See Inside Women’s soccer wins opener Page 17
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
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 DUKECHRONICLE.COM
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEENTH YEAR, ISSUE 3
Apartments ‘An entire universe of knowledge’ deny students Price connects the dots at convocation for Class of ‘23 leases due to their age One lawyer argues the practice should be considered illegal By Ben Leonard Features Editor
Michelle Tai | Features Photography Editor The Class of 2023 packed into Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday to hear speeches from President Vincent Price, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Chrisoph Guttentag and DSG President Liv McKinney.
told the class that there’s nothing wrong with not sticking to a chosen course. “When you lose your line, when you veer off course and become Most of the Class of 2023 moved in yesterday, and they may disoriented, it’s not necessarily cause for concern,” Price told the not yet know their way around campus. Luckily, President Vincent first-years. “You may just discover places you’d never imagined, Price gave the first-years a geography lesson at convocation people you’d never expected to befriend, ideas that help you get Wednesday morning. back on course.” It was another hot and humid day in Durham as newly Lines can connect as well, serving as “links between disparate arrived first-years gathered in Cameron Indoor Stadium for their points,” Price explained. First-years should extend their own convocation. Duke Student Government President connections by learning from those Liv McKinney spoke first, followed by Dean of who test them, he recommended. When you lose your line, when Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag This way, the incoming students and President Vincent Price—a set of speakers you veer off course and become can link a range of disciplines from that have become a time-honored tradition. their interactions with their peers, disoriented, it’s not necessarily cause Price centered his speech around the 36th professors and others they will parallel north, a circle of latitude that runs for concern. You may discover places encounter at Duke. through Duke’s campus along Campus Drive. you never imagined. He also pointed out that Along the same parallel also lies Tehran, Iran; lines are used to divide and draw Aleppo, Syria; the Jiangsu Province in China— boundaries—the 36th parallel was where Duke Kunshan University is found—and vincent price in fact the line used for the Missouri Nashville, Tenn. PRESIDENT Compromise, which allowed slavery The Greek geographer Eratosthenes tried to south of the parallel and banned it measure the circumference of the Earth in the to the north. third century BCE, Price explained, and the line he projected became However, Price advised the class to not get boxed in by artificial the 36th parallel. boundaries. They should explore new ideas and areas of study to “In the centuries since, that line has guided untold travelers, broaden their worldview, he said. dreamers, and explorers—and now, it has brought you here to Duke,” “Here before you at Duke, along that imaginary line that traces the he added. road between East Campus and West, an entire universe of knowledge He used the line, and what lines can do, to illustrate his words awaits your exploration,” Price said. of wisdom for the first-years. Lines can map and chart courses, Before Price, Guttentag addressed the first-years, whose admissions and the Class of 2023 will soon be charting their course of study, See CONVOCATION on Page 13 extracurriculars, research and friendships, Price said. But he also By Jake Satisky
When Tessa Gote came to Duke for graduate school from the Netherlands, she quickly faced a problem: she couldn’t find housing. Almost 21 at the time, she wasn’t accepted to Duke until April 2018, so some apartments were full when she started looking. The Heights at LaSalle had vacancies, but the complex didn’t take her because she wasn’t old enough. She had to be 22 to lease. “It’s crazy that I’m a grad student and I can’t rent an apartment,” she said. She said she understands why the complex may have implemented the rule after hearing that parties often take place, but thinks that such behavior should be dissuaded in a different way. Her father Joe Gote, an attorney, argues that apartment buildings like The Heights at LaSalle are discriminating based upon age, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. A Harvard Law professor thinks Joe Gote’s claim is not totally invalid but unlikely to be accepted were he to file suit. Duke should be doing something about it, he says. A Duke administrator argues that apartment age restrictions are the government’s jurisdiction, and many students typically find housing with no problem. Two Duke seniors also told The Chronicle they were unable to rent at The Heights at LaSalle apartment complex due to their age. Undergraduates at Duke are guaranteed housing for three years and “generally” a fourth year if rooms are available, according to the Student Affairs website. Graduate students are not guaranteed housing. Roughly 85% of Duke undergraduates live on campus. But that figure includes underclassmen, who are for the most part required to live on campus for three years. Based on those calculations, roughly a majority of seniors live off campus. Many of those seniors face apartments with age restrictions that could prevent them from leasing—in Durham, at least The Heights at LaSalle, Berkshire Main Street, Station Nine, Trinity Commons, Solis Brightleaf and 810 9th Street all require tenants to be 21 or 22. Not all rising seniors are 21 or 22 when they sign leases. “It limits the availability of apartments. See APARTMENTS on Page 11
Pitchforks is back and (partly) renovated
Nolan Smith talks upcoming fundraiser
Introducing the Community Editorial Board
The popular eatery’s interior has been updated, but students will have to wait for an outside expansion. PAGE 2
The current director of basketball operations will be at his third annual Hoop-a-Thon. PAGE 17
The newly-minted Community Editorial Board explains its independence from the Chronicle staff. PAGE 14
INSIDE — News 2 | Sports 4 | Crossword 9 | Opinion 10 | Serving the University since 1905 |
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2 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
Pitchforks reopens for the fall with a fresh new look and old name By Nathan Luzum Managing Editor
Cafe Edens has a new look—and a return to its original name—to kick off the school year. Originally known as Pitchforks—which is what many students still called it—the eatery will reassume that moniker as its new name, complete with a renovated interior for the beginning of the Fall semester. The existing seating area was renovated over the summer, and a second phase of the renovation will provide additional seating for a steadily growing West Campus student population. The eatery opens Friday. “The enhanced back-of-house will allow Pitchforks to handle more customers while providing an expanded menu, including the addition of a new hot line to offer daily specials, and faster service times,” wrote Robert Coffey, executive director of dining services, in an email. The opening of the Hollows largely prompted the expansion, Coffey explained. Although the original restaurant was built to serve 150 to 200 patrons, he added, the growing number of customers made renovation necessary. The summer construction expanded the kitchen area to increase production and upgraded the seating area “for a modern look and feel.” Also, the restaurant expanded its menu
