, however, or the person preferred some other group to his exclusion, then he was hurt by this premature typecasting. Myself, I’ve actually enjoyed being looked upon as something novel (though, admittedly, this occurs rarely). While at the Great Wall of China, for instance, multiple people asked to take photos with me, gazing with amazement upon (and asking to touch) my beard. That said, I’m privileged to never having had to endure the reverse: “Whites need not apply” is generally not a sign that ever appears. In the gay community at least, in which the title of “queen” belies some external, condescending judgment, my own attraction to Indian men has labeled me as a “curry queen.” Other members of my royal court include those who reign over a smorgasbord of culinary foodstuffs: potatoes (or dairy), rice, beans, hummus, matzoah and chocolate—referring to those who tend to focus, respectively, on white, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, Jewish and black men. (If nothing else, all this categorization sure makes us queers hungry.) The gravity of the title varies depending on whom you ask: Some contributors to Urban Dictionary, for example, emphasize that these interracial/ intercultural relationships are exploitative, whereas others remark that they are not synonymous with fetishism. But who gets to decide whether this is blaxploitation revisited—the person carrying the preference, the object of his affection, or some altogether different third party? It is notable that those who have a similar focus within their own racial or cultural group cannot be granted this questionable crown. Indeed, they can be called other things (“sticky rice” for Asians or “mashed potatoes” for whites), but these “like likes like” relationships are seemingly without reproach on a chromeometric level for either samesex or heterosexual couples. Does this exclusion belie that, somewhere, as a society, we think that phenotypic homogeneity is how things “should” be in a well-ordered universe? Since when did the dating scene require affirmative action? Perhaps what we need is to dispense with unnecessary labels. Love is love, as they say, and we shouldn’t limit ourselves when looking for our soul mate. Instead of “GJM seeks GIM for samosapacked picnics,” how about “Hi, my name is Ben. I think you’re handsome.” Benjamin Silverberg is a second-year graduate student and practicing physician. His column runs every other Monday. Send Ben a message on Twitter @hobogeneous.
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from page 2
grant to hire full-time certified application counselors to inform individuals about ACA opportunities. “We work with other community agencies in Durham and reach out to the uninsured population to educate them about the opportunities found in the Affordable Care Act,” Harewood said.
from page 5
students Sai Kiran Polavarapu and Amith Reddy Ravuru decided to pause building their Google Chrome extension. “We need coffee to keep us working,” Polavarapu said as he waited in line for his coffee from the on-site barista, hired from Joe Van Gogh to keep the students caffeinated. He added that this was their first hackathon and they loved it so far.
“It’s cool that we get to meet a lot of people from a lot of get there.” different universities and know their ideas,” he said. “They are doing some really cool stuff.” 11 a.m. Sunday In the CIEMAS auditorium, several programmers in the back of the room covered themselves in blankets to take a nap, 1:30 a.m. Sunday As night turned into early morning, students started to line but the majority of students were still actively working on their projects as the hackathon was drawing to an end. up in Twinnies Cafe as pizza and Cookout arrived. Arthur Colle, a fifth-year math and computer science dou“I am feeling fine,” said Maeghan Clawger, a junior at UNC as she ate her salad. “I am just getting into it.” ble major at the University of Maryland, noted that programShe was working on developing a web mashup that would al- ming for so many hours was not out of the ordinary for him. low her to incorporate information from multiple sources into “I usually pull an all-nighter every week so this is nothing to one application in order to describe an area—a map, weather, me,” he said. “I just need some caffeine to pump myself up.” housing information, Twitter feeds and Instagram pictures. He added that he was creating a social network just like She also noted that coding in a room with 10 other people Facebook, but it was not going well. was a great experience, but she added that the event had gotten off-schedule and the location was not ideal. Behind the scenes Humaira and her teammates hoped that taking a break The HackDuke team had been preparing for the event would give them more inspirations. since the start of the school year. “We’ve been working on the same thing for the longest Li said that the team worked actively on contacting sponsors time,” Humaira said as she waited in line for the midnight for the event and coordinating within Duke, including working Cookout. “And hopefully the milkshakes don’t melt when we with the Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke Innovation Co-lab. More than $50,000 was raised from the sponsors to pay for food, workshops and transportation for students from other universities, he said. The 25 sponsors included Google, Microsoft, Ebay, Facebook, Coursera and AT&T. Full-time engineers from sponsor companies worked as mentors for participants and judges for the event. Best Hacking Team At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, the programmers filled Page Auditorium for the hackathon’s closing ceremony—a chance to receive free t-shirts, see demonstrations of the weekend’s projects and finally learn which teams had won. The showcased projects ranged from musical to medical. Among the demonstrations were Air Instruments, giving people the ability to make music from playing air guitar or air drums, and the Swollster, a toaster that requires one to exercise before receiving their morning toast. The weekend’s winner, though, was a sign language-tospeech interpreter created by Duke students. Users wear a glove that is connected to a device which translates their sign language into speech. It is battery powered—with an eight hour lifespan—and could be configured to fit in a backpack.
Vigil from page 3 the Philippines. The friend said that despite the great personal and physical losses that were sweeping the country, she believed the message that they needed help was reaching the rest of the world. “Despite my friend’s thought that the message is already out there, there are many things we still don’t know,” Chang said. Even with the nearly 543,000 homes that were destroyed and more than 3.9 million people that were displaced, Chang said most people still do not know how they can help. “The only certainty about natural disasters—like Typhoon Haiyan—is uncertainty,” he said. Chang noted that many people questioned not only the cause of the typhoon but also the legitimacy of many of the charities that collect money for relief funds. “From global climate changes to local philanthropy, uncertainty abounds,” he said. Chang said he believed that the media will forget about the Philippines once the next big story hits. He added that some of the power struggles and politics in Asia have prevented the country from receiving adequate help. He cited China’s initial donation of $100,000 that was insufficient to even begin helping the country with its losses. The vigil included performances by Stina, Speak of the Devil and Lady Blue. As the only administrator in attendance, Wasiolek said that she thinks the vigil was especially powerful because it was arranged and executed by students. Wasiolek noted that, although most students at Duke have not been personally impacted by the devastation, the “Duke family” has still shown a willingness and desire to help the Philippines. She encouraged students to continue focusing on relief efforts. After concluding a moment of silence, Wasiolek thanked all in attendance and reminded them that “love is human.” Junior Emily Harris, co-president of Duke Red Cross, said the she has seen a “tremendous outpouring” of support and donations from students, adding that the group has a goal of raising $5,000 for typhoon relief. Every donation goes directly to help provide clean water, shelter or medical care for those impacted by the disaster, she said. “Though the typhoon may be over, the relief efforts have just begun,” Harris said. “Together, we can help rebuild the Philippines.”