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The independent news organization at Duke University

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021

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ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEENTH YEAR, ISSUE 17

‘A BLESSING AND A CURSE’ Students reflect on hybrid and online learning

Some students come to campus for first time By Jamael Smith Contributing Reporter

By Carsten Pran Contributing Reporter

With a full semester of hybrid and virtual learning under their belts, students have found both challenges and silver linings in adapting to new course formats. Many Duke courses used hybrid or virtual learning models this fall in response to the need for distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students have enjoyed the extra flexibility that new course formats have offered, while others have struggled with paying attention and having meaningful interactions in online courses. For some students, pre-recorded lectures allowed them to learn at their own pace and return to lessons for clarification and test preparation. “I find it very helpful content-wise to be able to pause lectures,” said junior Bennett David. “I am a slower learner like that, so it helps me rewind and engage with the content more.” See LEARNING on Page 3

Some members of the Class of 2023 are living on campus for the first time this spring. Duke allowed all first-years and sophomores to come to campus in the fall semester. However, according to Asha Artis, Housing and Residence Life staff specialist, around 100 first-year students decided to take classes virtually from home. These students are now expected to live on campus for the first time in the spring. Parham wrote in an email to The Chronicle that these new first-year students have been assigned housing randomly, with the majority of them placed on East Campus and approximately 20 placed on West Campus. But amid these changes, concerns about acclimating to campus life weigh on many of these students’ minds. First-year Arianna Dwomoh, who will live in Keohane dorm on West Campus, expressed nervousness and concerns about being able to make friends. First-year Jeffrey Hwang, who will live in Southgate dorm on East Campus, echoed Dwomoh’s concerns about making friends, mentioning that many other students are See CAMPUS on Page 12

OPINION

Racist letter reveals Duke’s hypocrisy By Lily Levin Columnist

On June 17, 2020, President Vincent Price published a statement addressed to the Duke community regarding anti-racist initiatives, claiming that the University would “resolutely turn our attention toward the mission of anti-racism.” In its December issue, the Duke Alumni Magazine published “It’s Not All Racism,” a letter to the editor that gaslighted anti-Black oppression, shamed BIPOC for their marginalization, and demonstrated overt racism. The author of this letter, Charles Clutts, Trinity, ‘61, argued that “some of it [the plight of minority victims] falls on the victims themselves.” The two messages espoused by Duke appear contradictory— how, even, could they exist within the breadth of a single institution? Kamryn Washington, a Black junior at Duke who tweeted about the incident, “wasn’t really surprised about the article being written by someone who graduated Duke before Black students were allowed to attend.” Clutts notes that he graduated from an “all-white Duke” and did not understand until later that he benefited from “what is now called ‘white privilege,’” an acknowledgment of ignorance which is, ironically, devoid of self-awareness. However, despite any lack of surprise, the letter generated rightful outrage because of its explicit racism. And the question I posed earlier appears

insignificant, rhetorical. June Eric-Udorie, a Black senior at Duke and author of the viral tweet which exposed this letter online, says that the most astounding aspect of the letter was “the fact that Duke decided to publish this with no regard about how this would make them [Black students] feel.” Perhaps, then, I should not be asking, “How was this piece published?” but rather, why? The answer is damning: Duke, alongside other elite institutions, exists within— and reproduces—a brand of vicious white hypocrisy. Duke’s racist roots, the racist incidents that occur frequently on campus today, and the unexamined white privilege that its students experience allow opinions like Clutts’ to be published. Duke’s legacy grants these opinions legitimacy. President Price’s statement regarding antiracism was professed in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, when sales of “White Fragility” and other similarly themed books jumped over 2000%, when anti-racism became a catchphrase, a black-square Instagram post, a new street sign. But Price’s statement provided little substantive reflection about Duke’s history; not once did it mention the role of slavery cemented within the foundations of Duke or the young girl enslaved by the Duke family. And not once did the statement mention the tireless work of the Duke Black Coalition Against Policing or any commitment to defunding or abolishing

Lauren Cao | Staff Photographer After studying remotely last fall, some students are now coming to campus for the first time.

Courtesy of Duke University The alumni magazine’s December 2020 issue.

police on campus. Eric-Udorie offers a fundamental question in response to these hollow professions of anti-racism: “How much are you [Duke administration] paying staff members who are Black and Brown, and do all the work to keep Duke running on a daily basis? Do they have access to the same benefits as white professionals, part of the ivory tower?”

INSIDE — Welcome back to campus, and keep staying safe! | Serving the University since 1905 |

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INSIDE Remembering Michael Mutersbaugh Friends and family recall the doctoral student’s generosity and optimism. PAGE 2

A TikTok musical, reviewed “Ratatouille: The TikTok musical” is a surprise hit, Tessa Delgo writes. PAGE 6

New inequality studies minor The leaders of the new program explain why they established the minor and why studying inequality is important. PAGE 11 @thedukechronicle | ©2021 The Chronicle


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Michael Mutersbaugh remembered for generosity, optimism By Maria Morrison Managing Editor

From helping his neurobiology labmates with coding for their experiments to going on spontaneous adventures with his friends, Michael Mutersbaugh brought light and joy to all he did. “In his short 23 years he absolutely lived life to its fullest extent, and shared with others how to do the same,” wrote his parents, Ann and James Mutersbaugh. Mutersbaugh, who died in a car accident Dec. 12, was a first-year doctoral student in the neurobiology program. Born in Reston, Va., he is survived by his family and many friends from Duke and beyond who admired his generosity and optimism. Growing up in McLean, Va. introduced Mutersbaugh to activities including swimming, soccer, unicycling, skateboarding and playing the alto saxophone in his high school marching band. He also made time to volunteer at a local retirement residence. Mutersbaugh graduated from the University of Virginia in spring 2019 with a Courtesy of Ann and James Mutersbaugh Michael Mutersbaugh, a doctoral student in bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. That summer, he joined the lab of Court neurobiology, died in a car accident Dec. 12. Hull, associate professor of neurobiology, in the Duke University School of Medicine’s

Know someone committed to service? Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award Nominations due March 2, 2021 This prestigious award is presented to 1) one graduating senior and 2) one member of the faculty, staff, or graduate student body of Duke University or Duke Health for their outstanding commitment to service. Nominees should perpetuate the excellence of character and humanitarian service of Algernon Sydney Sullivan by recognizing and honoring such qualities in others such as: n Recognition of Selflessness n Generosity of Service n Nobility of Character n Person of Integrity n Depth of Spirituality