and added a second cash register, Coffey noted. “The expanded seating will allow many more customers to dine in at Pitchforks and hopefully help create another great social gathering space for the Duke community,” he wrote. A second phase of renovation—slated for completion by Spring 2020—will supplement the current seating with a glass enclosure, increasing the dining capacity. Paul Manning, director of project Bre Bradham | Associate Photography Editor management, wrote in an email that The first floor of McClendon Tower—right above Pitchforks—has been refurbished to add additional construction on the next phase will cause seating for the restaurant. minimal disturbance to the eating space. “Work will continue on the addition with no impact on the renovated dining space within the existing building, except for maybe some more noise at the restaurant during construction work hours,” he wrote. Pitchforks is located in the basement of McClendon Tower in Keohane Quad and is well known for its 24/7, late-night dining atmosphere. Rotating food trucks will also be available nightly near Edens Quad Monday through Thursday, Coffey wrote. Hollows Quad will house students for the first time after Central Campus apartments shut their doors at the end of the Spring semester. The 703 beds will accommodate some of the displaced students as well as the influx of visiting students from Duke Kunshan University. Bre Bradham | Associate Photography Editor Bre Bradham | Associate Photography Editor Kathryn Silberstein contributed reporting. Pitchforks’s expansion will be finished by Spring. The indoor space in Pitchforks was renovated.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 | 3
Could compounds in vinyl Majority of CFOs think recession flooring be harming kids? is coming, Fuqua survey reveals By Ashwin Kulshrestha Staff Reporter
Semi-volatile organic compounds— linked to a wide range of illnesses and developmental disorders—may be far more commonplace than previously recognized, a Duke study found. Some of the compounds, commonly referred to as SVOCs, have been associated with a variety of physiological problems, such as cancer and neurodevelopmental delays. SVOCs evaporate off certain solids or liquids as a gas, and they are found on a variety of household products. The study found that children living in homes with all-vinyl flooring or sofas containing flame-retardant chemicals have significantly higher blood and urine concentrations of SVOCs, compared to children living in homes without these items, according to a news release. “Researchers throughout the world are interested in understanding the long-term health consequences from exposure to SVOCs, and several SVOCs are considered to increase one’s risk for health problems (e.g. cancer) if exposure is above a specific threshold,” lead author Heather Stapleton wrote in an email to The Chronicle. Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel associate professor of environmental ethics and sustainable environmental management, wrote that her laboratory has been researching the effects of SVOCs for more than 15 years. Her previous research revealed that nearly 80% of infant’s and children’s products tested in
her lab contained high levels of flame-retardant chemicals. This revelation shifted her research focus to examining children’s exposure to flame retardants and other SVOCs. For the study, the team recruited approximately 190 families living in the Research Triangle Area with children between the ages of 3 and 6, Stapleton wrote. Researchers then visited the families’ homes and collected air, dust and foam samples from furniture, as well as urine, blood and hand wipe samples from the children, according to the news release. Stapleton’s team found that SVOC concentrations in children living in homes with flame retardant sofas were six times higher than in the control group. In homes with all vinyl flooring, SVOC concentrations in children were 15 times higher. In the United States, chemicals used for commerce do not have to be tested for toxicity, Stapleton wrote. She added that as more information is obtained on the possible harmful effects certain chemicals can have, they are removed from the market but are then simply replaced with a less-researched alternative. “In my opinion, we need stronger chemical regulations in the U.S. that would require manufacturers to ensure chemical safety before use,” Stapleton wrote. She added that if such regulations are not put into place, “we find ourselves in a repeating pattern of phasing out chemicals every 10–15 years after their introduction to the market and sufficient data has been generated (often by academic researchers) to make it clear there are health risks.”
By John Markis Senior News Reporter
If a recent survey of business executives is any indication, the American economy is in trouble. Almost 50% of the chief financial officers think the American economy is bound for a recession within a year, according to the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook. The percentage shoots to nearly 70% who foresee an economic downturn by the end of 2020. Fears of a looming recession have featured prominently in the news lately, with the Dow dropping hundreds of points a week ago as Wall Street investors feared an inverted yield curve. Led by the Fuqua School of Business and John Graham, the D. Richard Mead Jr. family professor of finance, the survey has conducted polling each quarter since July 1996. Graham’s team seeks to gauge the business perspective on the state of the market. The sampled population includes public and private CFOs as well as “CFO” magazine subscribers. That these answers foretell a potential recession do not surprise Graham, as he sees myriad causes for the development. “Recessions can happen for good reasons, such as when [America] is shifting to a more technological approach. Argentina, China, and Germany are all slowing down, which feeds back into the United States,” Graham said. “Finally, President [Donald] Trump creates a lot of uncertainty, and [that] thwarts growth and inhibits companies from doing innovative things.”
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Graham emphasized that the 70% figure is not an overall probability. Recessions are cyclical in any economy, and the United States—with record-high employment rates and general optimism in the economy—is due. Indeed, Graham explained that the strength of the housing market, combined with lower interest rates from the Federal Reserve, makes consumers “more willing to spend.” The effects of a recession at Duke would be understated but no less pronounced. Graham pointed out that, as a nonprofit institution, Duke is “immune” to the mass firings that characterized automobile factories during the Great Recession in 2008, yet he also underscored that wages will remain stagnant. A look back at Duke’s 2009 fiscal year report demonstrates that the University engaged in unusual measures to preserve the endowment. Much like a retirement account, Duke invests across the stock market with endowment money, so any significant decline presents a dilemma. In the report, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask explained how the University sought to mitigate the recession’s effects. “The institution was well positioned financially after a 15-year period of unparalleled growth,” he wrote in the report. “We have greatly curtailed hiring and offered early retirement incentives for certain employees. Future construction activity will not commence until the related sources of funding have been secured.” If nothing else, Graham expects that a recession will drastically increase enrollment in graduate programs. When students cannot find work, he surmised, they will return to school to increase future prospects.
Explore Study Away Programs SEP. 10, 2019 PENN PAVILION 11 AM – 2 PM
4 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
Photo by photo:
First-year advisory counselors and resident assistants moved first-years into their new dorms. Mary Helen Wood | Photography Editor
Creating YOUR Narrative
(Left) Rebecca Stein, associate professor of cultural anthropology
First-years listened to faculty discuss a liberal arts education in a new O-Week event.
