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Duke students end week-long sit-in

Posted April 8

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.
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— 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."


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  • Jacob Smirnov Apr 10, 10:34 a.m.
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    You are 100% correct. Liberal arts colleges today are not a place to learn, they are a place to be brain washed. They have no idea what real injustice looks like.

  • Paul Costa Apr 9, 8:37 p.m.
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    These students should be dismissed from the University. A bunch of spoiled brats whose daddies are paying for their tuition and they think they are victims. They should travel the world a bit and see what REAL victims are.

  • Craig Elliott Apr 9, 7:22 p.m.
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    My point was that the money has to come from somewhere and you can bet it's not going to come out of Mr. Brodhead's pocket.

    The minimum wage problem is a symptom of a larger problem: people have been driven into working for subsistence wages by the collapse of manufacturing in the United States, aided and abetted by politicians on both sides of the aisle, organized labor and Wall Street.

    As an aside, your insinuation that anyone subscribes to the existence of a higher power is a hypocrite is unbecoming of an enlightened individual such as yourself.

  • Jacob Smirnov Apr 9, 6:23 p.m.
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    "Many nations in Europe have it and they still seem to be not only much happier than we are ( the Happiness Index comes out each year, the USA never makes the top 20), "

    You would be happier in decaying Europe. You should go live there. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Jacob Smirnov Apr 9, 4:46 p.m.
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    Good point. Though, I expect their wealthy parents will be protesting next year and not the students.

  • Craig Elliott Apr 9, 4:40 p.m.
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    I'll be interested to see how they react when their tuition is increased to pay for the minimum wage hike. I expect they'll be protesting that next year.

  • Matt Nickeson Apr 9, 4:36 p.m.
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    That is a very impressive personal attack. You are obviously much more highly evolved and enlightened than I.

  • Matt Nickeson Apr 8, 8:18 p.m.
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    "...effort to negotiate the proposed demands"

    How do you negotiate a demand? Can demands be proposed? They sound very confused to me.

  • Matt Nickeson Apr 8, 8:15 p.m.
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    It is rather sad that you consider this brave. Bravery is exhibited when people put at stake their personal wellbeing for a cause they believe larger than themselves. A father killed throwing his child out of the way of a bus is brave. A mother foregoing cancer treatment to save her unborn child is brave. These infantilized quasi-adults put nothing on the line. They are not brave.

  • Shaun Lee Apr 8, 6:38 p.m.
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    I fully support these brave students.