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department of neurobiology, as a research technician. Mutersbaugh had done research the previous summer at the Neuronal Circuits and Behavior Unit National Institute of Health Biomedical Research Center. There, he co-authored a scientific paper that will be published soon, according to an online obituary from his family. Considering Mutersbaugh’s experience at UVA and the NIH, Hull was happy to invite him to the lab to work on research concerning the cerebellum. As a technician, Mutersbaugh was effectively being taught like a first-year graduate student, Hull said. This mainly included following up on a project from a previous year, but he fell naturally into other positions as well. “From the moment he showed up, he started doing his own experiments, writing his own code and really delving into the literature,” Hull said. “It was easy with him. He just fell right into our work and started being really proactive and asking questions.” After a year, Mutersbaugh applied and was accepted into the doctoral program. He also quickly became a “very central figure” in the small lab, Hull said. “[Mutersbaugh] was really fantastic in the sense that he was probably the most generous person I’d had in the lab with his time. He was always the first person to offer to help,” Hull said. In recent Zoom sessions with the lab group to discuss the loss, Hull heard lots of stories about how each person had been affected by Mutersbaugh’s kindness. “He had only been there for a year and a half, but he was the glue between the other people in the lab,” Hull said. “He made friendships and connections that were very strong and that happened really fast.” Minel Arinel, now a second-year neurobiology graduate student, encountered Mutersbaugh in September 2019 at a happy hour for graduate students. At that time, Arinel was a first-year graduate student. When Mutersbaugh joined her in that role the following year, they became even closer. Mutersbaugh was very analytical and realistic, Arinel said. However, this didn’t stop him from trying to see the best in everything and bring a positive attitude to all he did. Arinel especially appreciated his spontaneity. Whenever she was bored, he was ready to jump up and do something. “He would always make time for his friends,” Arinel said. In larger social settings, Mutersbaugh was intuitive, able to instantly read people and situations. “He was very sensitive to the changes in people’s energies and people’s moods,” Arinel said, noting that if anyone in a group was bothered by something small, Mutersbaugh would be the first one to notice. “He was all about good vibes and creating new energies and new moods. He was actually thinking of ways to improve our moods and energies and bringing positive energies to our social circle,” she said. When considering how to keep her friend in lasting memory, Arinel embodied his spirit of positivity. “He lives in all of us. He had a huge impact in our friend circle and among all of his loved ones. But he would want us to move on and have fun,” Arinel said. “...He was all about positivity and moving on and seeing life realistically, as it is. I think that’s what he would want us to do.” Mutersbaugh’s parents agreed in his online obituary that their son’s spirit is best remembered with a continued passion for life and helping others. “[Mutersbaugh] would want this for all of us, to have this trigger the opening of our hearts, and a change in our lives,” they wrote. “Also, [Mutersbaugh] would want for this to inspire us to achieve our greatest potential, so that we can not only care for ourselves and families, but those who are less fortunate.” Hull’s last memory with Mutersbaugh was Friday night, the day before the Saturday accident. Hull recalled Mutersbaugh being so excited about his current experiment that he pulled the professor over around 6:30 p.m. to show him. “Something I learned from him by just watching him was how to do this and have fun while doing it. That’s something we will remember and continue as a group,” Hull said. “That enthusiasm is something that everybody in the lab really valued and I hope will embrace and try to carry forward.” The single-car automobile accident occurred in Raleigh when Mutersbaugh’s car left the road and hit a tree. The three passengers who were in the car at the time all survived but are still recovering from their injuries, and in Mutersbaugh’s obituary, his family extended wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery. Hull said that there may be future plans to memorialize Mutersbaugh on campus, but those are currently unconfirmed. This was echoed in a message from Deans Paula McClain and Mary Klotman to the Graduate School and School of Medicine which confirmed that the University will collaborate with family and friends to safely pay tribute to Mutersbaugh’s life.


The Chronicle

Some first-years opt to move campuses By Rachel Enggasser Staff Reporter

While Duke’s plan to house some firstyear students on West Campus for the fall was a positive experience for many, some firstyear students have chosen to relocate to East Campus for the spring. West Campus dorms are traditionally reserved for sophomores, juniors and seniors, with all first-year students living on East Campus together. This is part of Duke’s efforts to build cohesion and community among each class. As with many elements of the Duke experience, however, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted these plans. Joe See FIRST-YEARS on Page 12

Chronicle File Photo First-year students usually live together on East Campus, but because of Duke’s de-densification efforts, some are on West this year.

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LEARNING FROM PAGE 1 Virtual classes also cut down the time students spend going from one class to another. “I’m now more independent with my time, which was something I appreciated coming out of high school,” first-year Gurnoor Majhail said. Online office hours, take-home labs and close connections with professors made hybrid classes and virtual learning models more engaging for some students. Sophomore Ying Yu admired the efforts her biology professors made to build personal relationships with students and preserve the quality of the course despite the virtual format. “The teaching team made the lectures engaging even though they were online, and they managed to make the rest of the lab that we were doing still a possibility for us,” Yu said. However, hybrid learning also presented students with new challenges. “It’s both a blessing and a curse,” David said. “I can move things around exactly as I want but I found it more difficult to stay on task.” Senior Ivy Jiang also found online lectures harder to engage with. “I would sometimes find myself on mute, video off, not paying attention at all,” Jiang said. The socially distant lectures and online classes also left some students feeling socially unfulfilled. For Majhail, it was difficult to meet new friends and have collaborative interactions in class through a screen. “There was less incentive to participate, and spontaneous conversations were a lot less frequent,” Majhail said. To address these challenges, some students adopted new habits and adapted their learning processes. “I found myself having to write my own schedule,” Yu said, “I had to keep track of which live lectures I missed and find time to take notes outside of the time they designate for you.” “I never do work on my bed. I only do work at my desk. Having different spheres of

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021 | 3

STORIES FROM WINTER BREAK ON DUKECHRONICLE.COM

Where the money goes: Duke Greek life’s relationship to the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee BY STEFANIE POUSOULIDES AND HANNAH MIAO | 12/07/2020 National and local organizations associated with 13 of Duke’s Panhel and IFC chapters gave a total of more than $200,000 to the hybrid political action committee between 2013 and 2020.

Current or former students at Duke, UNC and App State charged in drug investigation BY PREETHA RAMACHANDRAN | 12/17/2020 Many of the 21 charged are current or former students at the schools, including “a majority” of students from UNC and a few from Duke and App State, according to a U.S. attorney.

Duke’s Early Decision acceptance rate falls to lowest in history BY MONA TONG| 12/18/2020 Duke admitted 840 high school seniors for a 16.7% acceptance rate, the lowest in its histoy, after seeing a spike in Early Decision applications.