(Right) Sarah Gaither, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience
Michelle Tai | Features Photography Editor
AUDITIONS & OPEN REHEARSALS for Music Lessons & Ensembles Sign up at:
music.duke.edu/ensembles/audition-information Auditions are required for admission to these courses.
Duke Dance Program Open House
Monday, August 26, 5:00-6:00pm / Rubenstein Arts Center Lounge/102 Get info, meet faculty and dancers. Free food & drinks! Optional African Dance class with live music at 6:15.
Dance Repertory Auditions
1 - 2 pm OR 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Mon, Aug 26 - Fri, Aug 30
Mon, Aug 26
4 - 7:30 pm 5:30 - 7 pm
Classical Piano Saxophone, Euphonium & Wind Symphony Piano Viola, Cello, & Bass Percussion Classical Guitar
031 Biddle 019 Biddle
Voice Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon Jazz Saxophone & doubles (Clarinet, Flute, etc.), Piano, Vibes, & Vocalists Chorale Open Rehearsal Chamber Music
075 Biddle 104 Biddle 064 Biddle
6 - 9 pm 7 - 8:30 pm 8 - 9 pm
Jazz, Wed, Aug 28 / 4:40pm, DANCE442 African Dance, Mon, Sept 2 / 7:45pm, DANCE432 Ballet, Tues, Sept 3 / 3:05pm, DANCE422 Modern, Tues, Sept 3 / 6:15pm, DANCE412
Tues, Aug 27
Dance Majors and Minors Orientation/Information Meeting August 31, 9:00AM in Rubenstein Arts Center 230 Food and refreshments served.
7/29/19 10:38 AM
12:30 - 4:30 pm 4:30 - 10 pm 6:30 - 10 pm 7:30 - 8:30 pm 7:30 - 10 pm
Wed, Aug 28
Thur, Aug 29 fall 2019 audition ad logo upper left.indd 1
Info Meetings for all Ensembles
Sat, Aug 24
019 Biddle (vocalists) & 101 Biddle (instrumentalists) (It is only necessary to attend one of these sessions.)
084 Biddle Baldwin 024 Biddle
019 Biddle 083 Biddle
10:30 am - 12:30 pm Voice & 1:30 - 4:30 pm 4:30 - 6 pm Opera Theater Info Session 6 - 9 pm Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba 6:30 - 10 pm Jazz Trumpets and Trombones, Guitar, Bass, & Drums
6 - 11 pm
104 Biddle 104 Biddle 064 Biddle
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 | 5
Orientation Week 2019
President Vincent Price welcomed the Class of 2023 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Michelle Tai | Features Photography Editor
The entire class grouped together on the East Campus quad to spell out 2023 in their new t-shirts. Mary Helen Wood | Photography Editor
As members of the Durham community, we serve, learn and grow together. Join us! Visit
community.duke. edu/ for more information and details about how to get involved. Questions? 919.684.4377.
6 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
John Rutter Requiem and Louis Vierne’s Mass for 2 Organs and Choir with the Choral Society of Durham Spring Break tour to Florida
Info & Ice Cream: 8 pm on Sunday, Aug. 25 in Room 104 Biddle Music Bldg. Visit music.duke.edu/ensembles/chorale for more information. Sign up for an audition at duke-chorale-auditions.10to8.com.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 | 7
Durham leaders address spate of shootings at press conference By Matthew Griffin University News Editor
Local leaders committed to fighting gun violence spoke at a press conference on Thursday, following two deadly shootings in Durham. On Sunday, 9-year-old Zion Person was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting near the intersection of Duke Street and Leon Street. A day later, 18-year-old Kylik Burnette was killed in a shooting at an apartment complex on Chapel Hill Road. At Thursday’s press conference, local leaders described crime-fighting initiatives and reaffirmed their commitment to stopping such shootings. “This is a tragedy beyond words, but it is not a tragedy beyond action,” Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said of Person’s death. “While we mourn, we must act, and we will.” Schewel, Trinity ‘73 and Graduate School ‘82, said gun violence will not stop until the state legislature passes “common sense gun laws” that reduce the number of guns on the streets. However, he said that it was possible to “beat this violence back,” and that the shooting had sparked the community and law enforcement to act. Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said that law enforcement
Fatal shootings this past week in Durham was “working with deliberate speed to identify those responsible” for the shooting of Person. She described rising gun violence as the “greatest challenge” faced by the Durham Police Department. She said that combating the problem will require identifying individuals connected to acts of gun violence, handing down harsh sentences to repeat offenders and collaborating with federal
task forces to get high-capacity firearms off the streets. She outlined a number of steps that DPD had taken to accomplish these goals, such as allocating additional resources to the department’s homicide unit to “focus on known offenders possibly associated with recent incidents” and collaborating with a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives liaison agent to investigate gun crimes. “Enforcement efforts will be intentional, targeted and laser focused,” Davis said. Davis asked that people who have information about violent crime in Durham contact the police department or CrimeStoppers. Matthew Martin, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, said that federal, state and local officials were working together to address gun violence. He added that he had spoken to representatives of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and ATF about collaborative efforts to eliminate gang violence and the drug trade, which he said was often connected to violence. In particular, Martin said that the ATF was working with DPD to implement a system called NIBIN, a computer database of images of shell casings found at crime scenes. Law enforcement can match the images from one crime scene with those from another, and when someone is arrested with a gun, officials can determine whether that gun has been used to commit a crime. He also said that individuals who committed violent acts would be federally prosecuted, a process that carries mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders. Martin had a message for those who had been involved in violent acts or were considering them: “Your crime will find you out, and we will try our best to take you federal, and that’s a whole different ball game.” Satana Deberry, Durham County district attorney, also touted collaboration between law enforcement agencies in her speech. She said that a small number of people commit most acts of gun violence in Durham County, and that the DA’s office was working together with DPD to identify those individuals. Deberry added that the DA’s office had created a separate
homicide and violent crime team. The office is working to clear a backlog of “nearly 100 pending homicide cases” and has held pre-charge meetings with law enforcement to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to charge each individual. Wendy Jacobs, chair of the Durham Board of County Commissioners, struck a different tone in her speech. She described gun violence as a “public health issue,” whereby people who have experienced trauma or do not feel valued in the community are prone to commit violent acts. “Violence can be stopped and cured, like any epidemic, and we are working on this right now in Durham County government,” Jacobs said. She pointed to several initiatives that are currently underway: Bull City United violence interrupters, who resolve conflict and connect people with resources; the Durham Local Reentry Council, which connects justice involved people with “housing, jobs and healthcare” and the Project Build Gang Intervention Program, which provides support to at-risk youth to keep them from joining gangs.
