Duke students protest treatment of parking attendant
Posted March 8, 2016
Durham, N.C. — Several student groups organized a protest on the Duke University campus Tuesday evening after allegations against one of Duke’s top administrators surfaced late last month.
About 30 people gathered on the main quad in front of the Duke Chapel, raising concerns and complaints about the university’s parking and transportation department.
The main focus of the protest was a 2014 incident in which Sylvia Underwood, a parking attendant at the university, said the university’s executive vice president Tallman Trask hit her with his car and called her a racial slur while she was directing traffic during a game.
Trask said that Underwood wasn’t letting him park in his usual spot, resulting in a misunderstanding. He said that once the issue was cleared up, Underwood stepped in front of his car, causing him to hit her. He denies ever using a racial slur.
Protestors were calling for Trask’s resignation and demanding that he pay financial reparations to Underwood.
"Right now we’re in that period of frustration and really angry and I think that has been the sense in the past week or so, but I think now it’s also time to kind of move forward and think about what’s the next step,” said student Felicia Arriaga
Students who gathered Tuesday evening also raised concerns about worker abuse within the parking and transportation department.
Duke University declined to provide a response to the protest.