‘A very hopeful moment’: Duke begins COVID-19 vaccinations BY MICHAEL LEE | 12/20/2020 Duke Hospital received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines Dec. 14. my life even if it’s a small space has been really important for me,” Majhail said. Some students hope that certain institutional and personal changes that have occurred in response to the pandemic will be here to stay afterwards. “Zoom meetings are super convenient because you don’t have to go through all the trouble of physically meeting up or reserving a space,” Jiang said. Yu said she hopes teachers continue to record their lectures after the pandemic, so students can easily rewatch and learn things they missed in class. This spring, Duke plans on continuing with a mix of in-person, hybrid and virtual classes. Students and professors will continue adapting to

this new form of learning, but many students anxiously await a return to normalcy. “It makes me sad that my last semester will be like this,” Jiang said. “I miss the senior events that would’ve happened. At least the Class of 2020 had their 100 days celebration in the fall semester and we didn’t get any of that at all.” On the other hand, Majhail hopes to experience a normal year in college and awaits a time when students can mingle more easily. “I’m super excited to have new conversations with different people and be able to interact with new people,” Majhail said.

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january 20, 2021

recess

animation for adults

Disney Pixar’s “Soul” deals with the anxieties of modern adult life, page 5

‘ratatouille: the tiktok musical’ Viral TikTok video provides virtual respite from life in quarantine, page 6


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playground

Pixar’s ‘Soul’ is an imperfect movie for adults in search of a spark By Stephen Atkinson Culture editor

“Soul” may be a Pixar film, but it deals with one of the most pressing anxieties for modern adults: What does it mean to follow your dream, to find your soul and your spark in a world where dreams are, all too often, deferred? Joe Gardner, voiced by Jaime Foxx, is the soft-smiling protagonist of “Soul” and the first Black protagonist of a Pixar movie. Clad in a black turtleneck and gray fedora, he dreams of playing improvisational jazz as a pianist. All other routes for his life, including a potential stint as a middle school band teacher, seem bleak in comparison, despite his mother’s

exasperated insistence that he find a stable, paying job. Early on, it is unclear why this very real-life narrative needs to be animated, until the movie jolts the viewer with Joe’s sudden death-byunmarked-pothole, splintering the rest of the story into two worlds: the real world of New York City; and the “Great Before,” a cotton candy-colored realm guided by benevolent line-art beings who prepare “unborn souls,” cute blue blobs with eyes and mouths, for their lives as humans. After his death, Joe, now an anamorphic blue blob, lands on a slowly moving road, suspended in space, that channels into a glowing orb called the “Great Beyond.” Somehow (don’t think too hard) he is able to

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On the cover: “The Smokers” by Salman Toor as seen at the Whitney Museum of Art

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escape and venture on an interdimensional journey to recapture his life with the aid of an unborn soul by the name of 22. Voiced by Tina Fey, this is the 22nd soul to ever exist, yet she has never been able to find her spark, which is the final requirement for souls to enter the world as human beings. “Soul” feels like the older, moodier cousin of “Inside out,” which was also divided into two worlds and sought to illustrate our psychology. But where “Inside Out” posited a metaphor for emotion, which, although helpful to some, left me unsatisfied, “Soul” takes a more experimental route that asks instead of answers. Sure, the unborn souls are sorted into portals that determine their oversimplified personality traits (either “insecure” or “self-absorbed,” in one instance), but these are peripheral moments played for laughs. The heart of “Soul” lies in deep questions whose answers are only suggested: What makes a life worth living? What is a spark? How do we find it? Joe Gardner assumes that his spark is identifiable: It is jazz. There is nothing else that can fulfill him, he believes, nothing else that can give his life meaning. Thankfully, however, this assumption is undermined. (For many, the pressure to identify a singular passion and wring out of it a life philosophy is, to say the least, anxiety-inducing.) In a “Freaky Friday”-type incident, 22 inhabits the body of Joe and Joe that of a chubby cat. This is supposed to allow them to see the world with new eyes. However, multiple Black viewers have noted that the decision of the movie to remove a Black character from his body and restrict his agency over his own life recalls racist tropes in

animation’s past. Repeatedly, Black characters in animated movies have been transformed into animals or non-human beings for large portions of a movie’s duration. Throughout much of “Soul,” Joe Gardner is not living his own life — he is either a disembodied soulblob or a talking cat. While in a cat’s body, Joe witnesses, through 22’s first experience as a human, what he was missing about the point of living: the sight of twirling helicopter seeds, the smell of pizza and all the other relics of ordinary life that coat the world with a glow if you look closely enough. A spark, it turns out, is not one thing — it is ineffable, not a hobby nor an item but perhaps, rather, an approach to life or a cluster of sensations. These visual details are delivered in sumptuous fashion by the animation, which was guided by a brain trust of Black animators and Kemp Powers, the first Black director of a Pixar film. Space and distance and glinting light in the streets of New York look nearly photographic, and segments of interdimensional travel fill the screen with post-modern scribblings and brilliant, entrancing light displays. Trent Rezner’s synthesizer soundscapes accentuate this aura of transcendence, this sense that even the smallest things on Earth are laden with heaven. “Soul” unfolds a bit like a dream, and dreams, like river rapids, are messy, unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Some viewers, who let the current of “Soul” carry them downstream, may arrive at the end of the hour-and-fifty-minute film wet with calm and a renewed vigor in their orientation toward life. Others, however, may find the waters too muddy to warrant a trip in the first place.


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‘Ratatouille: The TikTok musical’ is a surprise pandemic hit By Tessa Delgo Local Arts Editor

Courtesy of Pixar From its Jan. 1 premiere on TodayTix, the show managed to raise over $1 million in ticket sales with an encore performance Jan. 10.

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pick-up locations On-campus students, faculty, and staff may pick up from the Freeman Center for Jewish Life OR the Mobile Express PickUp at the Brodhead Center on West Campus. Off-campus students should select the Freeman Center for Jewish Life for takeout. Kosher dining pick-up is an approved reason for coming to campus under the Duke Compact. Freeman Center for Jewish Life Downstairs Patio (Faber St. side) 1415 Faber St. Durham, NC 27705 (919) 684-0136

