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MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEENTH YEAR, ISSUE 12
Students find romance during COVID-19 By Hannah Miao Staff Reporter
Junior Aneri Tanna met her boyfriend the old fashioned way, but the majority of their relationship has played out through a phone screen. The boy, junior Ashwin Kulshrestha, was a friend of her roommate’s. In February, the two started spending more time together: dinner, movies, a trip to Cocoa Cinnamon. A night of studying upstairs in the Brodhead Center devolved into hours of conversation. Before they knew it, it was four in the morning. They stayed up until sunrise and shared breakfast together when Au Bon Pain opened at 7 a.m. On March 6, they officially started dating. They parted ways for spring break, expecting to be back with one another in a week. It would be months before they saw each other again. When the coronavirus pandemic forced Duke students to stay home for the rest of the semester, Tanna found herself in Arizona, across the country from Kulshrestha, who was in Charlotte. “When I talk to my friends about it, they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s so weird that you guys started dating online,’” Tanna said. “In the moment, it didn’t feel weird at all. It was really nice.” Even in a pandemic, dating hasn’t gone away for Duke students. From FaceTime to dating apps to distanced dates, students have found creative ways to connect with others. “People are feeling isolated. They’re feeling like they need companionship,” said Lindsey Parker, a student development coordinator at DuWell who focuses on sexual health and healthy relationships. “Everything around us is so different. What if this is the one area that’s maybe not so different?” Through months of quarantine, Tanna and Kulshrethsa FaceTimed each other at least a few times every week. Sometimes they’d use Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that allows people to watch TV shows or movies synchronously from different computers. Once they played an online jigsaw puzzle together. But mostly, they’d talk over the phone. “All you can do is talk, so we got to share a lot about each other and I got to know him a lot more,” Tanna said. “We’d end up talking for hours and not realize how much time had gone by.” See ROMANCE on Page 3
Henry Haggart | Associate Photography Editor
DUKE’S DEAN OF CATS Christoph Guttentag leads college admissions with a feline by his side. By Rose Wong Senior Editor
The gatekeeper of the Gothic Wonderland says that he is not a cat person—but he has taken in four stray cats and adopted two from a shelter. The most recent was Summer Solstice Clabby Guttentag, a black eight-week-old kitten who walked into the garage on the morning of last year’s summer solstice. He offered the kitten a bowl of tuna and left for work, deciding that if he saw the little feline when he came home, he would welcome her into the family. “I’ve had cats, but I’m not a cat person,” Guttentag said.
*** For 28 years, Christoph Guttentag, Duke’s dean of undergraduate admissions, has been responsible for materializing the dreams of just over 1,700 students who enroll as first-years at Duke each year, while disappointing the tens of thousands more who apply and don’t get in. The increase in applicants in past decades led to a dramatic drop in acceptance rate: Guttentag said that 30 years ago, 33.4% of applicants were accepted. Only 13% received good news in 2012. Since 2017, the undergraduate acceptance rate has remained under 10%.
Henry Haggart | Associate Photography Editor Summer Solstice Clabby Guttentag walked into the family’s garage on the summer solstice last year.
As the country increasingly confronts the inequitable structures on which it stands, the questions of economic diversity, racial representation and preferences for legacy students in college admissions have taken center stage. Guttentag does not have answers to many of these questions, or he would not share them. Still, Guttentag’s office has been thinking about equity throughout the pandemic. Duke has made the admissions process test-optional this year, to help level the playing field for students with See DEAN on Page 4
INSIDE Students are exhausted Students say the pressures that come with COVID-19 and a condensed semester have taken a toll on their mental health. PAGE 2
Best pumpkin spice latte in Durham Spoiler: It’s not Cocoa Cinnamon, Maddie Menkes writes in a review. PAGE 6
2 | MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
Condensed semester, online classes take toll on students Contributing Reporter
Drowning in economics lectures, firstyear Kathy Yu had not stepped outside all day. The lectures seemed endless, devouring hours of her time. “Sitting and staring” summed it up well, she said. Yu said her mental health has suffered from the lack of breaks during the condensed fall semester. Stretching from Aug. 17 to Nov. 24, this semester is nearly two weeks shorter than the last fall semester, with no breaks between the beginning of classes and the beginning of reading period. Duke made the changes to the calendar because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The schedule aimed to “maximize our time on campus, and to minimize the disruptions and potential health hazards of travel during the semester,” President Vincent Price wrote in a May message to the community announcing preliminary plans for the fall semester. Some students said various factors—including the unusual academic calendar and the disruption of regular social interaction—have affected their mental health this semester. Because of the condensed schedule, Yu said she feels she has to constantly stay on top of her work. Zoom classes haven’t helped. “It’s very easy to zone out too when there’s not much interaction and you can’t see someone in front of you,” Yu said. First-year Cece Rodriguez said having a few days free once in a while would help her relieve some of her stress. “When the work mounts up, you look forward to the weekend, but then you know the next week is coming and you have to get a head start on that as well,” Rodriguez said. In contrast to Yu and Rodriguez, sophomore
Jake Heller said he feels that academics have become less stressful this semester compared to previous years. Classes are easier than normal and midterm season was “way more stressful” for him last year, Heller said. “Even when I thought the classes were hard and the material was hard, the exams ended up not being super difficult, partly because they were mostly open note and because they gave us a lot of time,” Heller said. He said his real source of stress isn’t the condensed schedule—it’s being alone for so many hours of the day. Although first-year Juliana Shank said she would have appreciated short breaks throughout the semester, she agreed that the lack of social interaction has generated more stress than the shortened schedule. She said she believes the current calendar was a necessity given the circumstances of the pandemic. “As much as I feel I’m learning the content, I miss the organic interactions and I think that’s something that many students feel,” Shank said. The transition from high school to college has added pressure, she said. “I think the biggest thing for me is learning to deal with the stress of bigger tests in college,” Shank said. “In my high school, I think you had a lot more smaller assignments, but in college you have these big papers and these big tests.” First-year Kai Chen said that the difficulty socializing and the transition from high school to college have affected his mental health. “Since the semester started, my mental state has been at its all-time low,” he said. Chen said he wishes he had closer friends so he could vent about his frustrations with them. He emphasized that the condensed format of classes and their online nature has made it difficult to socialize.
Majors Fair October 20, 2020
“I feel like professors gave us a lot more work than usual semesters because a lot of the in-person components are lost due to the Zoom class,” Chen said. For some classes, Chen said he has to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. working through problem sets in order to finish his work on time. He said he believes having a break would help him recover from academic stress and process information more effectively. The University has offered revamped mental health resources during the pandemic, as have student groups. In addition, some students have found their own ways to cope with added stress. Rodriguez said she pushes herself to interact with others on campus. She said the existence of large student group chats has helped her stay connected and made her feel less alone. Participating in the Focus program has also helped her, she said.
“I’m living with the people I have classes with, so I know there’s someone there if I have questions,” Rodriguez said. Yu deals with her stress differently, by trying to alter her usual routine. “I try to switch up where I do things to add some pizzazz...I usually just switch between different courses and different things,” Yu said. Breaks are essential, Yu said. To push herself to relax, she either plays Frisbee outside with her friends or plans her work around food breaks. Shank said she believes that while interacting with others is important to cope, it’s also important to recognize that this semester—with its strange pandemic protocol—was never going to be perfect. “Recognizing that we are missing out on things and that it’s valid to feel sad about that occasionally has been helpful for me,” Shank said. Phoebe Brinker |Contributing Graphic Designer
By Ayra Charania
u Learn about all the different majors, minors and certificates in one place u Watch short videos from faculty, students and Directors of Undergraduate Studies u Explore major requirements, career paths, and more u Ask questions and chat with faculty representatives via dropin Zoom sessions on October 20
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ROMANCE FROM PAGE 1 They exchanged handwritten letters once a month. When words weren’t enough, they sent homemade gifts to one another. Kulshrestha embroidered Tanna’s name on an apron—“he knew I was cooking a lot,” she said—and a cactus on a gray sweatshirt. Tanna sewed a bejeweled stuffed cactus for Kulshrestha. (Cacti are an inside joke between the two, in reference to Tanna’s Arizona origins.) Now the couple is finally together in person, both living off campus in Durham for their junior year. “I think things worked out for the best,” Tanna said. In July, senior Becca Supple moved into a house near East Campus. Stuck at home and feeling a combination of lonely and bored, she decided to give Tinder a shot. “I thought, ‘This is a great way to boost my ego, to go on here and compliment people and let them compliment me back,’” Supple said. “I’m kind of in the mindset right now that I have literally nothing to lose, so why not?” She came across a profile that caught her
eye. Emily wore denim overalls and carried a cup of iced coffee in the front pocket. “That is something I would do,” Supple thought to herself. She swiped right. The two quickly struck up a conversation on the app, then graduated to texting. They immediately understood each other’s jokes and references. For their first virtual date, they chatted over a Zoom video call for five hours and played Stardew Valley, a multiplayer farming simulation video game. In mid-August, before they could entertain the possibility of meeting in person, Emily left for college, about an hour away. The two continued to Zoom, play video games and watch movies together virtually. Finally, later in September, Supple decided to ask Emily if she’d like to hang out face to face. Having both recently tested negative for COVID-19, she felt comfortable extending the invitation. Supple, like most other Brooklyn natives, does not have a car or driver’s license, so Emily made the trek to Durham. On a Sunday afternoon, they cooked vegan butter chicken—a dish with neither butter nor chicken—and picnicked in Oval Park. Afterward, they admired the houses along West Club
Evelyn Shi | Contributing Graphic Designer
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 3
ON DUKECHRONICLE.COM Voters line up in Karsh Center as early voting begins BY CARTER FORINASH | 10/15/2020 The start of early voting this year is marked by long lines, personal pens and poll workers in PPE.
