Duke announces new task force to examine bias, hate on campus
Posted November 13, 2015
Durham, N.C. — Duke University announced Friday that it is creating a new task force to examine allegations of bias and hate on campus and a website to monitor the university’s response to hateful acts.
The announcement came as Duke President Richard Brodhead spoke with students in Page Auditorium about recent events, including the racial issues at the University of Missouri, which sparked protests and the resignation of two top administrators.
During the conversation, students shared their experiences on campus and expressed their frustrations with what they call inaction by Duke administrators. Some students cried as they described their experiences on campus as minorities.
“To be frank, I don’t have faith in you all. I don’t. I’ve lost it,” one student said.
“I do not feel safe as a black female at Duke. What are you going to do about it?” another student asked.
Administrators who led the conversation said they are committed to change, but many students said they’re doubtful. Senior Adesuwa Giwa-osagie was one of the students who shared her doubts about school leaders’ ability to respond to racist and homophobic issues on campus.
“All we’ve had is conversations, so I came here to question the administration about the inaction that they’re taking and the fact that they’re not proactive,” Giwa-osagie said.
Many students pointed to an incident last April, saying they were disappointed that a student who hung a noose on campus was allowed to return. The student issued an apology, saying the noose was hung as a prank to entice friends to “hang out” and that it was not meant as a racist symbol.
Brodhead defended the decision to allow the student to return.
“You don’t want this university to punish you on the basis of the passions of the community. You want people to look at the facts and make a judgment that they think is just,” he said.
Giwa-osagie says she wishes these types of discussions would have happened earlier and says Missouri “has changed things for campuses across the country.”
Before the conversation started, signs of tension on campus were clear. The message “Black Lives Matter” was left overnight on a statue, and a group of students protested in the auditorium ahead of Friday’s talk.