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One of the best lines and lessons of Pixar’s 2007 film “Ratatouille,” a portrait of an artist as a young, culinarilyinclined French rat, is delivered by food critic Anton Ego: “The bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” So when it comes to “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical,” a piecemeal creation that began as a TikTok meme in August 2020, a genuine critique would be remiss. After one 17-second video by TikTok creator Emily Jacobsen, a “love ballad” to Remy, the film’s rodent protagonist, everyone from choreographers to graphic designers began to lend their very serious talents to a “Ratatouille” musical that, at the time, was very much a joke. Eventually, the theatre industry took notice. Broadway production company Seaview got behind the project and helped turn it into a one-night-only virtual event (which, at the time of writing, has turned into two nights), with proceeds going to the Actors Fund, which benefits struggling entertainment professionals. Though the cast was brimming with established Broadway veterans, such as André De Shields as Ego and Tituss Burgess as Remy, meticulous efforts were made to ensure the show maintained the grassroots appeal that had spurred its original popularity. The music was kept largely the same (all TikTok contributors were rightly credited and compensated) and costumes were composed of eyeliner whiskers and gray pieces from actors’ personal wardrobes. From its Jan. 1 premiere on TodayTix, the show managed to raise over $1 million in ticket sales, with an encore performance Jan. 10. It was indisputably a success — financially, of course, for the Actors Fund, and creatively for both the TikTokers and the veterans who saw their beloved industry blighted by the pandemic over the past year. More important than anyone’s individual opinion on the musical itself is the fact that it was something joyful, collaborative and genuinely uplifting, qualities that most of 2020 notoriously lacked. The most incredible part of “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” is how fortuitously the show and its ragtag origins embody the morals of “Ratatouille’s” underdog story. Though the film’s $623 millon gross is certainly nothing to sneeze at, the movie has largely flown under the radar in the 13 years since its release, especially when compared to the rest of the Pixar oeuvre. This relative obscurity might be attributed to the film’s character-driven narrative, or its nuanced portrayal of an outcast struggling to find acceptance in an artistic career — both making the movie somewhat less kid-friendly than other Pixar films of the era. But it is likely these very traits that inspired passionate defenses of the movie’s superiority years later, and ultimately led to its second life as the first-ever TikTok musical. At face value, the story of “Ratatouille” is a silly one: a rat with epicurean tendencies fumbles his way from his trasheating rodent family into a gourmet kitchen, befriends a bumbling garbage boy and impresses an important critic, eventually becoming the head chef of his own restaurant. But its genius lies in the fact that it takes itself seriously. The thesis of the movie comes from the world-renowned Chef Gusteau’s motto that “anyone can cook.” By acknowledging the ridicule that this warm optimism receives in an industry as particular and pretentious as haute cuisine, its buoyant rebuttal feels all the more triumphant. The film’s climax, where Remy’s ratatouille overwhelms the jaded Anton Ego and makes him nostalgic for his mother’s cooking, is a beautiful, triumphant desecration of the elitist notions of haute cuisine. The mere existence of “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” is a victory of the same caliber. A project that in any other time would have been regarded as a farce made it as close to Broadway as any musical is getting these days (given the complete lack of theatre openings this year, Tony nods aren’t entirely out of the question yet). It illuminated a myriad of brilliant upcoming artists and brought joy to its seasoned stars who unexpectedly found themselves out of work and creatively uninspired. It lent credence to the importance of theatre as a whole, proving that shows can still be performed right now and that people will actually attend and maybe even enjoy them. Much as “Ratatouille” demonstrates that a great chef can come from the most unexpected of places, “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” proves that great musicals can, too. At best, it’s an ebullient dose of hope for anyone who has ever loved art. At worst, it only cost $5 to see Wayne Brady give his all to this air guitar performance.


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WHITE TO RETIRE ANALYSIS: WHO COULD BE WHITE’S SUCCESSOR? • COLUMN: THE LEGACY OF DUKE’S NEXT AD

COURTESY OF DUKE ATHLETICS

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SUCCESSOR

Who could be Duke’s next athletic director? By Jake C. Piazza Blue Zone Editor

If Duke swings and misses on who it hires to replace Kevin White, the athletic department will be reeling in chaos for years. Duke’s next athletic director will likely be faced with the daunting task of finding Coach K’s successor, which in itself is enough to define an AD’s legacy. On top of that, there’s a good chance the future AD will have to find a new head coach for the football team as well. I’m not writing this to analyze whether Mike Krzyzewski, David Cutcliffe or both will retire in the near future. What I do want to emphasize, however, is that the person Duke names as its next athletic director has the power to dictate the success of the school’s revenue sports for the foreseeable future.

So who could be the next AD? I did some digging to find potential candidates: Nina King, Senior Deputy AD, Duke King has an advantage on the rest of the field considering her familiarity within the current program, but the concern with her is that she has never actually been an athletic director. I can’t say whether familiarity with the inner workings of Duke Athletics is more or less important than previous AD experience, but asking a first-time AD to hire Coach K’s replacement and find a new head coach for the football program is a tall order. Nevertheless, King’s experience as Vice Chair of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee gives her familiarity with making high-stakes executive decisions. Furthermore, she had a main role

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to the equally divine quest for human

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“The divine search for knowledge, truth, and peace, and the beloved community of wisdom is by no means alien to the equally divine quest for human decency, justice, compassion, love, whole and creative persons .” peace, and the beloved community of–d whole creative r. sand amuel dupersons.” bois cook

Chronicle File Photo

Kevin White announced he will retire as AD this August. in creating the Rubenstein-Bing ACE program, a civic engagement program between Stanford and Duke student-athletes. King will likely be an AD someday, but will she be the AD to replace White? Danny White, AD, UCF Danny is Kevin White’s son, but it’s truly his credentials running his own athletic program that make him a prime candidate. What the younger White has done at UCF is tremendously impressive, creating a football and basketball culture at a school that was not known for either. His two big hires were Scott Frost as football head coach and former Blue Devil Johnny Dawkins as basketball head coach, and both paid dividends. In 2019, Dawkins took UCF to the second round of the NCAA tournament, the furthest the Knights have ever made it in March Madness. And in 2017, UCF football went 13-0 and capped the season off with a bowl win against Auburn. There’s a lot of upside in looking at White for the job. His experience with not just hiring head coaches, but successfully finding the right ones, at UCF is a major plus. With Duke’s next AD having to do exactly that in Durham, White should be a top candidate. Mike Cragg, AD, St. John’s Cragg is not exactly the AD of a powerhouse athletic school, but he is already in the good graces of Duke. Prior to taking the athletic director position at St. John’s in 2018, Cragg spent more than 30 years within Duke Athletics, serving a critical role in developing the men’s basketball team’s brand. It’s still too early to tell whether Cragg’s hire of Mike Anderson as the Red Storm’s men’s basketball coach was the right one—St. John’s currently sits 8-7 in Anderson’s first season leading the team following a 17-15 finish last year. Cragg’s AD resume would largely be bolstered by Anderson’s success, and if the latter produces a solid season that makes him look like the correct hire, that’ll certainly help boost Cragg’s case for the Duke job. Vince Tyra, AD, Louisville The right person for the job very well could be a fellow AD within the ACC. Tyra knows his way around difficult obstacles, most notably rebuilding Louisville’s men’s basketball program after the 2015 scandal surrounding Rick Pitino devastated the school. Choosing Coach K’s replacement will be one of the most highprofile coaching hires in years. Having an experienced, cool-headed AD like Tyra running the ship is an attractive thought, and is the reason he finds himself on my list. Stan Wilcox, Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, NCAA Since 2018, Wilcox has served as the NCAA’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs, providing “strategic direction to enforcement, the Eligibility Center, and academic and membership affairs at the national office.” His true qualifying experience, however, was his time as Florida State’s athletic director from 2013 to 2018. Similar to Cragg, Wilcox has ties to Duke from early on in his career, serving as the Blue Devils’ Senior Deputy AD from 2008 to 2013. He’s been around high-profile programs for quite some time, and while he did not make the successful hire of Florida State men’s basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton, Wilcox has had the benefit of being around premier coaches for much of his career. The biggest blip on Wilcox’s tenure at Florida State is the football program’s fall after former head coach Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M, with Wilcox’s hiring of Willie Taggart as Fisher’s replacement proving to be a major mistake. Wilcox is certainly an appealing candidate, but the fact that he struggled to find the right head coach for Florida State football is See CANDIDATES on Page 9