Who’s on the ballot in Durham County races this year? BY MATTHEW GRIFFIN, ROSE WONG AND ANNA ZOLOTOR | 10/15/2020 Voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots for the board of commissioners, register of deeds and soil and water conservation district supervisor. Boulevard on the walk back to Supple’s place. Throughout the day, they maintained some distance in line with public health protocols. Then it came time to say goodbye. “She was like, ‘I feel like it wouldn’t be smart to give you a hug, so I think I’m just going to head out,’” Supple recalled. “I was like, ‘Okay.’ I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. But I think she didn’t want to assume that was what I wanted to do.” “You layer the confusion of, ‘Are they into this aspect of the relationship’ with ‘Are they comfortable with the health and safety risks that that aspect would bring,’ which is stressful,” Supple said. Despite the difficulties in navigating dating during a pandemic, the two are still talking and meeting for Zoom dates regularly. They haven’t made plans to commit to anything very serious for now. Other Duke students on campus have started using dating apps to meet others outside of their immediate circles. Sophomore Dylan Cain and his friend first made accounts on Tinder in February, though it was more of a joke in making silly profiles. But living on campus this fall with strict health protocols inspired Cain to take Tinder and Bumble
more seriously. “The only time I get to interact with people or see people is with the friends I already know,” Cain said. For him, dating apps are “a way to have a different form of social interaction.” Due to Duke’s de-densification efforts, more students than ever are living alone on campus. Cain has an entire Hollows suite to himself. “Nowadays, there’s so much distancing between people and some people get into a state of isolation,” Cain said. “I see how it’s coming to the point where for a lot of people, apps like these or online tools are one of the only ways that you can meet new people or just meet up with people in general.” Cain wouldn’t consider himself an avid user, but swipes through from time to time. He sees the apps not just as tools to meet others in a romantic sense, but also to connect with people with similar interests. “All relationships, whether romantic, sexual, intimate, have similar characteristics. This doesn’t change because of COVID,” said Parker, the DuWell student development coordinator“Maybe this actually gives you a little bit more time to think about what you want out of these experiences.”
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DEAN FROM PAGE 1 fewer resources. And Guttentag has spent 50 to 100 hours since 1992 revising the denial letter to students (“two to three times more than I spend on the acceptance letter”) to soften the blow as best as he can. He is a bureaucrat who cares.
The dean was setting up the most elaborate breakfast I’ve had in months when I walked into his back patio to interview him. There were bagels, jam, whipped cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, moon drop grapes, warm milk, a kettle of coffee and four mugs (for the two of us). Guttentag’s wife, Cathy Clabby, who teaches journalism at Duke, had just returned from a morning run with friends and walked in at the same time as me. She told me later that day that she was also surprised and amused by the set-up, noting that the couple hadn’t had guests in months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It must’ve been all the pent-up hosting,” she said. The undergraduate admissions office is currently in what was once known as “travel season.” Students would visit Duke and envision their coming-of-age montage through campus tours and information sessions with admissions officers. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, staffers have instead been going directly to high schools, discussing Duke on Zoom with interested applicants across the country. Guttentag has been speaking with students in Manhattan and part of the Bronx, the region whose 600 applications he personally reads. A silver lining to the pandemic has been virtual recruitment, Guttentag said, which has allowed Duke to reach more diverse communities. Now that the barrier to entry is a Zoom link rather than a plane ticket or long car ride, rural and low-income students may be more likely to join. Guttentag said that the school will continue meeting with interested applicants via Zoom after the pandemic. With all the benefits of Zoom, however, Guttentag acknowledged that hosting students online is not the same. “There’s a connection with others that can only be made in person, and I do miss that,” he said. Coronavirus has affected more than the recruitment process in college admissions. In June, Duke announced that undergraduate applicants in the 2020-2021 admission cycle do not have to submit SAT and ACT scores, citing difficulties registering for and taking the tests due to COVID-19, which may affect “those with the fewest resources,” Guttentag wrote in a news release. But is test-optional actually test-optional? Or will this policy just benefit students with resources to submit decent scores during a pandemic? How does an application with an ACT score of 35 not look better than an application without any score?
4 | MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
I asked Guttentag those questions. He said that one way he plans to mitigate the risk of unintentional bias is ensuring that the percentage of accepted students who applied with test scores will roughly equal the percentage of students who applied without. Although the admissions office is still working out the details of how the incoming class will be evaluated given a host of unprecedented factors—test-optional, limited extracurricular activities, academics affected by virtual learning—Guttentag made clear that test-optional is, in fact, test-optional. “We want to be really careful that we don’t advantage students who submit test scores simply because they submitted them,” he said. “I’ve been explicit about this with my staff, and they understand it.”
*** Guttentag said that he “lays eyes on” 10% of admissions decisions every year. He chairs the overview committee, which meets after most decisions for the admission cycle have been made and discusses what more is needed to shape the incoming class. Senior staffers who favor particular students on the waitlist may present their applications to Guttentag for a second look. The overview committee also adjusts decisions to reflect Duke’s goal of welcoming roughly 80% Trinity and 20% Pratt students in each class, Guttentag said. Standardized testing aside, legacy preference is another aspect of college admissions that critics have claimed perpetuates generational inequality. 11% of the Class of 2024 are legacy students, Guttentag said. He did not answer when I asked whether legacy preference is fair (a word that he finds “unnecessarily reductive”), but he said that the University is continuing to examine its in the admissions process. In 2017, The New York Times reported that 19% of Duke students come from families in the top 1% of income in America (families who made about $630,000 or more per year), while 69% of students come from the top 20% (families who made around $110,000 or more per year). Guttentag said that the wealth distribution of Duke students reflects that of the applicant pool. “The college admissions process is not a level playing field,” he said.
*** In the two days after the serendipitous encounter on the summer solstice with its feline namesake, Guttentag bought Soli a bed and a toy that lights up and spins. He coaxed her into a cat carrier and took her to the vet for a checkup. He texted his son Eren nearly 10 photos of Soli eating, resting and playing. Guttentag’s cosmic connection with cats started late in adulthood. In fact, his parents were not fond of pets and did not have any in the home. But cats find their way to Guttentag. The first was Artemis, whom he named after the Greek goddess of wild animals and hunting.
Henry Haggart | Associate Photography Editor Guttentag’s son Eren said that Soli likes his mom and him, but that his dad is the indisputble favorite.
Henry Haggart | Associate Photography Editor Guttentag says he’s not a coffee afficionado. He does have 22 coffee makers, including 13 stovetop coffee makers, a French press, a French press for travel, a Chemex, a filter holder for pour overs, an Aeropress, a cold brew maker, a Krups automatic coffee maker, a Nespresso CitiZ and an ibrik for Turkish coffee.
When Guttentag moved into his Chapel Hill home in 1993, a year after leaving his admissions job at the University of Pennsylvania, a “sort of brown and white” kitten wandered around his new house like an abandoned child. Guttentag didn’t want a pet in the home, but also wanted to make sure the cat was okay. So he fed her daily and assembled a shelter with towels and a cat carrier to keep her warm in the winter. Six months later, he relented and let Artemis in. “At some point, I was just too smitten by it,” Guttentag said. “It was a gorgeous, welltempered, interesting feline.” I asked him again in our second meeting if he considers himself a cat person. He demurred. “A cat person would have a better description of [Artemis’] color. A cat person would have a better description of her characteristics,” he said. “A cat person would have three cats.”
Guttentag has spent a considerable amount of time coming to terms with the reality that part of his job involves disappointing an overwhelming number of people every year. For the Class of 2024, it was 36,726 students. Unlike 20 years ago, when students and parents were much more likely to give angry calls or emails to the admissions office after being denied, applicants now react to rejections with less shock and more grace, Guttentag said. “As we’ve become more selective, it’s not that people are less disappointed, but I think they’re less surprised if they’re not admitted,” he said. Offering a glimpse of the past, Guttentag recalled a particular incident from “10 or 15 years ago.” He said that an Ohio family whose child was denied admission drove eight hours to Durham to plead their case. They arrived in the admissions office lobby unannounced and asked to speak with the dean. In Guttentag’s office, the father argued that accepting his son would be a “win-win situation” for the student and the school, while the mother and child sat quietly on the couch. Guttentag said that he listened intently, but reiterated a few times that changing the decision was simply not an option. After the 30-minute conversation, he escorted the disappointed family back to the lobby. “I felt bad for them, for the effort that they put in, to come all this way to get a result that was not what they wanted,” Guttentag said. “There just wasn’t a path for me to make a different decision because it would’ve undercut an entire process that at that point had made decisions on 25 or 30,000 students.” But the dean of Duke undergraduate admissions is not immune to frustration amidst rejection either. Guttentag recalled feeling upset when Eren was not accepted to some of the schools that he applied to—more so than the actual applicant. “In my heart of hearts, I was disappointed and a little bruised because I thought my kid was worthy, and at the same time, I had to go, ‘These are really hard schools to get into. They’re not going to admit everybody who’s a great candidate,’” he said. “And you know, that’s life.” Eren, a senior studying physics and math at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that he did not know his dad felt that way. He said that he applied to Duke, Stanford University, MIT, Harvey Mudd College and the California Institute of Technology. He was denied from Stanford and waitlisted at Harvey Mudd, and he received acceptances from the rest. He said that he only applied to Stanford because “dad said I had to apply” and he would not have attended Harvey Mudd over the other schools, so he was “very satisfied” with the outcome of the application process. “I’m very happy at MIT and I don’t think I’d be happy anywhere else,” Eren said. But he wasn’t always happy. Eren said that he had trouble adjusting to college life in his first semester of freshman year and would occasionally call his dad between 1 and 3 a.m. when he felt the most homesick. Guttentag would tell his son what their cat Ariel had been up to (the family adopted her shortly after Artemis died) or that the crape myrtle tree in their backyard was finally blooming or that he and mom had just had a dinner party. Sometimes, he would just listen while his son cried. Guttentag shows up for his son, even when he doesn’t know how. Eren said that when he came out to his parents as a trans man two years ago, they were surprised but made clear immediately that they would fully support his transition. Guttentag said he and his wife met with a therapist for about four months to process the change and learn how to best support their son. At times his dad was awkward, Eren said, but he surely tried. “When I was a junior last year, my dad called me ‘junior’ as a nickname for a whole year, because I guess that’s what dads call their sons. He was like, ‘oh you’re a junior now, I can call you junior.’ And sometimes when we’re having a conversation he’d be like, ‘Let’s talk, man to man.’” Eren said. “It was kind of weird and kind of awkward but it was funny.” A few weeks ago, Guttentag told Eren that he knew Massachusetts was getting cold so he would mail him his “MIT 2021” jacket and a pair of slippers. He also threw in a Durham mug as a little surprise. “I miss Durham a lot, so he knew that that would make me happy,” Eren said.
