Duke students protest treatment of parking attendant

Posted March 8, 2016

— 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.


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  • Edward Anderson Mar 9, 2016
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    Ooh! If you protest it, I'll be there with you!!!! :-) I'm sure there must be At Least 100 of us who would protest!

  • Jon Gregory Mar 9, 2016
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    30 people isn't a protest.. it's a family reunion.

  • Kristin Byrne Mar 9, 2016
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    While it may have happened 2 years ago, the articles in the Duke Chronicle just came out last week, and it was the first most people heard about it. That's what has people up in arms right now.

  • Shandy Scott Mar 9, 2016
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    Wow slow news day for WRAL covering a story with 30 protesters. If I get 31 friends to protest the toll road will they cover it?

  • Chance Loria Mar 8, 2016
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    Really? The incident happened 2 YEARS AGO! Is there nothing more relevant going on at Duke these days?