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COLUMN

Coach K’s replacement will define next AD’s legacy I’m writing this column less than two hours the program’s national titles coming under after Kevin White announced his upcoming his watch. Whenever Krzyzewski decides to retirement from his role as Duke’s athletic director. retire, the hiring of his replacement will be We don’t even have monumental in proving Duke basketball can a list of candidates for truly transcend that one name. his successor yet—the And more likely than not, Duke’s next athletic press release simply director will be the one making that hire. stated that a national That isn’t a guarantee, however. Nearly 13 search would begin years ago, when White’s predecessor Joe Alleva “soon.” announced he would be taking the athletic director But we do know position at LSU, The Chronicle emphasized the this—whoever does importance of Krzyzewski’s retirement—whether end up as Duke’s next athletic director will more it be “soon or 10 years down the road”—in the or less be remembered by one decision: the hiring search for Alleva’s replacement. of Coach K’s replacement. We now know that at the time that article was Of course, athletic directors serve a lot of written, Krzyzewski’s retirement would be neither important functions outside of hiring coaches, soon nor 10 years down the road, and that White as White exemplified during a 13-year tenure in never had to worry about finding a new men’s Durham that included greatly expanded athletic basketball head coach. Will some future Chronicle facilities and exemplary academic performance writer 10+ years from now be referencing my from the school’s student-athletes. column and saying the same thing? Furthermore, it’s unfair to remember someone The answer is unlikely. based on one single hire. But when it comes to the Krzyzewski will turn 74 years old next legacy of White’s successor to the general public, month, making him just the fourth coach ever that one decision will overshadow the rest, not to lead a college basketball team at that age. The only because of the impact it’ll obviously have on other three are former Temple head coach John the future of Duke basketball but also because of Chaney, who retired at 74, as well as current its impact on the program’s brand. Coastal Carolina head coach Cliff Ellis (75) and Duke is commonly known as one of the Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim (76). six traditional blue blood programs in college Thus, the odds are slim that Krzyzewski outlasts basketball, alongside North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke’s next athletic director. The school’s shortest Kansas, UCLA and Indiana. However, the Blue tenured AD was Carl James from 1972 until 1977, Devils are the only program within that group when he left to become the executive director of the to win all of its national championships under Sugar Bowl. The next shortest is Alleva’s 10-year one head coach. stay from 1998 to 2008. Yes, Duke’s history as a college basketball So when all’s said and done, this next athletic power goes back far before Mike Krzyzewski was director will more than likely take on the hired in 1980. Duke plays inside Cameron Indoor responsibility of leading the charge in hiring the Stadium for a reason—named after former head new face of Duke men’s basketball. Krzyzewski coach Eddie Cameron—and both Vic Bubas will undoubtedly have a say in the decision, and Bill Foster led the Blue Devils to national and there’s a solid chance his eventual successor championship game appearances. will have either played or coached under him But the Duke basketball we all know today at Duke, but it will ultimately be the athletic has largely been the product ofYork Krzyzewski director’s to make. The New Times Syndication Saleshire Corporation and his tenure as head coach,620 with all Avenue, five of New York, AndN.Y. they10018 better make it count. Eighth

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021 | 9

CANDIDATES FROM PAGE 8 alarming considering he’d likely have to do the same with both men’s basketball and football in Durham. Kirby Hocutt, AD, Texas Tech Hocutt is an intriguing candidate for the position. Since the start of his current tenure in 2011, he’s had to name multiple head coaches for both Texas Tech’s football and men’s basketball programs. While his first three basketball hires were largely disappointing, his most recent hire of Chris Beard has been an injection of life into the program—in 2019, the Red Raiders reached their

first-ever national championship game. It’s too early to tell if Matt Wells—Hocutt’s replacement for former football head coach Kliff Kingsbury—will work out, but Hocutt was also the one who hired Kingsbury. To put Hocutt’s AD resume simply, he has already done what Duke will need him to do: find a successful men’s basketball head coach and get a football head coach that players want to come play for. Hocutt does come with his share of controversy, however, as former Texas Tech women’s basketball head coach Marlene Stollings filed a lawsuit against him regarding mistreatment of women. Stollings and former softball head coach Adrian Gregory— who were both Hocutt hires—each faced player abuse allegations during their time at Texas Tech and are no longer with the school.

Evan Kolin

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Mike Cragg watches St. John’s take on Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 2, 2019.

The Chronicle How we pass the time in online class: Sleeping: ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������kolinoscopy Editing Chronicle articles: ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ mattyg Making breakfast: ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������thepizzaman Student Advertising Manager: �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Rebecca Ross Account Representatives: ������������������ Juliana Arbelaez, Emma Olivo, Spencer Perkins, Sam Richey, Alex Russell, Paula Sakuma, Jake Schulman, Simon Shore, Maddy Torres, Stef Watchi, Montana Williams

Marketing Manager: ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Jared McCloskey Student Business Manager ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Dylan Riley, Alex Rose

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Crossword ACROSS 1 Tavern 4 Fabled loser to a tortoise 8 Go searching for food 14 Flabbergast 15 German auto make 16 Ways to travel 17 Young fellow 18 What you should take dubious advice with 20 “If I’m wrong, I’ll eat ___!” 22 School support grp. 23 Every family has one 24 Dry, as a desert 26 “That’s not true!” 29 What a complete fool lacks 32 G.M. car no longer sold new

33 Tennis umpire’s call 34 Offered for breeding, as a derby winner 38 Letter between oh and cue 39 Toilet paper layer 40 College application fig. 41 Red ___ beet 42 Passover celebrations 44 Dove’s sound 45 Squeaks (by) 46 Shylock’s harsh demand, in “The Merchant of Venice” 49 Leaked, as an old faucet 51 Government disaster org. 52 Greek war god 53 “Right you ___!” 55 Colorado skiing mecca

ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE M A G M A

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44 Obsolescent laptop component 45 Things that suffered a 20th-century blight 47 Close by 48 Eats royally 49 Bit on a baby’s bib 50 Kidney-related 52 Gillette razor option 54 M.B.A. class subj.