*** Artemis is the cat that every cat after has been measured up against, Guttentag said. Soli still falls short, he said. She won’t let you scratch her belly. “My dad likes to act really grumpy about Soli and that she’s annoying him, even though he adores her,” Eren said. Eren said that Soli likes him and his mom, but his dad is the indisputable favorite. When Guttentag comes home from work, he lays down on his olive-colored sofa known in the family as “Mr. Green.” Soli sometimes senses this as an opportunity for attention, so she jumps onto Guttentag and lays down on his chest, stretching her arms into his beard. Feeling safe, she eventually falls asleep.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 5
october 19, 2020
gen z savior complex How social ills are offloaded on the younger generation, page 7
psl season Food columnist Maddie Menkes ranks Durhamâ€™s best PSLs, page 6
video game crunch
The labor ethics of video game developing, page 8
6 | MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
recess who’s your gen z savior?
Sarah Derris ..........ok boomer girl
Stephen Atkinson ..............claudia
Sydny Long .....................jojo siwa
Skyler Graham ........ barron trump
Kerry Rork ...............finn wolfhard
Jonathan Pertile ................... billie
Tessa Delgo ...............skai jackson
Derek Chen .......................... greta
on the cover: Image from “Phantoms of Lovanium” courtesy of Duke Screen/Society
Everyone who has watched the 1998 film, “The Truman Show,” has seriously (or maybe not so seriously) considered what it would be like if their life was a TV show. At first, the idea seems ridiculous, but consider this: there is no way to prove that life is not a TV show. Unless an actor playing a friend or family member messes up their lines, a studio light inexplicably falls out of
the sky or a poorly-hidden boom microphone is discovered behind a closet door, the show we star in is really no different than reality. Behind the cameras are directors, writers, set designers and makeup artists — all essential players in the ecosystem of the production. If one person screws up, the entire operation loses its illusion of reality, the element that makes the show charming and relatable. The idea that life has structure and narrative, just like a TV show,
is very comforting. Every scene must build up to a punchline or the realization that life actually has meaning. But life is so much more complicated than TV. There is no structure or logic to how we live while we are actually living it. In a TV show, hundreds of hours of footage are edited down to small, selfcontained episodes. In real life, there are no episodes until we boil down all of our messy memories into logical narratives. There are rarely any second or third takes, and there are no deleted scenes. Still, if I was the star of a TV show, I wonder how low its ratings would have plummeted during the past eight months of the pandemic. Willingly shut in the periwinkle-blue walls of my childhood bedroom, I spend most of my energy on introspection, not action. Usually, “The Courtney Show” has jaw-dropping action sequences, montages of training sessions before a big competition and awkward meet-cutes with my next crush. Now, these reenactments of television tropes only exist in my imagination. I imagine that the camera operators are yawning, bored out of their minds until I rise out of bed to brush my teeth or take a walk outside. An introvert like me naturally clings to solitude, but even I admit that it makes for boring television. It is like I am living in a bottle episode, a costcutting production measure to ensure the studio stays within budget. A bottle episode leverages existing cast members and locations for cheap and expedient production. The narrative is usually confined to a single room and focused more on dialogue than actual story. The bottle episode is either loved by viewers for its emotional nuance or hated for its lack of narrative. My personal favorite is “Community’s” bottle episode “Cooperative Calligraphy.” While a puppy
The Chronicle parade goes on outside, the study group decides to not leave the library until they find out who stole Annie’s missing pen. The identity of the culprit is not central to the episode, but it is the unraveling of each character’s sanity that drives the story. Misunderstandings quickly come to light, which brings out each of their many vulnerabilities. Abed, the show’s awkward, pop-culture nerd, shares a few words of sarcasm referencing his hatred of bottle episodes: “I want to say thank you for doing this to me. For a while, I thought I’d have to suffer through a puppy parade, but I much prefer being entombed alive in a mausoleum of feelings I can neither understand nor reciprocate.” The “mausoleum of feelings” of the bottle episode perfectly encapsulates the essence of pandemic life. I have learned to cope with the absurdity of the outside world by understanding that life does not need to have a narrative in order for it to have meaning. Retreating into the fiction of TV helps me understand the roots of my problems, so I can solve them in actionable ways. I have realized that just because my experience is sheltered, it does not mean that my feelings are not worthwhile. Imagining my life as a TV show is one way for me to compartmentalize my memories, pinpoint the motives of the people I interact with and confront my issues in an inviting, fictional world instead of the frightening complexity of the real world. In a way, examining life through the framework of television allows me to uncover the unexpressed pains of life by empathizing with the experiences of my favorite characters. The camera operator of “The Courtney Show” might be uninterested, but the narrator of my thoughts never runs out of dialogue. —Courtney Dantzler
recess I tried six different PSLs in Durham so you don’t have to local arts
By Maddie Menkes Staff Columnist
Recently, Duke’s towering trees have been transforming from a vibrant shade of green to tones of orange, brown and yellow. Durham’s 90-degree humidity has lowered to a cool 75 with a nice breeze. You know what this means: it’s officially fall. And with fall comes one very important and crucial item — a pumpkin spice latte. Over the last six days, I tried six different Durham coffee shops, ranging from oncampus to off-campus, so all of you can indulge in your PSL fantasies. As college students, we do not have the time during fall semester to jump from coffee shop to coffee shop trying to find the best pumpkin spice latte. By the time we did, fall would be over and it would be peppermint mocha season. So that’s why I am here: to save you from wasting your time with a sub-par pumpkin spice latte when you could be treating yourself to only the best of the best. After these six days, I have learned so much. What makes a pumpkin spice latte truly “autumnal” and one that deserves to be swept away from a witch’s broomstick. Over these past five days, I visited West Union’s Café, Beyú Blue, Triangle Coffee House, Cocoa Cinnamon, Starbucks and Liturgy. Monday: Café My first pumpkin spice latte for the season was from West Union’s Café. The barista recommended their fall special, the pumpkin cheesecake latte (a twist on the classic pumpkin spice latte). Normally, I would order a hot drink, because fall inherently denotes warmth to me. However, after a long walk in 75 degree weather from the Ruby to West Union an iced latte was the only option. As soon as I sipped my iced latte, I
immediately became warm. The two ice cubes dancing in the drink slowly melted into the spice abyss. For 12 ounces and an oat milk substitution (as a lactose-intolerant individual I have started to believe that oat milk is supreme to almond milk but I think this is a debate for another article), $4.85 is not completely unreasonable. Substituting non-dairy milk is only $.50 at Café — at other coffee shops it can be $1.00 or more. The consistency of the drink is very thick and creamy. Typically, ice in drinks dilutes the flavor and makes the drink watery. Ignoring the lukewarm temperature, I initially tasted a very sweet cheesecake flavor, similar to the taste of a sugar cookie, that was then swept away to cinnamon and nutmeg. In lieu of a prominent pumpkin flavor, (no sweet yet earthy taste) there was the overwhelming taste of a sweetened version of the ingredients in my spice cabinet. Although I qualify the pumpkin cheesecake latte as a “fall drink,” I would not classify it as a pumpkin spice latte. Additionally, for branding the drink as a pumpkin cheesecake latte, I was getting a whole lot of spice that was not even in the description. I would rename the drink “Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Latte” to better fit the flavors present in the drink. Sadly, I did not get the confetti that I expected would fall from the sky after having my first pumpkin drink of the season, but I was even more excited to continue my latte journey. My next stop is the classic food point killer, Beyú Blue. Rating: 3.5 pumpkins Tuesday: Beyú Blue My day was immediately made as I stepped into Beyú Blue and was greeted by the barista princess herself — Princess. After my slight disappointment at Café on Monday, I was unsure of what to expect at Beyú, but I was excited for day two of my PSL challenge. For 16 ounces and a $1.00 upcharge for oat
Courtesy of Flickr
Since Starbucks debuted their pumpkin spice latte, the beverage has been a hallmark of the fall season nationwide. milk, my total was $5.65. Luckily I have an excess of food points at the moment otherwise I would have been deflated by the expense. The PSL is decorated with whipped cream and cinnamon, a flare that maybe, just maybe, makes the drink worth its price. The flavors of Beyú’s PSL are harmonious; there is no dominant spice that overpowers any other ingredient. Additionally, the oat milk and whipped cream add a creamy consistency, and the whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon embodies the festive autumn spirit I was yearning for. At the bottom of the cup, there is a lining of pumpkin syrup that I tasted with every sip. The latte’s color resembles the leaves
falling from the Duke’s trees: a light brown and orange vibrancy. In contrast to Café I appreciated the amount of ice: not too much, which usually results in a watery consistency, but also not too little. I continued to sip my drink until I realized I was slurping a mix of melted ice and whipped cream: I wished for a neverending Beyú Blue PSL. However, the only way I would be able to indulge in daily Beyú Blue PSLs would be if my food points were never ending, too. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Rating: 4.5 pumpkins An abbreviated version of this story appears in print. For the full version, visit https://www. dukechronicle.com/section/recess
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 7
Claudia Conway’s media popularity and the Gen Z savior complex By Derek Deng Staff Columnist
The DailyMail has an unsettling obsession with Ariel Winter. A cursory glance at their newsfeed informs readers of every minute detail of her life, be it her “casual figure in a blue hoodie as she stocks up on cardboard boxes” or “her ample bust and toned legs in a plunging scarlet maxi dress.” But Winter is one of many in a sea of young girls that the media outlet has an unhealthy fixation on. In recent months, the daily shenanigans of 15-year-old Claudia Conway have been dissected and prodded at by DailyMail and other right-leaning news outlets. And it works: articles about her generate clicks. Claudia Conway, the daughter of former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and staunch anti-Trump attorney George Conway, stands at the unique intersection of politics, pop culture and a highly publicized family feud. Her visibility on social media gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of political celebrity, fitting comfortably into traditional narratives of teen angst and Gen Z activism. And now more than ever, her matter-of-fact social media presence has crossed into the political stream. Two days after it was announced that Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, Conway broke the news that her mom had tested positive as well in a TikTok captioned, “update my mom has covid.” Following that was a chaotic saga of videos and tweets. In one TikTok, Conway reveals that she is “dying of covid!” In a TikTok comment thread, she contradicts Trump’s claims that he was swiftly recovering from COVID-19, saying that he’s “doing badly” — followed, of course, by a blunt “lol.” By virtue of her familial connections and darkly humorous social media presence,
Claudia Conway has inadvertently established a loyal fanbase composed of of mutinous teenagers and liberal millennials. She is now lauded as the “Greta of the USA,” and Elle called her “the whistleblower of our time.” Hollywood director Judd Apatow heralded Claudia as “a bright light of truth.” Her story is undeniably intriguing: a rebellious teenager speaks out against annoying parents, sending political strategists into a frenzy, and her transparent social media presence makes for an enticing news article. But that is all there is to it. Claudia Conway is not an idol for youth activists stifled by parental disapproval, nor is she the YA heroine destined to destroy the Trump administration from the inside; she is a 15-year-old going through family quarrels that would be better resolved without the constant scrutiny of DailyMail. By squeezing Conway into our idealized visions of Gen Z activism, we place immense pressure on Conway to fix problems on a national scale, essentially absolving responsibility from the policymakers and politicians that have a significant influence in our government. When Greta Thunberg spoke to the United Nations, she echoed a larger truth about how the burden of real, tangible change is pushed onto Gen Z: “I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you.” In recent years, youth activists — whether it be Claudia Conway, Greta Thunberg, Isra Hirsi or Parkland students — have been consistently labeled as “heroes” to the world’s most pressing problems. But they’ve also faced presidential harassment, death threats and cyberbullying. When we perpetuate this Gen Z savior complex, we push the false narrative that Gen Z alone will save
the world; that change can be precipitated without active commitments toward change from policymakers, politicians, institutions and systems. Gen Z is fed up, and we have made steps towards progress and rewired how we think about structures of inequality. But we are also disillusioned by collective powerlessness, deadly wildfires and hurricanes, political gridlock and a broken policing system that has continually murdered the people that it is supposed to
protect. While it may be pleasing to think of Gen Z activists like Claudia Conway as saviors that swoop in and save the day, our systems and institutions require radical change from all generations and all sectors of society. Kellyanne Conway recently tweeted in support of her daughter: “My daughter, Claudia, is beautiful & brilliant… Like all of you, she speculates on social media. Yet she’s 15. You are adults.” Maybe she should start posting on TikTok.
