Duke students end week-long sit-in
Posted April 8, 2016
Durham, N.C. — Students who have been occupying a building on the Duke University campus since April 1 voluntarily ended their sit-in Friday afternoon.
Nine students had been camping outside Duke University President Richard Brodhead’s office in the Allen Building, which is the school’s main administrative building. The building has remained closed since the sit-in began, with limited access for faculty and staff.
The protesters, who call themselves Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity, demanded the firing of three administrators, including one accused of uttering a racial slur against a black parking attendant two years ago, as well as a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers.
“Though we have disagreed about the specifics of their demands and their choice of means, I respect their underlying passion for making Duke and the world a better place,” said Brodhead in a statement. “The university renews its commitments toward advancing the causes of fairness and inclusion across this community, including for workers. I now look forward to our coming together in this important cause.”
On Wednesday, Brodhead said Duke would take several steps to address student concerns, including engaging and independent expert to review employee complaint procedures, reviewing the guidelines for contractors and their employees, and beginning a process to raise Duke’s minimum wage of $12 an hour.
Student protesters had issued a statement saying the concessions didn’t "provide sufficient evidence of a concrete commitment by the university.”
Friday afternoon, the students stated they would continue fighting for their demands but would do so from outside the building.
"The students decided to leave the building because of the administration's continued obstinance in the face of the students' and workers efforts to negotiate the proposed demands," said a statement from student protesters. "The administration not only refused to come to the table and discuss demands, but also threatened to revoke the amnesty they had previously promised and, in fact, reported the students to the Office of Student Conduct."
Protesters noted that Duke University previously said they would not negotiate with students until they ceased occupying the building and stated "the ball is now in the administration's court."