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

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Longtime rival of Roger Federer Gambling card game Oodles Actress Blunt Dictator following the Spanish Civil War Famous Ford failure Hacienda room Very bright, as colors A founder of Mexican muralism Wagner’s “___ Rheingold” See 38-Down Permit to Big scoopers Words from a new arrival Milky white mineraloid

H O G A T R I C E S P E R P O I P S O F D I E G

A R E P E L R A I N P T A D I T O F S E L E T L Y G S C O U N D O P E D A R E B R I C E V O E E N

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10 | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021

opinion

LETTER FROM PAGE 1 Moreover, when previously radical terms such as anti-racism, which was coined by Angela Davis—a queer, Black, communist woman—flow toward the mainstream, they are diluted before reaching the watershed. “In this day and age, there are a lot of buzzwords, like Black Lives Matter and ‘abolishing the police’ that have been co-opted by less radical groups and publicized to mean something that they don’t actually mean.” Washington says. This phenomenon cultivates an environment in which a consulting giant like McKinsey can pledge public commitments toward antiracism while simultaneously advising ICE officials to engage in infamously tyrannical

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“detention savings opportunities.” The phrase “anti-racism is a smooth veneer applied by globalized companies to justify the continued exploitation of individuals in the Global South—while also implementing incremental change that ultimately serves the interests of corporate wealth. Higher education has long been coined a “profitmaking business,” and its goals are similar: stage a veiled war of attrition through noprogress reforms, exhausting any student who advocates for systemic overhaul. “[These coopted terms are] just a way for them [Duke] to appear like they’re committed to the world without doing any of the work itself,” EricUdorie says. This performative activism was not exposed in the December issue of Duke Alumni Magazine solely through Clutts’ letter. This issue was simultaneously devoted

hot take of the week

“Duke was never anything but a fevered daydream on a spring field.”

—Mihir Bellamkonda, Opinion Editor, on January 19, 2021

LETTERS POLICY

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to anti-racism while spending a bit over ten pages outlining Tallman Trask’s legacy. “There’s a level of cognitive dissonance that has to be present for you [Duke magazine] to talk about Duke’s ambitions of being a more anti-racist institution, and then to talk about someone like Tallman Trask in a positive way,” Washington says. The aforementioned article only briefly discussed the incident in which Trask hit a parking attendant with his car, and the attendant accused him of calling her a racial slur—while expressly emphasizing that Trask denied the allegations. “He calls himself a left-of-center Democrat with a longstanding commitment to progressive values,” the next sentence read. It’s not a secret that, as with nearly all liberal arts universities, Duke’s administration and professoriate is leftof-center-Democrat: “for each Republican faculty member in Pratt and Trinity, there are nearly 13 Democrats.” Duke is a left-ofcenter-Democrat university. And Duke is deeply entrenched in white supremacy. These two ideologies are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they are profoundly intertwined. Duke’s legacy is replete with racism from its administration and student body. Former Vice President Larry Moneta was “shocked” to hear the n-word included in rap lyrics— which he described as inappropriate—at a coffee shop, resulting in the firing of two employees. Academics have deemed Moneta’s reaction a “contemporary example of racism.” Megan Neely, an ex-director at Duke Medical School, authored an email that demanded Chinese students speak English. The n-word was spray-painted on the Mary Lou; a swastika, painted on the East Campus bridge; a noose, hung on a campus tree; a Latinx mural, vandalized. These conspicuous episodes of white supremacy do not exist in a vacuum; they build upon the foundation of the University. They build upon the foundation of Southern history. They build upon the foundation of this country. Eric-Udorie recognizes the University’s long-established injustices when speaking about the uncertainty of giving back to Duke post-graduation. She’s appreciative of the financial support she’s received as a lowincome financially-independent student, but the “blazing” racism she experiences is ostracizing. Articles like these “just really isolate Black Duke. I’m a future Black Duke alum, and I have felt very uncomfortable for a long time. I am battling the benefits that I get from the education and my professors with the relentless racism,” Eric-Udorie says. It’s easy for white Duke students, myself included, to turn our heads away from this blazing racism; to say that we’ve read “How to Be an Anti-Racist,” that we’ve added an “anti-racism” highlight to our Instagram profile, that we’ve released a statement on behalf of our clubs or groups or organizations. We’re left-of-center. We’re not Charles Clutts. Here’s the issue with this logic: at face value, every single white Duke student is exactly like Charles Clutts. White Duke students exist within a system of racialized capitalism, we profit from this system at the expense of others, and we continue to cause harm. Of course, the harm we cause by existing in white bodies does not excuse us from consequences and accountability; it merely means that good white people do not exist. So-called “good white people” distance ourselves from the violence perpetrated by those who look like us, insist upon our

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personal exceptionality, and therefore refuse to interrogate any of our own racist actions. I may not have published Clutts’ letter, but I nonetheless have a responsibility to denounce his words, as they are reinforced by centuries of oppression from which I am the benefactor. Duke Alumni Magazine also appeared to denounce Clutts’ letter in the issuing of a Facebook apology for it, writing: “We made a mistake by presenting these letters without any context, reflection, deliberation or response, particularly given the wrenching and still incomplete efforts of so many in the Duke community to address issues of racial equity.” Eric-Udorie remembers thinking, “What is the context for racism? There’s no context needed for this.” Addressing racism is not transactional: no amount of reflection, context, deliberation, or response would have provided compensation for the disgusting bigotry so abundantly displayed in “It’s Not All Racism.” An institutional apology cannot be exchanged for the erasure or glossing-over of Duke’s history. An apology is not enough, will never be enough. At bare minimum, white folks must give monthly reparations (and our time, if we’re able) to BIPOC-led organizations and mutual aid collectives to counteract our generational wealth and power. Duke NAACP, as well as other Duke Black-led student organizations, host fundraisers for incarcerated people in the Durham County Jail. The North Carolina Community Bail Fund “fights to end cash bail and provides assistance to those who cannot afford it” and Durham Beyond Policing is a coalition fighting to end the carceral state. Duke Mutual Aid and Bull City Mutual Aid send funds to individuals in Duke and/or Durham. Showing Up for Racial Justice has curated a list of POC-led organizations in the Durham area, and although a bit outdated, is still incredibly useful. Moreover, white Duke students must redistribute our power: Panhellenic and IFC are power and wealth-hoarding organizations, and advocating for abolition is a necessity. At protests, we are most helpful when using our bodies to shield Black folks from the police—we do not have the right to anger. Resource-sharing could look like spreading institutional knowledge or granting free stays to BIPOC organizers if we have extra housing capacity. These examples are not a comprehensive list, but they’re a start. On page twenty-two of the Duke Alumni Magazine, another question was posed: Can Duke really become anti-racist? The author, recent alum Michael Ivory Jr., says no, that racism has always been about the roots, and we’re not ready to dig past the surface. Washington and Eric-Udorie agree. “The capitalist system as a whole can never be where we need it to be. The entire structure of the university would need to be taken down and rebuilt [as something else],” Washington says. The Duke administration and white Duke students alike are gardening with poisoned soil. We might not have fertilized the dirt with overt white supremacy, but we’re planting seeds, and like necrophiliacs, watering the dead earth, celebrating as it grows into nothing. Lily Levin is a Trinty sophomore. Her column usually runs on alternate Thursdays.