From @claudiaconway on Instagram
15-year-old Claudia Conway have been dissected by DailyMail and other right-leaning news outlets.
8 | MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
2020 is the year of COVID-19, Bad Bunny and Lil Baby By Ben Brutocao Staff Columnist
This year shook our collective faith in the world we built and the artists we entrust with our time. Rap’s shortlist (Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Drake, Travis Scott) largely refused to release work in a tourless era, while opportunists such as Griselda (Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher, Conway the Machine) jumped on the chance to unleash deluges of rushed and unremarkable projects to a starved audience. In Griselda’s case, this meant slapping eight different cover arts over the same milquetoast album and hoping no one would notice. In such an unforgivingly mediocre year of rap, two kings hold us close as we desperately try to avoid listening to Griselda say absolutely nothing for hundreds of minutes: Bad Bunny (Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) and Lil Baby (Dominique Armani Jones). Both have had storied years, transitioning from a position of excitement and conditional respect to true reverence, releasing record-shattering music and championing human rights as they go. Bad Bunny was born into the Puerto Rican middle class to a truck driver and a retired school teacher. In college, he was signed to a label while bagging groceries. He was a clean cut, flamboyant dresser with a booming voice and absolute command of whatever beat you put in front of him. He quickly became a staple of the reggaeton-trap crossover movement, infusing his very soul into every song. With rapid stardom comes an eagerness to please, which plagued Bad Bunny’s debut album. This naiveté melted away with his first 2020 project, “YHLQMDLG,” (Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana - I Do What I Want) which he released on leap day, Feb. 29. All over this project, Bad Bunny is at the very top of his game. There is not one word on the project out of place, all coalescing over a beautiful soup of reggaeton, trap, bachata, salsa and rock into an enthralling sonic mosaic. He also displays a theretofore undeveloped emotional versatility, stops singing exclusively about sex and takes more risks than most artists take in their careers. (There is a beat switch every 45 seconds on the monolithic “Safaera.”)
True to the name of his album, Bunny spent the rest of the year doing exactly what he wanted to do. In Kendrick Lamar fashion, he released the fantastic tracks that did not make the final cut for his album as a separate project. He also became the only man other than Hugh Hefner to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine, threw an impromptu concert on top of a flatbed truck that drove through The Bronx and Washington Heights, and just generally lived the life you would expect of a boundary pushing international star. Lil Baby, on the other hand, does not have such a feel good story. After frequent arrests starting with a burglary at 12, Baby dropped out of the 9th grade and focused on hustling and staying alive. He spent some years in prison, had his sentence extended for defending himself against a white racist, and otherwise was targeted by a system designed for exactly not him. Upon release, he started rapping as just another voice in the cacophony of SoundCloud’s prime, but was soon separated due to Young Thug’s tutelage and the incessant pace of his raps. He was grouped with fellow Thug protege Gunna, and in 2018 the two released “Drip Harder,” a scattered effort devoted body and soul to one upmanship and being financially irresponsible. It was clear that neither artist’s effect was maximized, despite the astounding commercial success. Baby entered 2020 starving. He had nothing less than complete dominance on his mind, as he announced in the title of his phenomenal album “My Turn.” Here, Lil Baby fully comes into his own. His flow throughout the project
is simply correct. Like the X-Men villain Juggernaut, when Lil Baby gets going, there is no force on earth that can stop him. He is capable of rapping at a furious pace for minutes on end, existing within the soul of the beat, all the while connecting surprisingly weighty thoughts to punchlines and off-the-wall observations. Further, his slightly raspy voice never loses a transcendental desperation that makes the album feel almost religious. The features that he allows are uniformly excellent, including two game-changing appearances from little-brother-to-all, 42 Dugg. One such collaboration, “We Paid,” is among the most celebrated tracks of the year, and could be billed as a selfcontained portrayal of the soul of contemporary rap music. Since releasing the deluxe version of “My Turn” was released, which includes the anti-brutality anthem “The Bigger Picture,” Lil Baby has been transfigured into an elder statesman of the rap game. His is the most sought after feature at the moment. He was right: it is his turn. While these two men on the surface could not be more distinct, upon closer inspection they are two sides of the same coin. Both artists blew up thanks to Drake, were born in 1994 and have been bizarrely politicized. They exploded overnight with somewhat shallow content. Then, through collaborative albums, their self-confidence boomed, allowing them to reinvent themselves this year on landmark albums that displayed their mastery of flow and cemented their status as all-time greats.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons True to the name of his latest album, Bad Bunny spent the rest of the year doing exactly what he wanted to do.
‘Cyberpunk 2077’ and the ethics of video game crunch By Devinne Moses
defined console generations like “The Witcher 3,” which received several free additional content packs on top of its massive, openworld story. Unfortunately, even this came at a cost for the studio’s employees in 2015 when they were forced to work long hours in order to meet shipping deadlines. This is the bleak world of crunch. Game developers work unethically long hours to complete these projects, and it ends up being a few passionate individuals tasked to deliver multi-milliondollar blockbuster games by a set deadline. But this extends far beyond CD Projekt Red, as crunch has been a common trend in the game industry for years. Naughty Dog’s “Last of Us II” and Rockstar’s “Red Dead Redemption 2” are among other popular titles that employees reportedly had to spend long hours on, with some developers getting sick or leaving altogether because of crunch. If requiring unethically long work days is clearly an unsustainable trend that violates the rights of employees, why does crunch happen? The clearest observation is that games are getting bigger, more expensive and require several years of development. Copious amounts of money are invested into these games by major
publishing companies like Sony, and those publishers may require studios to create a deadline for their game to justify investing thousands of dollars into them. These publishers enable studios CD Projekt Red is creating one of the most anticipated games to continue unsustainable crunch practices, especially when it’s an of the year, but does it justify employees facing grueling work weeks exclusive game that could potentially help sell gaming consoles. in order to get the game out on time? What is the state of “crunch Another factor is poor management and foresight. Unforseen culture” in the video game industry? events, like the pandemic, can cause the timeline of the developing Only a small number of games live up to the hype generated process tochange completely. Yet studios still try to stick to their before their release, and most of the time those games become initial plan and find themselves rushing to finish a game, and even cultural milestones for video game history. For the past several putting out a game that isn’t complete (see: “Anthem”). years, “Cyberpunk 2077” has been growing in popularity with Crunch is sometimes in the form of social pressure. When its action-adventure storyline and cyborg-inhabited world, and a manager urges employees to stay longer at their job in order to after much anticipation, it’s finally set to release this November complete a task, this simply places external pressure on employees after numerous delays. to crunch on a game, even when it’s not required. Refusing to take In an effort to release the game by that deadline, developer CD overtime in this situation could come at the cost of being passed Projekt Red, has reportedly adjusted their work schedule to review up on a future promotion or potentially being the first to be let go the game and make last-minute fixes. This would include a 6-day when job cuts occur. work week leading to the release of the game, and it contradicts A sad truth is that crunch usually doesn’t affect sales. CD Projekt Red’s promise that its workers would not be subject “Cyberpunk” is set to be a bestseller, and many consumers might to excessive overtime hours. not know about the crunch that goes into the game they purchase, The company is known for making high quality games that or worse, they don’t care. There’s a growing concern that people are normalizing crunch, especially when the mandatory overtime is paid. For many, working in the video game industry is considered a dream job, which leads outsiders to believe that long hours can’t be so bad if it’s something that you love to do. These beliefs are false and dangerous. At the start of a new console generation, it’s important to realize that the public has the power to hold studio leads accountable. Change comes by shining a light on crunch, either through the media or brave messages from developers themselves. As crunch makes it way into our cultural consciousness, people can and should become more educated on the issue. The collective messages for change can serve as a wake-up call for the industry to treat their employees ethically at all times during the development process or face legal consequences. Even now there are grassroot movements like Game Workers Unite that are searching for solutions to address crunch and ensure fair and ethical treatment of game developers. CD Projekt Red is well respected within the gaming community, but quality games don’t justify unethical treatment of employees. Poor standards of living is a deep-rooted problem in our country, and the sad truth is that overworking has long been a daily fact of life. The question studios and we the public need to Courtesy of Forbes ask is simple: do we value the release of a project more than the CD Projekt Red is creating one of the most anticipated games of the year, but does it justify the grueling work weeks employees must face? lives of those tasked to make it? Staff Columnist
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 9
Election Day is November 3. You can vote early. You can vote by mail. You can vote on Election Day.