Matthew Griffin | Contributing Photographer Durham city leaders held a press conference to address gun violence in the city.
8 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
‘Secure the bag’: Advice for the Class of 2023 By Jake Satisky Editor-in-Chief
As members of the Class of 2023 settle in to their East Campus dorms and prepare for a packed Orientation Week, they may feel overwhelmed with the size and grandeur of Duke. To help, The Chronicle asked people on Twitter and on campus for their advice on how best to navigate their four years at the University.
One person on Twitter pointed out two of the biggest reasons why students come to Duke—academics and the chance to make money.
It’s expensive to attend Duke, but can the value of a Duke diploma make up for it? Becky Holmes, Trinity ‘15, told the Class of 2023 to make it so.
Other students and alumni offered a litany of advice, from chatting with professors to getting to know the names of staff in your building.
If you're interested in grand strategy, international security, foreign policy and diplomacy, come to our...
Another reminded the first-years to take advantage of the electric atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
There are lots of accomplished students at Duke, which can intimidate some students. But don’t let everyone else preoccupy you, Amelia Cheatham, Trinity ‘18, advised.
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10 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
From Ted Bundy to Charles Finch: Duke prof. on career in criminal law By John Markis Seniors News Reporter
James Coleman’s extensive career in criminal law and wrongful convictions has led him to represent clients such as members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team and Ted Bundy. Coleman, John S. Bradway professor of the practice of law, has taught at Duke Law School for more than 20 years, starting as an adjunct professor and joining the faculty full-time in 1996. Today he specializes in criminal law and is a co-director of Duke Law School’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic, which began working in 2007 and has already exonerated seven men. Since he was in private practice, Coleman has been counsel in controversial cases. At his law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, he represented Ted Bundy, an infamous serial murderer and rapist who killed more than 30 women, to seek a stay of his death warrant.
His previous success in obtaining stays of execution for Stephen Todd Booker made him the ideal candidate for the job. Coleman and his co-counsel Polly Nelson, a recent law school graduate, were able to assure Bundy three extensions before he received the death penalty. Still, Coleman expresses remorse over the final verdict. “I was deeply disappointed in the indifference the federal court showed in reviewing Ted’s case,” he wrote in an email. “The [U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit] allowed the state of Florida to execute him despite very serious violations of the Constitution.” Before trial, principal witnesses in Bundy’s and Booker’s cases were put into a trance to access repressed memories of alleged witnesses, Coleman explained. “Today, it would be accepted as indisputable that the eyewitness identifications in the two cases were highly unreliable and tainted by highly suggestive pretrial
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processes,” Coleman wrote. Closer to home, he undertook the defense of the Duke men’s lacrosse team in 2006, in which Crystal Mangum, a North Carolina Central University student, accused three members of the men’s lacrosse team of rape. Despite the racial tension underlying the case, Coleman still chose to represent the men. “My focus in the lacrosse case was to determine the truth, based on the facts. Race was not a consideration in any way,” he wrote. “If I can convince people who ordinarily ignore the criminal justice system that continuing to do so is a threat to all of us, I feel I have advanced justice. The fact that the Duke students were at risk of being wrongfully convicted is what motivated me.” Presently, Coleman has dedicated himself to the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, alongside co-directors Theresa Newman, Charles S. Rhyne clinical professor of law, and Jamie Lau, clinical professor of law. Duke Law students often assist in casework at the clinic, and Coleman offers multiple courses dedicated to further research. “We tell our students that when we make a commitment to investigate a possible wrongful conviction, we never give up if there is any slim chance available to convince a prosecutor or judge that our client suffered a miscarriage of justice,” he wrote. “I am not influenced by the public, prosecutors, law enforcement officials or judges believing our client is guilty if we think there is a chance he is not.” In one case with the clinic, Coleman was able to get a conviction overturned when he and his legal team discovered absent information from a police report. Law enforcement accused Kalvin Michael Smith of beating Jill Marker, a Winston-Salem store staffer, to the point of inducing blindness and a coma in December 1995. However, a subsequent investigation in the late 2000s brought the case back into the limelight when an officer’s 2008 affidavit contradicted an official police report drafted following the attack. Coleman noted these discrepancies, and eventually the officer admitted that the affidavit was flawed. As a result of Coleman’s diligence, the case quickly unraveled, and Smith soon obtained justice. Still, Coleman views it as a fundamental problem that Smith spent nearly 20 years behind bars and received no compensation for this gross error. Smith had difficulty adjusting to life in prison and now has trouble as a freed man. “They just let him out of prison with a conviction and the disabilities that go along with that,” Coleman told the Greensboro News & Record. Coleman recently made headlines for his work in getting Charles Ray Finch’s conviction overturned. Finch was found guilty in 1976 of killing Richard Linwood Holloman, a local gas station owner, in Wilson County, NC. He was finally released in June, thanks to Coleman’s 18 years on the case. Despite this success, Coleman argued that more substantial repairs to the criminal justice system are needed to ensure equity in the United States. After all, Finch was freed after 43 long years. Across the nation, many communities still have not found justice, though some reforms bring gradual improvements, like the First Step Act and the restoration of voting rights to felons in Florida. “We are in a position to make improvements, but the system is so broken [that] the outcome is not obvious,” he wrote. “Race remains a major factor. Until we admit that fact and have an honest discussion about race, everything else is putting bandaids on wounds that require major surgery.”