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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021 | 11

A more-just story in stone T

oday is General Robert E. Lee’s birthday, just a day after we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy. While King’s most famous memorial was carved from white granite, Lee’s most

to the university’s founders and earliest benefactors. It is fitting, therefore, that a colloquial name for aedicula is tabernacle. In ancient Jewish community life, the Tabernacle held the presence of God. Touch

Jeff Nelson GUEST LETTER famous were cast in bronze. In the past three years since the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, many of Lee’s statues and memorials around the South have been removed or, in the case of Richmond’s Monument Avenue, transformed into protest art. The now-empty pedestals scattered across the South that held Lee stand as markers that remember the United States’ long legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy. This is true for the Duke Chapel portico, too, which housed a limestone depiction of the Marble Man for over seven decades, and its one vacant niche. I serve on Duke Chapel’s National Advisory Board and my first board meeting was coincidentally the one immediately following Lee’s defacement and removal. Then and now, I’ve heard this event described as the Robert E. Lee statue controversy or removal, or maybe the Chapel portico controversy. Both of these phrases are descriptively true, but architecturally imprecise. Lee was removed not simply from the portico, the walled porch that leads into the Chapel’s narthex, but from the aedicula that held him. The statues in the aediculae that line the portico—that hold the figures of Martin Luther, Sidney Lanier, John Wesley and others—were meant to elevate the best of Protestant Christianity and Southern culture, both central identities

it, and be killed. These figures are, to trade in religious language, sacred figures for Duke University—it’s culture, history, and ideals. These are holy men who deserve(d) honor and praise. Some may rebuff the assertion that the university holds these figures in such high regard, and to some extent, that is true—the Duke family did not select Robert E. Lee for that center-right pediment, for instance— but since its founding, stone has told the story of what kind of university Duke aspires to be. West Campus evokes the Gothic halls of Princeton and Cambridge while East Campus’s Georgian style evokes Yale and UVA; the crests of other elite universities ornament the Brodhead Center’s facade; the gold Abele Quad plaque was replaced with carved stone; and though we can’t find written evidence of this, some have said that West Campus’s limestone staircases were worn down to make them look centuries old. Mystery still shrouds the story of how Duke’s tabernacles came to hold the men that now stand (or previously stood) sentinel around the portico. It wasn’t the decision of Horace Trumbauer or Julian Abele who designed the Chapel and much of West Campus. But fortunately for us today, Trumbauer and Abele left us a gift: they did not reserve their aediculae only for the Chapel’s portico. Indeed, they placed them

all over West Campus, ready to hold the rest of Duke’s heroes. There are at least 27 empty aediculae remaining on West Campus (can you find them? There may be more!), ready and waiting to be filled. They are ready to tell a new story about our university and who matters most. Once you come to see the aediculae for what they are, you cannot unsee them. Eight can be found embedded in the Brodhead Center tower. Another is located on the wall to the right of the Allen Building’s main entrance (you can even see the aedicua in

standing as sacred figures in the university’s pantheon, above the building named for their enslaver. Imagine Frank Wall, or the unnamed Black men and women who staffed the segregated West Union, standing no longer in the basement but high above it, with a glorious view of Abele Quad. What matters most at Duke, particularly on West Campus, gets carved into stone. It gets integrated architecturally into the story that Duke wants to share with the world. To be sure, adding statues atop our Gothic revival campus is but a modest

Imagine with me, for instance, the raising of Isam or Malinda, children enslaved by Braxton Craven, standing as sacred figures in the university’s pantheon, above the building named for their enslaver.

” some of Duke Archives’ photos from the 1969 Allen Building Takeover). Mirror tabernacles can be found on Crowell Quad, at one end, and the Davison Building, on the other. Duke has not merely an opportunity to tell a wider, more diverse story of its origins, but to tell a story that will guide it into its second century. Imagine with me, for instance, the raising of Isam or Malinda, children enslaved by Braxton Craven,

acknowledgment of the debt owed to the Black, Indigenous, and people of color who helped Duke become what it is today. Statues are not enough, but symbols matter, and these monuments can help nudge us in the right direction along, as King called it, the long arc of the moral universe as it bends toward justice. Jeff Nelson, Divinity School 2013, is chair of Duke’s Just Space Initiative.

Why studying inequality matters COVID-19 has laid bare the social inequalities of our age: Counties with higher rates of poverty and housing density also have higher COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

beyond the pandemic. Pick your statistic: Executive compensation is now nearly 300 times that of the average worker in the U.S.; the top 0.1% in America hold as much wealth as the bottom 90%; the bottom 50%

More to the point, understanding inequality is a precondition to overcoming it: that is, to healing the wounds of the past, generating social solidarity and rebuilding a more just society.

undergraduate students acquire a rigorous and analytical understanding of social inequality that they can then integrate into their liberal arts education—as well as into their social and professional engagement

William A. Darity, Malachi Hacohenis & Adam Hollowell GUEST LETTER Risk of death of COVID-19 is three times higher among Black, Hispanic and Indigenous Americans than for white Americans. And millions of Americans have lost access to jobs, income and healthcare in the crashing economy. Perhaps it is fitting, then, that this is the environment in which we are launching the new minor in Inequality Studies at Duke, the product of a collaboration between the Department of History and the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. Like so many elements of our daily routines during this pandemic, the prevalence of inequality threatens to become a sort of wallpaper: both terrifyingly ubiquitous and painfully mundane. Studying it—that is, acknowledging it, confronting it, and persistently striving to recognize and address it—is one way of facing its effects and moving forward with hope. Of course, forms of inequity stretch far

hold as much wealth as just three people: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos. The average Black household in America has little more than ten cents of wealth to the white household’s dollar, effectively showing no improvement since the 1960s. White women who graduated from college have 35 times the wealth of Black women in the same cohort. What 2020 has made plain is that we need a deeper understanding of how these disparities developed, why they persist and how they evolve over time. Inequality overlaps with our social and economic institutions, reinforcing racism, sexism, colorism and other forms of discrimination. To understand inequality and the social and political forces that sustain it requires understanding how businesses are organized or ruined, how families are maintained or split, how laws are passed or tabled, how wealth is accumulated and lost. To understand inequality is to understand the modern world and the conditions that created it.