Go to voteamerica.com/students
10 | C, MONDAY, 2020 OCTOBER 19, 2020
october 19, 2020
WOLF BLITZER FOOTBALL: OFFENSE STALLS AT N.C. STATE BASKETBALL: BEGINS OFFICIAL PRACTICE
COURTESY OF THE ACC
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 11
Key goal line stand epitomizes Duke’s struggles By Max Rego Assistant Blue Zone Editor
Duke’s tale of two halves continued Saturday in Raleigh. Despite the promise displayed by the Blue Devils at certain points during their in-state showdown with N.C. State, the end result was unfortunately par for the course in what has been a disappointing 2020 campaign. Three interceptions by Chase Brice, an inability to get the run game going on a consistent basis and a missed field goal by Charlie Ham were all developments in the 31-20 31 negative loss, but one sequence stands out above the rest. With 12:55 remaining in the third quarter and Duke ahead 20-14, a fumble recovery by defensive end Drew Jordan gave the Blue Devils the ball on the N.C. State 40-yard-line. After Brice moved the chains with his legs on two separate occasions, Duke found itself in a goal-to-go situation with an opportunity to extend its lead to double-digits. However, the next four offensive snaps resulted in just three yards, handing the Wolfpack possession, and some life. The inability of the Blue Devils to punch it in during that sequence was a microcosm of everything that went wrong Saturday, and it gave N.C. State the jolt it needed to take the lead and eventually finish off its fourth win of the season. “That was a big play—definitely sucked some of the energy out of the team, especially with them driving down and scoring,” junior receiver Jake Bobo said. “We have to put those in to be able to distance that lead and take a little pressure off the defense and Chase too.” Duke had issues all afternoon in terms of getting the ground game going, with Deon Jackson and Mataeo Durant combining for 43 yards on 27 carries, a stark contrast from the duo’s 332 yards last week. On first, second and third down from inside the five-yard-line on that sequence early in the third quarter, Jackson was bottled up near the line of scrimmage each time. While those play calls made up only 11 percent of the rushing attempts by Duke’s backfield on the
day, it was pretty indicative of how little room Durant and Jackson had to work with all afternoon. After the turnover on downs, the Blue Devils were outscored 17-0 the rest of the way. Powered by its own running back duo of Ricky Person Jr. and Zonovan Knight, N.C. State cruised offensively despite seeing starting quarterback Devin Leary go down with a gut-wrenching ankle injury. Most would think that the loss of downs served as an energy-depleter for Duke. But redshirt junior defensive end Chris Rumph II didn’t think that was the issue at all, simply responding that he and his teammates on the defensive line could’ve done a better job of putting pressure on Leary and his eventual replacement, Bailey Hockman. “I feel like I had more energy in the second half than the first. Our job is to put pressure on the quarterback, make him feel uncomfortable,” Rumph said. “We don’t always have to make sacks to impact the game or impact the quarterback— us being around him and just hassling him and him always thinking about us [has an impact].” Duke’s offense, on the other hand, was unable to get back into the red zone for the rest of the afternoon after the turnover on downs. Brice threw multiple backbreaking interceptions when it seemed like the Blue Devils were on the verge of something special, something that will lead many to call for backup Gunnar Holmberg to receive an audition under center. But the fact of the matter is that Brice, despite his difficulties throughout the game in the turnover column, helped Duke get its halftime lead in the first place. Furthermore, Saturday’s loss shows that opportunities to build a lead on the road should not be squandered, especially considering the challenges that this team has had with putting points on the board. The decision to go for it on fourth-and-short in that aforementioned sequence made sense from a statistical perspective, and clearly head coach David Cutcliffe felt like he had the right play dialed up. However, N.C. State blew the play up before it could even materialize, shifting the momentum of the contest.
“It’s always a challenge of momentum,” Cutcliffe said. “When you score touchdowns inside the red zone, that builds momentum obviously and it is a challenge—it’s one that you have to address. That’s part of your job as a coach, when the game, or breaks, go against you, you don’t let up, you have to put on more steam.” Duke’s first-half performance was not perfect by any means, but the Blue Devils were in position to snag a pivotal road victory in front of 4,000 booing N.C. State fans as halftime arrived. A touchdown after the Jordan fumble recovery would have been a sign that Duke was ready to pounce on a second straight victory, but now the Blue Devils are left to wonder what could have been.
Courtesy of the ACC
Duke totaled 129 rushing yards on 41 attempts Saturday, a far cry from its 363-yard output last week at Syracuse.
Blue Devils kick off first official practices in Lawson era By Spencer Levy Associate Sports Editor
Although Duke women’s basketball returns nine players from an 18-win season, things are starting to feel a bit like freshman year for even the upperclassmen learning a new system under head coach Kara Lawson. With the season nearing a month away, Duke took its next step in preparation with its first official practice Oct. 14. That being said, the practice did not feel mich different from previous ones in the preseason. Lawson outlined a few more tenants to her coaching philosophy after meeting with the media post-practice. “It was a solid first session, a continuation of what we’ve been teaching throughout the preseason,” Lawson said. “Our players have done a great job of trying to pick up as quickly as possible what we are trying to teach them… and work hard to try to make reads and finish the way we want them to.” In her first season as a collegiate head coach, Lawson is still in the midst of figuring out how her team will play. She continues to assess the team’s strengths and will analyze her opponents to determine the most effective playing style, which may “change on a game-by-game basis.” While the specific system is not yet set, Lawson’s team wants to emphasize taking care of the ball on the offensive end and challenging the opponents without fouling on the other end. The Blue Devils will play both man and zone defenses and will mix in different offensive sets. The coaching staff is also continuing to introduce all of its new concepts and terminology in these practices, and once the players grasp the information, the staff will add on more. Lawson also further explained her teaching philosophy, which centers on the role patience should play in any level of sports. “You have to be patient enough for them to be able to learn it,” Lawson said. “But you have to be willing to be impatient enough and challenge them enough to push them to go a little farther than maybe they’re courageous enough to get to at that point.”
That balance allows her team to improve at a reasonable pace, but at the same time, she is attempting to get the best out of each and every player on the hardwood. This idea coincides with Lawson’s emphasis throughout the preseason on developing meaningful relationships with all of her players, with numerous one-on-one meetings and workouts early on. “As you get to know someone more and more… you start to really understand their capabilities,” Lawson said. “You can almost know if they’re going to pick it up fast or slow before you even teach it to them because you know how their brain works or physically how they move.” Consistency will also be a focal point for this year’s Duke team. Lawson explained that she looks for dependability in both a player’s focus and effort, which when aligned, will yield favorable results.
Courtesy of Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics
Kara Lawson will lead a veteran Duke squad this season.
“Consistency is one of the hardest things to find as a player,” Lawson said. “If they come in every day and they play with great effort, and if they’re focused on the details of what we’re trying to achieve and the details of our system, then they’re going to set themselves up to be really consistent.” For junior Miela Goodchild, the experience playing for a coach with a WNBA Championship and a gold medal in her pocket has been “awesome.” “She’s literally done everything I’d want to achieve in my life,” Goodchild told GoDuke. “She explains everything, and you just know she knows what she’s doing.” In practice thus far, the Queensland, Australia native has worked on her midrange shooting game by fitting those shots into her mix of long-range treys. She is also working to extend that 3-point range to open up other aspects of her game. Goodchild is among a group of experienced players for whom Lawson can lean on for leadership this season. The head coach also noted the significant role guard Mikayla Boykin will play. “To have an experienced player like Mikayla that’s played in a lot of big games, that has the high-level skill, high-level basketball IQ, that’s really important for us,” Lawson said. “We’re definitely a more settled team when Mikayla’s out on the floor. She’s very confident and she has a good understanding of what we’re trying to do. She also has the skill to be able to execute what we’re trying to do.” With much of last year’s Duke team returning, the players already have a baseline chemistry that will be built upon as the preseason continues. Lone freshman Vanessa de Jesus has been improving on the court, and Jennifer Ezeh, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL and meniscus, is also practicing. Lawson is still waiting on the ACC schedule to be released before she can finalize a non-conference slate. But in the meantime, the Blue Devils will continue to put together all of the lessons they have grasped from Lawson’s tenure with the program.