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Jonah Sinclair | Staff Photographer James Coleman has had a career defending the accused and exonerating innocent prisoners.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 | 11
APARTMENT FROM PAGE 1 It forces them to go to places that may be unsafe for them to live,” argued Tessa’s father, Joe Gote, a licensed U.S. attorney, Ph.D. candidate and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Amsterdam’s School of Law. Other municipalities have enacted laws to prevent age discrimination against those 18 or older, including Baltimore. Under North Carolina law, those 18 or older can rent apartments legally, but there is no state law preventing age discrimination above 18. Joe Gote went to Sue Wasiolek, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, on July 30, 2018 to voice his concerns. Joe Gote asked Wasiolek to call the apartments and tell them that the age requirements appeared to be discriminatory and to ask the apartments to reconsider their policies. She initially agreed that it sounded like discrimination, Joe Gote said, Zach Bernstein | Contributing Photographer but Wasiolek ultimately declined to take action. The Heights at LaSalle is one example of an apartment complex that has an age minimum for signing leases. Joe Gote argues that the “Are you telling me that the University doesn’t care that its age restriction should be considered illegal. students are being discriminated against?” Joe Gote asked her. “It’s not that we don’t care, but we have other things to deal PAGE 12 SOUTHSIDE SHOPPER, RALEIGH, N.C. THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019 with,” she said, according to Gote’s recollections. Wasiolek said Gote is “attributing statements to me that I either didn’t make or were taken out of context.” Wasiolek could not say specifically what was inaccurate or out of context about Gote’s statements after multiple follow-up questions, saying “time and memory will not allow me to do any better than this.” Wasiolek says she hasn’t heard complaints from students about not being able to rent apartments due to age. “Indeed, every year hundreds of Duke students, of all ages, rent apartments and houses throughout the community with no problem,” Wasiolek wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. “Further, it is the government’s responsibility to address any allegations of housing discrimination, not the university’s.” “They may be interested, but Duke is unwilling to intervene and make an open public statement saying ‘we don’t like this,’” Joe Gote said. He told The Chronicle that Duke should get involved on students’ behalf for two reasons. First, he believes seniors may Price valid be forced to live in unsafe places because such policies could until September 3rd! limit apartment availability. Second, with very limited oncampus housing for graduate students, “graduate students who are under 22 [years old] are forced to live [in] places that may not be desirable to live,” Joe Gote said. If anyone has been discriminated against because of their age, Wasiolek wrote, they should contact the City of Durham Human Relations Division or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Chronicle spoke with two current seniors who were unable to rent at The Heights at LaSalle due to their age. Senior Aditi Pilani told The Chronicle she toured The Heights at LaSalle assuming she would be able to rent with some roommates. But none of them were old enough to rent because of their age. She felt the policy limited her choices. “We liked the apartments and the location so I think we definitely would’ve considered it,” she told The Chronicle. The Heights at LaSalle was the first place senior Olivia Pennoyer looked for an apartment. She didn’t know about the policy, so she was confused when she gave a worker at The Heights at LaSalle her driver’s license, and the worker said she was too young to rent. She was shocked and looked other places, she said.
‘A strong inference that it is discrimination’
The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 as one of the major legislative achievements of the civil rights movement. It originally prohibited discrimination against those looking to buy or rent a home, get a mortgage, or “other housing-related activities” based upon four criteria: color, race, national origin or religion. Sex was added to this list in 1974. In 1988, the act was amended to make it “illegal to discriminate against families with children and against persons with physical or mental disabilities.” However, housing for older persons was exempt from familial status discrimination in this amendment, allowing senior living complexes to keep out people under 55. The meaning of housing for older persons was changed in a 1995 amendment to reflect “housing intended and operated for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit.” Joe Gote’s claim for age discrimination stems from this 1995 amendment. To him, this implies that the Fair Housing Act protects renters from age-based discrimination. An exemption that allows for renters to keep those under the age of 55 out would seem to imply that discrimination outside of that age range is prohibited, he argued. “It doesn’t take a legal genius to figure out there is a strong inference that it is discrimination,” Joe Gote told The See APARTMENT on Page 13
Durham, NC • 919.823.4292
12 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
APARTMENT FROM PAGE 11 Chronicle. “You have the law and have the exemption to the law that allows for 55 and over but doesn’t allow anything in between….It hasn’t been tested because they prey on young people who won’t fight it.” Joseph Singer, a Harvard Law professor who teaches property law and has written extensively on the Fair Housing Act, isn’t ruling out the validity of Gote’s claim, but isn’t very optimistic either, writing in an email that a court would be “unlikely” to accept his argument in the event of a lawsuit. He said North Carolina and federal law do not prohibit age discrimination as some states like Massachusetts do. He also believes that the “familial status” clause “suggests an intent to protect young people but not to protect against other forms of age discrimination.” “I would be in favor of adding ‘age’ to the federal Fair Housing Act, and the state legislature in North Carolina might consider adding ‘age’ to its antidiscrimination statute, but absent that, the claim is likely, but not certain, to fail,” he wrote. Singer added that a claim of age discrimination in North Carolina law “could be made,” leaving it up to the state’s supreme court to rule on the case. Phillip Jordan, city staff liaison for the Durham Humans Rights commission, told The Chronicle in an email the commission could not do anything for Tessa Gote “because age is not a protected class under the federal Fair Housing Act or the Durham Fair Housing Ordinance.”
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 | 13
very responsible.” “We are not violating fair housing with age restriction, we would be violating fair housing if we made the exception for his daughter,” Vitale wrote in an email to Anna Sullivan, The Heights at LaSalle’s community director, which Sullivan forwarded to Joe Gote. “As much as we would love to have her and the roommate part of our community, we are unable to make the exception.” “The fact is that they’re discriminating against everyone,” Joe Gote said. “Their view is that they can discriminate against anyone as long as they don’t make exceptions.” Vitale did not respond to multiple requests for comment, including a request that included several specific questions about his email. Gote had also asked if any of the legal clinics at the School of Law could look into potential age discrimination. Liz Gustafson, associate dean for academic affairs and counsel to the dean of the School of Law, wrote in an email to Gote on July 30, 2018 that the clinics were only able to serve clients who are “unable to pay for legal representation.” She pointed toward the Durham Human Relations Commission. Durham’s Station Nine also has a 21 age minimum, but ultimately leased to her even though she was a few weeks younger than 21. Solis Brightleaf, Berkshire Main, Trinity Commons and The Heights at LaSalle did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 810 9th Street and Station Nine told The Chronicle they comply with applicable laws, including the Fair Housing Act.