Our new minor, believed to be just the second of its kind in American higher education, will not solve these problems. But it does signify a key step in what promises to be a very long journey. Officially launching in the spring 2021 semester, the minor includes required courses that cover the history of inequality and the social science research methods employed in its study, as well as elective courses that examine the precise mechanisms that have developed inequality throughout different regions and eras. Commendably, Cornell University’s Center for the Study of Inequality has offered a Minor in Inequality Studies for the past two decades. Our program will advance their necessary work, distinguishing itself through the required courses that will ensure students learn about the deep-rooted nature of inequality and produce new, first-class research of their own. Above all, the new minor will help

at Duke, in Durham and the wider world beyond. It has become trite to say that, in the wake of all that 2020 has elicited, crises provide opportunity. Nevertheless, we applaud Duke for seizing the opportunity of this moment to expand its curricular pathways to include focused study of inequality. As the leaders of this new program, we are thrilled to embark on this work and excited to see where the study of inequality will take our students in the years ahead. William A. Darity Jr. is director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy. Malachi Hacohenis a professor of History, Political Science and Religion and director of Undergraduate Studies, History Department. Adam Hollowell is a Senior Research Associate, with the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.


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FIRST-YEARS

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“already settled in, while [he doesn’t] have a solid group of friends.” First-year Noelle Garrick expressed similar fears, but also acknowledged that Duke has been “very adaptable, accommodating and flexible,” especially considering the circumstances. “They are certainly on our radar,” Jordan Hale, director of new student programs, wrote in an email of first-years who are coming to campus for the first time. He wrote that the NSP team was “planning to put together a series of programs for them as they start.” These programs will include introductions to their first-year advisory council, meetings with student leadership panels and

Gonzalez, former assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life, announced in a June 9 email to students that first-years would be housed on both East and West Campus to help reduce density in residential buildings. Asha Artis, Housing and Residence Life staff specialist, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that first-year students living in West campus residence halls were mostly a part of FOCUS clusters. These students lived and attended classes together in Edens, Keohane, and Wannamaker. In total, 25 first-years moved between campuses this fall, according to Artis. She wrote that of the 25, 15 moved from East to West Campus to be closer to their FOCUS cluster. The remaining 10 moved from West to East Campus. Artis added that “those [reassignments from West to East campus] were only granted in extreme circumstances.” Some students decided to move because they had received housing assignments on West Campus despite not being part of a FOCUS program. First-year Abbey Munn recalled her experience living on West Campus without the connection of a FOCUS cluster. She said that, while she was able to meet the people on her floor and others in her dorm, “it was weird being the only person on my floor that wasn’t in their FOCUS classes. They got to be really close, working together out of class and that kind of thing.” First-year Jeffrey Zhou shared similar sentiments as Munn. “I have a couple friends that are also in a similar boat and they found it a struggle to connect,” he said. Zhou was not only the only one on his floor not in a FOCUS, but the only student living in

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First-years who studied remotely last semester. information on how to socialize while following Duke’s COVID-19 guidelines, according to Hale. Debbie LoBiondo, interim dean for residence life, wrote in an email to The Chronicle that HRL is currently formulating a cohesive plan to help incoming students form meaningful connections with each other. Even with the uncertainties and concerns wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, incoming students feel eager and excited to have as normal a spring semester as possible. For Dwomoh, it was a matter of not wanting to miss out on the college experience. She said that it was difficult being a remote student in the fall and seeing events happening on campus that she couldn’t attend. “It’s… kind of exciting,” Hwang said of coming on campus. “I get to be on campus and finally get some part of a college experience.”

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his section altogether. “For me personally, my hall was empty. I was the only one on my side and there was one other person on the other side but there was empty space all around us,” Zhou recalled. He added that he moved in with the expectation that others would fill in as the weeks went by, but realized about a week later that he would be living alone. “I was isolated, and I felt like I was missing out on a chance to connect with a lot of other first-years. I heard that was a part of a normal first-year experience,” Zhou said. Munn noted that one reason she chose to move from West to East Campus for the spring was to salvage the traditional first-year Duke experience.

I was isolated, and I felt like I was missing out on a chance to connect with a lot of other first-years. jeffrey zhou

FIRST-YEAR

Munn, who was admitted as an Early Decision applicant, had the opportunity to attend Blue Devil Days before campus closed in March. There, she met several other incoming students with whom she kept in touch. Because she was the only one from the group living on West Campus, she spent the majority of her evenings during the fall semester on East Campus and began to realize what she was missing. The moment that cemented these thoughts for Munn was a festival-themed dinner at Marketplace that she attended with friends living on East. “They had that fall festival on East Campus, and I was on East Campus with my friends,” she recalled. “And that’s the freshmen experience

that you want—and Duke was doing the best they could with COVID-19 going on—and living on West you didn’t really even know that was going on.” First-year Jerry Xin was not as concerned with achieving the quintessential Duke experience as Munn, but he felt that with friends living on East, it would be easier to build connections if he moved. “I had my friends on East and I’d prefer to get dinner with them and stuff, which is easier when I’m on East,” Xin said. With these concerns in mind, Munn, Zhou and Xin all sought reassignment to East Campus residence halls for the spring semester. An Oct. 14 email from Housing and Residence life outlined options for reassignments for the spring, including. “Our hope in allowing a limited number of reassignments during this time is to support the opportunity for you to move closer to your friends and stay with your social group,” the email read. Munn recalled seeing the email while in class and immediately drafting an email to her residence coordinator. Zhou, who had held out hope that HRL would automatically reassign him when juniors and seniors returned to campus, also decided to take action then. Both Zhou and Munn were able to move into partially occupied suites on East Campus before finishing their fall semesters. Xin, however, said that he didn’t hear back from HRL about his reassignment during the semester. Instead, he decided to store his belongings in Durham and continue attempting—with eventual success—to push for a reassignment over winter break. Munn summarized her experience in a positive light. “I had a good experience on both campuses. I’m still close with everybody and it was a good experience both ways. Now I have the best of both worlds!” she said.

Profile for Duke Chronicle

January 20, 2021  

January 20, 2021