12 | C, MONDAY, 2020 OCTOBER 19, 2020
Duke’s next sack king? Meet Victor Dimukeje By Max Rego Assistant Blue Zone Editor
As the saying goes, records are meant to be broken. The Duke career sack mark has been in place since 1981, when Charles Bowser set the Blue Devil standard and finished his career with 22 quarterback takedowns. That record is in jeopardy, however, thanks to current senior defensive end Victor Dimukeje. Just three years ago, Dimukeje arrived in Durham after a decorated career at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore. A three-star prospect who was named to the Baltimore Sun All-Metro first team, Dimukeje was part of a recruiting class that has made a sizable impact on the Blue Devil program. Alongside fellow defensive end Chris Rumph II, tight end Noah Gray and other key contributors, Dimukeje has continued the narrative of head coach David Cutcliffe’s ability to bring in undervalued, yet motivated, talent to Wallace Wade Stadium. Dimukeje has started every contest during his career, a testament to his durability. In those 40 starts, the Baltimore native has racked up 144 tackles, including 32 tackles for loss. But those numbers, albeit impressive, are overshadowed by the fact that Dimukeje is now at 20.5 sacks for his career, just 1.5 behind Bowser’s 39-year-old mark. Dimukeje’s dedication doesn’t just apply to the football field, as he plans to trade in his football jersey for a white coat and go to Physician Assistant (PA) school in the future. “I don’t play for stats or accolades—I play to do my job and to win games, and the rest comes with that,” Dimukeje told The Chronicle. “So, I’ve just tried to get better each and every year, play consistent, do my job and play for my teammates.” Getting started in the DMV Surprisingly, Dimukeje only began playing football in eighth grade, making the All-ACC performer’s rise all the more impressive. It also gives him something in common with Rumph, as both pass rushers got into the sport at a later age. Dimukeje attributes a significant amount of his growth to his time at Boys’ Latin School, where he was able to face off against some of the top players in the country in the DMV area, a recruiting hotbed for college football. “Just competing against guys in those big schools like St. Francis and Gilman in Baltimore—there’s a lot of talent that comes from Baltimore, so just being from that area helped me grow as a football player and compete at a high level,” Dimukeje said.
Chronicle File Photo
Dimukeje sits just 1.5 sacks behind the school record.
Making a name for himself at Duke When it came time to make his college decision, Dimukeje had a wide variety of choices. Outside of Duke, his most notable offers were from Notre Dame, Army and every Ivy League university besides Dartmouth. Ultimately, Dimukeje chose to move to the Bull City. In hindsight, the decision made perfect sense, as Duke gave him the chance to compete in the Power Five while helping him achieve his goals in the classroom. “With all my offers, I knew that this offered me the best academics while playing at a high level. Division I in the ACC—I mean, nothing beats that,” Dimukeje said. “The relationship with the coaches that I made during the recruiting process helped make the decision easy.” Right out of the gate, Dimukeje made things happen in the trenches, taking home first-team freshman All-American honors from ESPN after posting 40 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks during the 2017 campaign. Since that debut season, Dimukeje has dealt with expectations to perform week in and week out. “I really wouldn’t call them expectations,” Dimukeje said. “I just go out there and do what I have to do.” Oftentimes, programs see the makeup of their coaching staffs change on a yearly basis. Duke, on the other hand, has benefitted from relative consistency on the sidelines, with
the 2017 recruiting class in particular being able to develop on and off the field with familiar faces leading the charge. This certainly applies to Dimukeje, who has benefitted from having Ben Albert as his position coach throughout his entire Blue Devil career. Albert, who is currently Duke’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, has recruited and developed a revolving door of standouts in the trenches since joining the Duke staff in February 2016, though Dimukeje is on track to graduate as perhaps the most impactful of them all. “[Albert] always talks about helping me grow as a man and helping the defensive linemen grow as men,” Dimukeje said. “I think it’s bigger than football with him. He wants to see you do well off the field. He’s helped me grow my game all four years—I’ve gotten better each and every year if you watch.” For all of the impressive numbers that appear next to Dimukeje’s name in the stat sheet, the fact that he has started every contest since arriving on campus could be the most remarkable. By being there for his teammates at every juncture, Dimukeje has consistently set the tone for Duke’s defensive unit. “I pride myself on that, because I go out there with the feeling of giving it my all, practicing with my teammates and playing with my teammates,” Dimukeje said. “Just being able to go out there all four years and do what I love for my teammates and start every game, that’s the special feeling and I’m just trying to go out the right way.” Dimukeje also has some keen interests in the classroom, majoring in evolutionary anthropology. So while he may be best known on campus for his agile pass rushing moves, Dimukeje clearly fits the mold of academic and athletic excellence that Cutcliffe has instilled since arriving at Duke in December 2007. “I wanted to do something related to the medical field, and [my major] talks about evolution of humans and stuff, so I’m kind of interested in that,” Dimukeje said. “I want to go to PA school, so that’s one of the reasons I chose that major and it’s going great so far. I’m just trying to finish strong.” Marching toward history At the start of the 2020 season, Dimukeje stood eight sacks behind Bowser’s all-time mark. Once the season began, however, the senior star quickly tightened the gap, See DIMUKEJE on Page 13
Extra eligibility good for players, dangerous for schools The NCAA announced Oct. 14 that all current winter athletes will receive an additional year of eligibility, no matter how many games they play this season. As with its decision for fall sport athletes, this is great news for current players, and a continuation of a horrible trend for non-Power 5 schools. Overall, an extra year makes some sense for winter athletes. After a summer of countless highprofile transfers, the 2020-21 season was already going to be a bit odd. And though COVID-related obstructions to a normal season should be less prevalent as time goes on, the winter Em Adler seasons are already beyond normalcy. But these problems aren’t evenly affecting schools across the board—Duke is in a much better position to weather the storm
than programs like High Point or Meredith. Group of 5 (G5) and mid-major schools are already under extreme financial stress from the pandemic, and allowing players to not count against scholarship limits will end up stretching those athletic budgets past their limits. There’s a lot of G5 and FCS schools whose entire athletic budgets have been provided by the revenue earned from “buy games.” Now that money is being taken away due to largely conference-only schedules across college football, while a few more scholarships are being added to the rolls. A scholarship athlete doesn’t actually cost a university the full price of tuition, but that’s still a lot of money many of these schools simply won’t be able to afford. That’s part of the reason why NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hairline told USA Today that “we’re probably at a place where 20 percent to 30 percent of Division III schools may not survive this pandemic.” For Duke, the extra eligibility provides some minor help for the next couple of years. For men’s basketball, Jordan Goldwire and Patrick Tapé each receive the possibility of another year to continue playing in Cameron. Goldwire would especially be a good fit to return for an extra year, with Duke bringing several high-profile wings and (as of yet) no guards into a team bereft of upperclassmen for 2021. On the women’s basketball side, the additional year should help the team maintain a passable level of play while head coach Kara Lawson and her staff’s already-strong recruiting starts bringing the talent up to national contention. The 2022 WNBA Draft would be the earliest any Blue Devil would be in draft consideration. Until then, Jade Williams and Jayda Adams can Jackson Muraika | Assistant Sports Photography Editor continue to play. Whether the extra year actually helps or hurts the Blue Devil Senior Jordan Goldwire could be in Durham for another year.
Eric Wei | Staff Photographer
Jade Williams has started 57 of 93 games throughout her three-year Blue Devil career.
women’s basketball team is a bit of a complicated question, however. Despite the continual advancement of women’s basketball, there still remain just 144 roster spots in the WNBA (compared to 450 in the NBA). It’s an uphill battle for many second-round picks to make rosters. Allowing women’s basketball players a fifth year will keep a lot of high-quality talent in the collegiate game, which could end up hurting Duke in the end. While it will certainly be interesting to see how Blue Devil teams are affected by both this legislation and the forthcoming decision on transfer eligibility, what’s most significant about recent NCAA decisions is how their effects trickle down. There were a lot of questions back in the spring about how smaller schools would fare in the pandemic. So far, the situation looks dire.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 13
Key quotes from freshman guard DJ Steward’s press conference By Evan Kolin Sports Editor
Combo guard DJ Steward comes to Durham as the No. 25 overall recruit in the Class of 2020, a crafty playmaker with elite shooting touch from deep who should compete for playing time right away. Steward spoke with the media Oct. 13, a day before official practice began, to discuss his NBA player comparisons, his experience playing high school football, his outgoing personality and more. Here are the highlights: On what the upperclassmen have told him he’s about to experience at Duke: “They always say that the competition level rises. When we start [official] practice, the competition level’s going to rise, every game is going to be hard. We’re the hunted. So we have to also be hunting at the same time…. We have to always go out there and work hard and try and be the hunters.” On who’s impressed him on the court so far: “Matt Hurt, and also [Jordan Goldwire], but I’ll speak on Matt Hurt first. Matt Hurt is a really good player. He’s definitely gotten a lot better, according to what Coach K has said. He’s just an amazing shooter and an amazing scorer, and I’m really excited to see what he does this year. “And J-Gold has really been leading for us as well, really defending, handling the ball without having any turnovers. So he’s been really big for us as well. And he’s also been pretty much leading me on the court and telling me where to go and just letting me know how Duke is going to be and how we are going to play.”
Wendell [Moore] out there on the court at much every teammate really well. I can connect the same time.” with them in some sort of way…. And how I move in life—I just move positively, always smiling and On who he’s spent the most time playing in the just having a positive attitude about everything.” backcourt with so far: “So far, I’ve been pretty much with J-Gold a On where that positive attitude comes from: pretty good amount right now. Switching off a “Probably my mom. I mean, my mom is little bit, but so far I’ve been with J-Gold more.” always happy and positive, and I’m pretty sure it just rubbed off on me.” On how playing football in high school has helped him on the basketball court: “Toughness wise, mentally and physically. You have to be tough. That’s the main thing. And then awareness on the court, having a good IQ, seeing the field and seeing the court as well, knowing where everybody is supposed to be at. Me being a safety, just reading the offense, where the ball is going, just getting underneath the ball as well. On how he handled the first few months of the summer while the team couldn’t be on campus: “Just staying positive every day. The coaches contacted the players a lot. We had our own little group chat going for the freshmen and then it expanded into the whole entire team. We had Zooms where we could get to know each other a lot more before we got down here, which helped a lot. And then, as far as me, I had access to a gym, a weight room. So I was able to pretty much get in a gym every day and just work on my game.”
On which players he’s been compared to: “Lou Williams, CJ McCollum and then a little Ja Morant.” On how the starting lineup will look this season: “It’ll definitely be fluid. There [are] 11 players that could potentially play big minutes. So that starting lineup could pretty much change gameto-game, you just never know.”