CONVOCATION FROM PAGE 1 process he oversaw. He noted that the Class of 2023 came from 60 countries, 48 states and 883 towns and cities. Since convocation was in Cameron, Guttentag used a basketball analogy to explain the process behind admissions. When coaches recruit players, he said, they don’t judge them based on what they are at the moment. Coaches recruit them for the players they could become down the road. The same mindset applies to Duke admissions. “We didn’t admit you because of what you did,” Guttentag said. “We admitted you because of what you’re capable of doing, capable of becoming.” McKinney, a senior, discussed the unexpected turns that life at Duke can take. She said her 18-year-old self would be “disappointed” if she knew how her “big plans” had unfolded. From seeing a concert instead of studying for a test to having to withdraw from a class, McKinney said that not everything has gone exactly as she envisioned. Despite setbacks, she said she “would do it all over again.” Without that concert, she wouldn’t have met some of her best friends. And without struggling through classes, she wouldn’t have developed her support network and a strong belief in herself. “If my path had worked out like I planned three years ago, I would’ve missed out on some of the best and most meaningful moments I’ve had at Duke,” McKinney said.
Should Duke take action? Joe Gote thinks so
Tessa Gote’s late acceptance to Duke—in April, with classes starting in July—left her with few housing options, even as a 20-year-old graduate student. When she was turned away from The Heights at LaSalle, they pointed her to a nearby apartment that had no security gate. Security was very important for Joe Gote, who was sending his child across the Atlantic Ocean to go to school in a new country. He pleaded with The Heights at LaSalle, arguing it was age discrimination. Christian Vitale, regional director of The Heights’ parent company—The Worthing Companies—wrote in an email to Gote that there is no exception to the age policy, “[e]ven though his daughter is mature for her age and seems
The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation Michelle Tai | Features Photography Editor Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 DSG President Liv McKinney, a senior, spoke at620 convocation about appreciating life even when it doesn’t go according to plan. For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For August23, 20,2019 2019 ForRelease ReleaseTuesday, Friday, August
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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
14 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
Introducing: the Community Editorial Board
or the past 13 years, the Editorial Board of The Chronicle has published weekly and, for much of that history, daily columns reflecting on issues related to Duke and the broader communities that the University touches. Comprised of students and advised by Chronicle staff, the Board strived to maintain its stated
Enforcement agents in Durham to pushing for collective action on labor issues like the treatment of Resident Assistants and the quality of life of graduate students, the Board has been vocal and present in some of the most significant conversations being had on and off campus. At the same time, this work has not been without difficulty.
voting members sit on the Board where members demonstrate a breadth and depth of knowledge, experiences and perspectives to contribute to the Board’s discussions on the weekly editorials. Based on the consensus of the board’s discussion, the unsigned editorials are written anonymously by one voting member and later reviewed and
COMMUNITY EDITORIAL BOARD mission “to enrich campus dialogue by offering thoughtful opinions on a variety of issues; to hold students, faculty and administrators publicly accountable for their statements and actions; and to help students sharpen their journalistic and writing skills.” In the time that we have been members of the Board, we have felt a consistent pride in the efforts made to uphold that mission. From excoriating the violent presence of Immigration and Customs
hot take of the week “French fries are overrated.”
—Derek Saul, Sports Editor and Conner McLeod, Sports Managing Editor on August 22, 2019
Direct submissions to:
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.
E-mail: email@example.com Editorial Page Department The Chronicle Box 90858, Durham, NC 27708 Phone: (919) 684-2663 Fax: (919) 684-4696
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
BEN LEONARD, Towerview Editor JAKE SHERIDAN, Towerview Managing Editor WILL ATKINSON, Recess Managing Editor MIRANDA GERSHONI, Recess Managing Editor JAEWON MOON, Editorial Board Chair OLIVIA SIMPSON, Editorial Board Chair BRE BRADHAM, Investigations Editor BEN LEONARD, Investigations Editor SHAGUN VASHISTH, Investigations Editor BRE BRADHAM, Recruitment Chair SHAGUN VASHISTH, Recruitment Chair MAYA ISKANDARANI, Senior News Reporter JOHN MARKIS, Senior News Reporter TREY FOWLER, Advertising Director JULIE MOORE, Creative Director
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
Around a decade ago, the Editorial Board transitioned from a body of Chronicle editors to one of students independent of the paper. This past year, each editorial has concluded with this disclaimer: “This was written by The Chronicle’s Editorial Board, which is made up of student members from across the University and is independent of the editorial staff.” Still, it has not always been clear that the positions and opinions of the Board are not those of The Chronicle staff writ large. The lack of clarity behind what it means to be an independent yet affiliated body of The Chronicle while engaging with some of the most pressing and critical issues on campus led to a series of conversations on how to preserve the voice and platform of the Board while clearly delineating the opinions and comments of the Board from the Chronicle as a whole. Following these and related discussions, Volume 115 will beckon a new evolution of the Board— the Community Editorial Board. As incoming cochairs, instead of the traditional reflection on the ever-decreasing acceptance rate or welcome to our newest Blue Devils, we would like to reflect on the significance of this change and to outline our vision for the Board moving forward. Traditionally, whether in large papers like the New York Times or college papers like The Daily Tar Heel, Editorial Boards are comprised of the paper’s staff and publish opinion pieces that are understood to represent the perspective of the paper. The Board’s independence from The Chronicle beginning in 2006 signaled a shift towards a Board that remained under the Chronicle platform yet embraced a distinct and nonrepresentative voice, similar to how opinion columnists do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Chronicle staff but still get published under its platform. As a further emphasis on the differentiation between the Chronicle staff and Board members, Board members are explicitly prohibited from writing or editing other daily or weekly sections of The Chronicle. Currently, between 10 and 15
approved by the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Page Editor—as with any other column. As follows, the Editorial Board does not and can not speak for The Chronicle as a whole. Just as the Board does not intend to speak on behalf of The Chronicle, neither are we attempting to represent the entire Duke community. Rather, our weekly editorials aim to bring light to variable issues from a critical, thoughtful angle through student voices in the community that are not typically found among staff. With this rebranding and clarification, we see an opportunity not only to continue our mission of enriching dialogue and holding our campus accountable, but also to expand the breadth of perspectives and issues included within The Chronicle’s pages. As new co-chairs to this new iteration of the Board, we know there is significant work ahead to preserve this as a space for such critical discourse, but we remain optimistic. In this new year, Duke is poised to experience its own broad array of changes, from the transformation of Central Campus into parking lots to the grand opening of the Hollows and arrival of the newest first year class (welcome ‘23!). We’re hopeful that through each of these turns and along the twists that are as of yet unknown, the Community Editorial Board will remain a present, engaged participant. If you would like to take a look at some of our editorials from the past few years, take a look here, and feel free to shoot us an email with any questions.