On how Coach K has used him on the court: “Coach K has me playing on the ball and off the ball, which The is great because he On his positive, optimistic personality and how New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation can mix up the lineups: J-Gold and me, New he’sYork, mixed with his teammates: 620 Eighth Avenue, N.Y.in10018 For Information Jeremy Roach and me, sometimes me andCall: 1-800-972-3550 “In the locker room, I’ve mixed in with pretty
Courtesy of Duke Athletics
Steward is the No. 25 incoming recruit in the country, per ESPN.
ACROSS 1 Award notably won in each of the “big four” categories by this puzzle’s honoree 7 Peeling potatoes as punishment, maybe 11 Krazy ___ 14 Things used with some frequency? 15 Surf sound 16 Yoko whose work is sometimes described as 17-Across 17 Having no musical key 18 Swear is true 20 “We’ve Only Just ___” 21 Toy brand with plastic figures 22 Maker of the old Dreamcast game console 24 Terse admission 25 2006 #1 Shakira hit
29 Avail oneself of Vail? 32 Actor Morales 33 The Iams logo depicts one 34 Arranged artfully, as fabric 36 Janet of “Psycho” 38 “The ___ Squad” 40 Ill-tempered 41 Anise-flavored aperitif 43 Vim 45 Poker giveaway 46 Texting format, for short 47 Art technique that’s French for “fools the eye” 50 Some ways off 51 Gait slower than a gallop 52 Butler’s “Gladly” 56 ___-Japanese War 60 “Check it out … I’ll wait here” 61 Film with a famous chariot race
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE J O N A R E A C S U I T F R I I R A C I O R B O N E A F O R W S L I C H I N D U N A R C E W O K D E M S
S S H E E N E N D T I S S M H O M L A R D K E E E N S T R A I L O S T
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62 Squirrel’s favorite tree, maybe 63 Gal pal of Dennis the Menace 64 Score early in the game, often 65 Car rental add-on 66 Creatures in Tolkien’s Fangorn Forest 67 Hit song by the 1-Across winner whose name is spelled out by the final three letters of 21-, 25-, 47- and 52-Across DOWN 1 Take hold of 2 Merit 3 “On the internet, nobody knows you’re ___” (classic New Yorker cartoon caption) 4– 5 Bellyached 6 Designer letters 7 Test that’s all talk 8 Feature of a Manx cat 9 Relative of a cricket 10 Leaders of Canadian provinces 11 Hoda of morning TV 12 Voting nay 13 Easily influenced person 19 Rolled-up grass 21 Old airline with a globe in its logo 23 11 U.S. presidents of the 20th century belonged to it
Edited by Will Shortz 1
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PUZZLE BY FRANCIS HEANEY
25 Pitches in 26 “___ to remember …” 27 What socks come in 28 Early afternoon hour 29 Binge 30 Actress O’Hara with a Tony for “The King and I” 31 Peaceful pastoral scene 35 Artificial, as some modern pop vocals
37 Chocolaty sundae topping
53 Soft ___ (flattery)
39 Swimming pool measurement
55 Word after high, heavy or seven
44 Part of m.p.h.
48 Get situated
57 Thick hairstyle
49 Ochoa in the World Golf Hall of Fame
58 “Star Trek” role for Takei
50 ___ Center (Chicago skyscraper)
59 Airport about 28 miles from Disneyland Paris
61 Short hairstyle
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Edited by Will Shortz
Note: This puzzle has 16 solutions.
with his 3.5-sack performance in Week 2 against Boston College turning heads nationwide. At his current pace, Dimukeje has a legitimate chance to break the school record over the Blue Devils’ next few games. With a historical achievement potentially in his future, one would think that Dimukeje is locked in on that specific accomplishment, but that is just not part of his humble nature. While he acknowledges the significance of what it would mean to have climbed the mountaintop, Dimukeje is primarily concerned with helping Duke turn its season around. “Being part of history at Duke would be something special to me. That would mean I left my mark at this school and I did what I could for this program,” Dimukeje said. “If I eventually get it, I’ll be happy, but I just want to win some games and just keep working as a team.” If he does break the record, Dimukeje will be ahead of many notable names in Duke football lore, from Bowser to Chris Combs to Super Bowl Champion Kenny Anunike. So while Dimukeje’s lunch pail mindset fails to exude any semblance of overconfidence, folks should be taking note of his production. Because when all’s said and done, we could be watching the most productive pass rusher in program history.
Met in East House: ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� mattyg
FROM PAGE 12
For Release Wednesday, April 1, 2020
28 Old phone features 1 British brew 30 “___ #1!” since 1777 31 Certain rough 5 Early challenge patches for Barack and Michelle Obama, 33 Opposite of masc. for short 35 Part of Indochina 36 Jargon 9 Streak 37 Palindromic term 12 Usefulness of address 13 Bill of Rights defender, in brief 39 Zenith 40 Bit of baby talk 14 Dracula 41 Locale of the accessory 2018, 2020 and 15 Big fly at the 2022 Olympics ballpark 42 “You win” 16 See 14-Down 43 Irk 18 Mantra chants 45 Listed 48 Camper driver 19 Underground workers 50 Joan ___, player of Pat Nixon in 21 “What’s the ___?” 1995’s “Nixon” 22 “I, Claudius” role 51 Sleeper hits, perhaps 23 Layers of stone 24 One of the Twelve 53 A pair Apostles 55 See 42-Down
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE G R A B
R A T E
A D O G
H E L P S
I S E E M
P A I R S
M I N U S S I G N
M O A N E D
H O T A F A S Y O U G O A N D O A K G G P S E
Y S L G O P D R A W S I N
O R A P L A N T A W M O P O M R I S E E N A T S
N O T A I L
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K O S T O B D S A P U R T E O E T U S N H E A D G
A N T I
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I D Y L L
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57 Hall-of-Fame hitter Rod 59 Tablet one might take before going to bed? 60 Fearsome part of a Jabberwock 61 Sets straight 62 Crucial 63 A dreadful state, with “the” 64 Leo or Libra DOWN 1 Sounds that can startle 2 Company division 3 Fruit part that’s thrown away 4 The Kaaba in Mecca, e.g. 5 “Ciao!” 6 Quantum mechanics thought experiment in which contradictory states exist simultaneously 7 Bar orders 8 Popcorn container 9 Item in a beach bag 10 Ivy seen along the Schuylkill River 11 “Darn it!” 12 Pronoun that can ask a question 14 With 16-Across, travel internationally 17 Iridescent stones
PUZZLE BY ANDREW KINGSLEY AND JOHN LIEB
20 Recent recruits, so to speak
34 Buildup during vacation 37 Welcome site? 23 Like the boys in “Lord of the Flies” 38 Fannie ___ 40 Hollows 24 Hole puncher 42 With 55-Across, 25 “Swell!” breakup line 26 Sag 44 Puts up 27 Hi or lo follower 45 Surgery to improve how you 29 “Aladdin” parrot look? 32 Amazonas and 46 Go off, but not others without a hitch? 33 Go to extremes, 47 Big name in foodwise cosmetics
49 YouTube data 51 Java neighbor 52 Madras wrap 53 Many a middle schooler 54 Possible reactions to shocks 56 Angel dust 58 Oval thing in the Oval Office
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14 | MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
Big Education is watching you
he camera pans across a sterile gymnasium, where dozens of tables are arranged six-feet apart. Students, anxiously biting nails and tapping pencils, take their seats. Exams are passed out. Moments later, camera bots descend from the ceiling. Lenses hyper-focus on the test takers, capturing every blink, twitch, and cough. A deep voice reads out: “Big Education is watching you.”
Of course, descending robots and omnipresent narrators won’t be the scariest thing to appear at your next organic chemistry exam. Yet, this dystopian premise of hyper surveillance is not as far-off as it may seem. For thousands of students engaged in online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic: yes, big education is watching. When in-person testing became difficult due to the ongoing public health crisis, universities
Community Editorial Board COLUMN This scene, in all of its Orwellian glory, could be the opening sequence of a (bad) dystopian film. Intense, heart-thumping music would play as students raced to select A, B, C, or D. If students waved to each other, the anthropomorphic camera bots would assemble into an army and swallow them. Spooky!
and other educational organizations were left to determine how to hold examinations securely in a fully virtual or hybrid environment. Some professors mandated that students take exams on recorded Zoom calls. Others invested in specially-designed testing software. High-stakes exams, like the ACT,
hot take of the week
—Matthew Griffin, Editor-in-Chief, on October 18, 2020
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algorithms that decide whether or not their “suspicion” score is too high.” The “flagging” system adds an additional layer of stress to examinations that are already nerve-wracking for students. Additionally, the use of proctoring software requires a strong internet connection. If your computer is buckling under the demands of Zoom and Sakai, the bandwidth demands of virtual proctoring software may be too much for your computer or your network. And unlike in class, turning off your camera is simply not an option. In the instance of the California Bar Exam, one failed identity authentication step, even due to a weak connection, will kick you out of the exam. States across the country are using ExamSoft to proctor bar exams—the company offers “A.I.driven remote proctoring” that fundamentally depends on continuously recording the test taker, to offer a “complete and permanent record of all of the exam taker’s actions from the first moment of the exam through the very end.” The virtual proctoring system will automatically flag potential “abnormalities” in the recordings that test-takers upload. However, people of color have been unfairly penalized by flaws in the software’s facial recognition algorithm and have faced significant barriers to test-taking. Alivardi Khan’s face wasn’t detected by the software, citing “poor lighting concerns.” ExamSoft doesn’t seem to think there’s a fundamental flaw in the company’s software, instead suggesting that Khan should sit in front of a bright lamp. Kiana Caton, one of the participants in the remotely-proctored bar exam, decided to shine a bright light on her face throughout the twoday process, which caused headaches. These virtual proctors aren’t just a concern for this summer’s bar exams or standardized tests this fall. If we accept and normalize this level of mass biometric surveillance now, we can expect that this technology will remain even when it’s eventually possible for us to meet and take exams in person. At that point, we may even see additional mission creep, as software designed for standardized, proctored tests enters classrooms. A global pandemic is not an excuse to build systems of mass biometric surveillance. If you’re a professor thinking about using one of these virtual proctoring services, consider giving an open-note, open-book exam where you’re not concerned about cheating and are instead focused on students’ grasp of the material. sIf you’re an admissions officer for a graduate or professional school, recognize that standardized testing companies using these virtual proctoring services are coercing students into providing highly-identifiable data to a private company, even despite mounting cybersecurity and privacy risks. Help organize an in-person examination option for individuals who want to opt-out (the SAT has had a few of these), or make your offers of admission conditional on having students take a test when we can finally have in-person testing. Fundamentally, AI-enabled virtual proctoring requires students to trade away the security of their biometric data in exchange for furthering their education. Higher education needs to be focused on the true concerns of accessibility and continuity of education for students facing barriers in the remote learning environment. If we are, instead, focused on how many times someone blinks when solving an integral, we are no better than a bunch of bots. Big Ed, please stop watching us.