Olivia Simpson (Trinity ‘20) and Jaewon Moon (Trinity ‘20) are the co-chairs of The Chronicle’s rebranded Community Editorial Board, a body comprised of student members with the goal of providing a collaborative space to voice opinions on current issues. The Community Editorial Board is fully independent of the editorial staff of The Chronicle.
Have something to say? Apply to be a Fall 2019 columnist— application out next week.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 | 15
Does it matter if my professor’s a Democrat?
his June, The Chronicle published an astounding report revealing that there are nearly 13 times more registered Democrats than registered Republicans on Duke’s faculty. That kind of gap sounds improbable—if not impossible— and yet, here we are. And if, for whatever unholy reason, you keep up with national higher education trends, you know that this discrepancy fits the norm. The disparity between liberal and conservative professors is large, and growing; national statistics showed a 6:1 ratio between the two. In New England, the ratio was found to be 28:1.
Akshaj Turebylu WAYS AND MEANS
As is clear through The Chronicle’s reporting, different fields appear to be affected differently. At Duke, Pratt has the least amount of disparity. Although its faculty is leftleaning, Pratt had the largest percent share of Republicans (and the lowest percentage of party alignment of any of the disciplines studied). And while the natural sciences leaned Democratic, almost all of their departments have some share of Republicans. It is the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines that seem to lack conservative professors. Most of the departments in these disciplines lack any conservatives. The Social Sciences do have some Republicans, but they are focused in a few select fields (like economics and political science). How did we get here? Some might assume this to be the natural state of academia; there have always been more liberals than conservatives, right? Not at all. This trend has only become prevalent over the past twenty-five years. In the face of such glaring imbalance, it’s easy to make claims of discrimination. The reason there are so few conservative professors is that administrators are part of a nefarious Communist agenda to take over the universities. But, of course, correlation does not equal causation. There have been anecdotal reports of discrimination against conservatives in graduate admissions, but a nationwide experiment found no significant evidence of bias. There are many reasons why such a disparity could have been created. For one, liberal-leaning students generally consider graduate school more often than their conservative counterparts. Conservatives also tend to gravitate towards professional work. Conservative politicians have used the trend of left-leaning faculties to accuse universities of indoctrinating students and propagating a liberal agenda. What does this really mean, though? Universities have two major functions: to share knowledge and to
create knowledge. The first is accomplished through teaching. The second is accomplished through research, peer review, and debate. Is teaching corrupted by a liberal-leaning faculty? Not really. Students don’t passively accept the opinions and arguments of their professors. Conservative students, apparently, cannot be programmed by their professors. Despite the fears of conservative politicians, indoctrination is not so easy. It does seem, however, that the creation of knowledge is threatened by a homogenous professoriate. In a lecture given at Duke, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes the importance of viewpoint diversity. As individuals, we regularly use motivated reasoning to confirm our beliefs. Even when we look at the evidence, we resist conclusions we dislike and actively work to find what we want. A university setting is built to remove these biases by pitting biases against each other. Haidt calls this institutionalized disconfirmation. Scholars are forced to prune their biases out of their work before submitting it. If not, they get called out by their colleagues. For this reason, the reputation of a discipline is predicated on how well it peer reviews the knowledge it produces. Journalism is a strong example of this principle. In recent years, public trust in journalism and mainstream media has sharply decreased. Inaccuracy and bias are stated as the leading reasons for distrusting journalists. This perception comes from faulty and hasty reporting by newspapers caused by a lack of proper editing and peer review (usually due to a rushed deadline). Universities have—by and large—maintained their respectability as a result of the rigorous debate they encourage. But, Haidt notes, debate is weakened when there is a lack of different viewpoints. When an orthodox position is created (in this case due to a certain political leaning), it is less likely to be debated rigorously. Those who hold the position accept it strongly but adopt weak arguments with which to defend it. This creates a certain intellectual fragility where the orthodox idea can be broken easily—but isn’t— because of a bias in the group. Rigorous debate isn’t just damaged between academics, it’s also lost between students. This is seen in national data regarding debate among university students. Conservatives and libertarians are far less likely to share their beliefs and are more likely to receive poor treatment due to their politics. A majority of students in a 2017 survey stated that their university did not encourage intellectual diversity. How can knowledge be created when you’re too scared to speak? Where is knowledge creation being influenced? Leftleaning bias probably won’t matter in most departments. A biologist will not lose their ability to research bacterial DNA because they believe in universal healthcare. In general, it is the social sciences that are most affected by political bias. Whether it is economics, political science, gender studies, or sociology, these fields produce politically
engaged work. Trying to objectively measure the success or failure of Reaganomics is made more difficult if you voted for or against it. The best way to ensure that you do is to have someone of the opposite persuasion looking over your work. It is critical that the social sciences remain impartial in the pursuit of knowledge—these fields regularly influence government policy and public opinion. The public needs to know that when they read about sociological studies they are receiving unbiased and meaningful information. Let’s take history for example. The History Department has no registered Republicans; its faculty is almost 75 percent Democratic. What does this mean for coverage of Republican Party history, or even the history of conservatism in the United States? The problem isn’t that professors are scheming to get their viewpoints supported. As stated before, humans have an innate difficulty in fairly defending and recognizing positions they disagree with. But… why should historians care? In fact, why should liberals care? If they’re winning the debate stage, why cater to conservative complaints? Haidt uses a quote from John Stuart Mill to answer this question. “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.” Without an intellectual sparring partner to oppose them, liberal arguments become weaker. They are less truthful, less meaningful, and less useful in the pursuit of knowledge. Everyone is harmed by these trends. There are definite problems when the professoriate has a political leaning. The cries of apocalypse by conservative politicians, however, are moot. Students aren’t being indoctrinated and many conservative professors are content with their careers. In fact, most of the concerns of a crisis are coming from older Republicans. As in, the ones who are not actually in school. But, does there need to be a response? Well… yes and no. Yes, we need to study the effects of bias more. We need to know the result of having a 13:1 Democrat-Republican ratio. But also, no. How much can we do? Purposefully hire more Republican-leaning professors? That’s actual discrimination (not to mention an impossible hiring metric). Creating that kind of ideological barrier to entry for a professorship would be mayhem. We need more data, more research, and more debate about this topic itself. Letting liberals ignore it won’t solve anything; we also can’t let conservatives bemoan political bias without proper research. Journalism succumbed to a lack of public trust—let’s save universities from that fate. Akshaj Turebylu is a Trinity first-year. His column, “ways and means,” runs on alternate Fridays. This column was originally published on July 15, 2019.