“If you write me a persuasive enough one-pager, I’ll cancel the Opinion section.”
Jessica Edelson and Niharika Vattikonda are Trinity juniors. Their column, “on tech,” runs on alternate Thursdays. Want us to break down a technology topic you’re interested in? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020 | 15
Give us a break
his time last year, Duke students could be found sprinkled across the globe for fall break, enjoying dinners with family, or simply unwinding from a hectic semester. This year, the reality on campus is much different: Students in
organizations like Neurocare. Regardless, the Chronicle Editorial Board believes that Duke still needs to address and publicize more solutions to the unique mental health needs that the student body faces this semester. Although obviously necessary, the
Community Editorial Board COLUMN face masks and jackets hide away in the libraries (until 11pm) and dorms, stressing about their 3-hour lecture videos and debating whether to report symptoms from their Zoom-induced headaches. Unlike previous years when students were greeted with a relaxing hiatus from school work and stress upon completion of their midterms, on May 29th, the Duke administration announced the decision to proceed with the fall semester without any form of break or holiday weekend. The implications of this decision have become all the more apparent over the last two grueling months of hybrid and online classes. Without the typical milestones of parent’s weekend and fall break, many students feel trapped like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” replaying the same daily routine for months on end. The lack of fall break does not constitute the primary stressor on campus; rather, it has exacerbated pre-existing student stress from coronavirus-induced adjustments to Duke academic and campus life. The fact that underclassmen have remained on campus is no small feat, and Duke has hosted webinars and other events to promote student mental health through
strict social distancing guidelines deprive students, particularly the first-years, of the opportunity to form meaningful emotional connections with their peers. In year’s past, the grind of a tough course load or the stress of taking on too many extracurricular activities was mitigated by the intense friendship people formed in the midst of the stress. That is severely absent from the Class of 2024. This, compounded with the majority of classes and club meetings being held online, pushes students to cope with their stress in isolation. The impact of online classes on students’ mental health is well-documented, but Duke’s response to the effect of the virtual semester on student well-being has been rather lackluster. While the Duke administration has promoted resources that discuss mental health, they haven’t taken concrete steps to address the root causes of these stressors. The most obvious effect of the switch to digital modes of communication is “Zoom fatigue,” which encapsulates the consequences of spending hours engaged in online discussions and lectures. Psychologists attribute this fatigue to the lack of nonverbal cues on Zoom calls that we typically rely on
during face to face interactions. Physically, students also experience screen headaches from spending hours on online classes and even more studying. Furthermore, the sheer number of platforms that different professors use for communication becomes overwhelming; Zoom links and pertinent information often get lost in an online abyss of DUU emails and Sakai notifications. As clubs have also moved operations online, students find little respite from the screen. Once a place to meet like-minded peers, club meetings are now another extension of the tiresome school day. And, despite the misconception that online classes have created more free time for students, many Duke students feel particularly inundated in class work and extracurricular activities this year. Further worsening the mental toll of this semester, dorm rooms have also taken on the exhausting function of classrooms, study spaces, club meeting rooms, dining rooms, hang-out rooms and most importantly bedrooms. Thus, it is difficult for students to maintain a separation between work and relaxation. The mental association of work and sleep spaces can have detrimental impacts on sleep, and this lack of separation is also shown to impact productivity and motivation. By locking buildings and keeping the library closed during weekends and after 11 p.m., Duke has created an environment where students lack appropriate spaces to complete their augmented workload. Duke must recognize that our physical health is equally as important as our mental health. The administration must take a proactive approach to combat the social and emotional
consequences of online learning and social distancing policies. Although breaks do constitute necessary periods of growth and relaxation, we recognize that it may not be feasible to add mental health days to the academic calendar this semester. Nevertheless, it is essential that the administration considers following the lead of other universities in incorporating mental health days into the spring semester schedule. In the meantime, we propose the following recommendations: Create more socially distanced places on campus where students can lounge, study and log into class. As the weather gets colder, increased access to indoor study spaces is particularly essential. Recognize that students face numerous challenges this semester–the transition to online classes for freshmen, navigating clubs online, potential moving in and out of quarantine spaces, etc. – and do more to address their strains on mental health. Create pandemic-appropriate academic policies—such as assignment-blackout days—by working closely with student representatives. Create more in-person socially distanced opportunities for students to leave their rooms and engage with the Duke community. We Duke students are resilient, passionate about learning, and invested in the Duke community. However, we need the Duke administration to take an active role in supporting student mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. The Community Editorial Board is independent from the editorial staff of the Chronicle. Their column runs on alternate Mondays.
Missing nightlife and reimagining socializing
lot of Duke students are not happy right now. Maybe it would seem like we were, if you scrolled through curated social media feeds and strolled past the BC plaza on a sunny day.
or an intramural match of volleyball. This ease of frequent, already planned social interactions is a distant memory. As I have recently learned in my psychology class, frequent positive interactions with
Nathan Heffernan COLUMN But from the anecdotal—yet strong— evidence I have received from private stories, personal conversations and the first minute of several break-out rooms—many Duke students are unprecedentedly sad. I’m not sure what exactly is causing this toll on student’s mental health: it could be the global pandemic, the incompentent and cruel administration running our country, the normalization of a surveillance state on campus, the relentless weeks of non-stop schoolwork or the cancellation of every activity that brought us joy. What I do know, or feel, is that many of us are not necessarily in a good place. Overall, every student I have interacted with is feeling stressed. It took me a while to realize that I am feeling more stressed than in a typical semester, since a culture of constant activity is to be expected on campus. I continue to have the premed course load, research projects and extracurricular responsibilities that I am accustomed to. The only difference now is that I no longer have an abundance of social outlets. After an exhausting day, there’s no WU or a common room to relax and chat with friends about my tiring day. A typical weekday evening would even include working out at Wilson, attending an engaging lecture with free refreshments
other people are needed for an individual to feel fulfilled. A key component of this fulfilment and sense of belonging is that these interactions are stable and have an element of predictability. This semester, few things have a sense of stability. It’s almost impossible to imagine a form of socializing that is truly “stress-free.” Planning out a dinner with a friend now involves multiple google searches, monitoring the weather and doing some light background research on their daily social habits. While this situation has brought out creativity and ingenuity in how we socialize, it has taken the ease out of it, making it less of the relief we rely on as college students. Losing our perfect college experience does not seem as tragic when compared to the massive impacts of COVID in the country, falling upon the most marginalized and vulnerable. Every time I catch myself daydreaming about LDOC or the O-week BBQ, I remember what others are losing. What follows is a sense of guilt at my desires for socializing, and for a “return to normal.” The end of the pandemic that we envisioned last Spring, with everyone stepping out of their houses into the sunshine, is a reality we cannot even picture anymore. Hundreds of thousands of lives are lost, jobs have been torn away and people continue to suffer—how can we possibly be happy?
The balance between mental health and social consciousness is not a new one, as the internet brings hoards of valuable yet stressinducing information. It’s tempting to pretend like the bad things in the world are far away and entirely removed from my life (for many, confronting these issues is not a choice). During COVID, most aspects of my regular personal life require me to be constantly aware and mindful of the global pandemic, and the tragedy occurring across our globe. There is no break from being socially aware, as the presence of others has never felt more salient. Maybe, in some ways, this is a good thing. With the removal of social interactions, I have the opportunity to spend plenty of time reflecting on why I enjoyed nightlife so much. For me, going out was often a rejuvenating feeling, as I got to spend time with friends I cared about, and feel connected with a broader community as I met strangers. My initial experiences with the queer community all took place in clubs or bars, sites of discretion and freedom (there’s a reason we don’t have any outdoor gay breweries). Going out is a special form of therapy for myself that I miss dearly—even if it seems superfluous in the grand scheme. However, nightlife does not always manifest itself as healthy, positive social interactions. Going out for many, especially college students, can be a negative social pressure and an unsafe environment for people of marginalized genders. As we reflect more critically on socializing, we can question what elements of socializing we want to bring back, when it comes back. How can we create social environments that are conducive to positive interactions for as many people as possible? Virtual existence has gotten rid of exclusivity for many groups or programs I am a part of, as Zoom meetings are easily shared and have
no need for a waitlist. We can embrace the attitude of “the more the merrier” in other aspects of our life, when socializing becomes safe again. The discussion of revamped social life at Duke is just starting, as calls to Abolish IFC and Panhel gain traction, selective living groups lose housing, and Spring recruitment grinds to a halt. More than ever, we have begun to value the spontaneity of meeting new people, and stepping outside our closest circles—now that we are not able to. As countless Duke students have called for, a move to a residential college system could create a vibrant social life that is readily available to all students. Postpandemic Duke is a fresh opportunity to start from scratch and let go of the social structures that rely on gender, class and exclusivity. I have never felt more ready to meet new people, and I hope this attitude is shared by other students. The pandemic has hopefully made students more conscious of how our personal lives fit into larger society, and our local community. While we once enjoyed galavanting around campus and Durham late at night freely, we are now confined to our close circles and must take notice and action of our impact to others. Even beyond the social distancing era, we have room for improvement in the disruption and harm we can cause to our community. The nightlife we construct after this pandemic can be different, more inclusive and appreciative of the happiness that socializing brings. It’s not just a silver lining, but a necessity in creating communal happiness. Nathan Heffernan is a Trinity senior. His column runs on alternate Thursdays.
16 | MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020