Learning to feel my pain—and others’, too
our years ago, I walked into a hospital, and my life changed. It was 5:30 a.m., and I was a rising senior in high school. I wore sweatpants and a soft t-shirt. I watched as my mom and dad signed me in at the children’s hospital front desk. A nurse stuck around for a vein, my doctor came and spoke to me, and before I knew it, I was asleep.
Liddy Grantland FEEL YOUR FEELINGS When I woke up in the ICU ten and a half hours later, I had two rods, 6 hooks, and 8 screws in my spine, straightening my scoliosis and promising a life with less pain. Today, at 3:00 p.m., I walked into another hospital, in a different state, a rising senior in college. I wore a blue polo and a name badge. I took the elevator to the children’s floor. Only this time, I didn’t see any nurses or doctors besides the ones I passed by in the hall. I had no anesthesia, no ICU visit, no week-long hospital stay. There was definitely no promise of a life with less pain. I volunteer in the Ronald McDonald House Family Room in Duke Hospital. On the children’s floor, volunteers take 3-hour shifts managing a room where caregivers can find
free coffee and snacks, and can access laundry, computers, a shower and a quiet, comfortable seating area. Especially for families facing unexpected hospital visits in faraway places, access to laundry, showers and food can make all the difference. But the Family Room’s most essential function, as I’ve seen in my year and a half as a volunteer, is as a space to rest from the burden of caring for a child in pain. Much of what I know about my time in the hospital is based on what my parents told me later. They were too nervous to eat all day, but when the surgery was finally over, out of nowhere, Subway sandwiches materialized. They still have no idea who brought them. I think about that every time the elevator opens on the children’s floor. When my parents would tell me later about how challenging it was to watch me in such pain, I would often get angry and resentful. It was a foreign feeling, one that surprised me. Why would I ever be frustrated at them expressing their love for me, their pain at watching me hurt? But as the weeks, months and years after my surgery went by, my pain didn’t go away. Four years later, I still carry chronic back and muscle pain. I’ll carry that pain for the rest of my life. Pain is one of the most isolating experiences a person can have. Pain necessarily makes us turn inward on ourselves, taking us to places where it’s harder to hear the voices of the people who love us.
When I heard my parents talk about the pain of watching me hurt, my deepest, most angry and maladjusted inner voice exclaimed, ‘But I am the one hurting! Not you!’ But in the Family Room, I’ve learned that that’s absolutely not true. It is hard to be in pain; I know that well. But in many ways, it is harder to watch someone you love be in pain and not be able to fix it. It hurts to be isolated by pain, and it also hurts to love and care for someone isolated by pain—especially when that person is unable to express their pain to you. The pain that parents feel at watching their child hurt is a pain that often goes unacknowledged by the people around them. The pain of sitting with someone who is hurting is as valid as the pain of the person physically hurting. A part of me hopes that by making another pot of coffee, by folding somebody’s warm baby clothes, by talking to a parent who needs a listening ear, I can lessen the pain they experience, that my parents experienced. But even with something to eat and a warm drink in our hands, painful memories will live with these parents and my parents the way it lives with these children and me, for the rest of our lives. Today, even as I look back and acknowledge that pain, I’m trying to look ahead. Imagining a future can be challenging when you know you’ll be in pain for the rest of your life. But this year, I am imagining a future—a senior
year, and a life beyond Duke—in which I carry with me the spirit of the Family Room. The Family Room is a place where you can assume that every person you meet is struggling with an immense amount of pain: pain like my parents’, pain like mine. We acknowledge that pain by being extraordinarily gentle with one another. We find that last bag of Doritos, we make room for more people when they arrive, and we don’t ask prying questions. We just hold space. As someone who carries pain with them, and who loves a lot of people who carry my pain, too, I wish all spaces were as gentle as the Family Room. I especially wish that for my sweet parents, the ones who scarfed down sandwiches someone else thought to buy them four years ago today and have hurt alongside me ever since. So as we round the corner on August, I want to learn to hold the kind of space I find in the family room everywhere I go. To assume nothing about a person except that their life is as complex as mine, their trauma as deep and wounding. To be present with people in their pain. My time in the hospital, then and now, has taught me that all of us hurt. All of us know someone who is hurting. This year, I want to act like it. Liddy Grantland is a Trinity senior. Her column, “Feel your Feelings,” runs on alternate Mondays. This column was originally published on June 25, 2019.
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16 | FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019
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Tradition & Innovation
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