Duke students continue to occupy administration building in protest

Posted April 3, 2016

Duke students protesting the treatment of a parking attendant by a campus executive took their argument to his office Friday afternoon.

— Since Friday afternoon, members of the Duke students and workers solidarity campaign have occupied the Allen Building, home of Duke's central administration offices, until the university’s executive vice president Tallman Trask resigns.

The students are protesting the treatment of Syliva Underwood, a parking attendant by Trask.

It is not the first time students have raised concerns about an altercation between Trask and Underwood. Students claim Trask hit Underwood with his car and called her a racial slur while she was directing traffic during a game in 2014.

Trask has said that Underwood refused to let him park in his usual spot and stepped in front of his car. He denies calling her a name and dismisses the entire thing as a misunderstanding.

Protestors have called for Trask’s resignation and demanded that he pay financial reparations to Underwood.

Sue Wasiolek, associate vice president for Student Affairs & Dean of Students (known to students as "Dean Sue"), sat down with the protestors Friday in an Allen Building anteroom and warned them that if they left the building they would not be allowed back in.

Wasiolek met with students again on Saturday and informed them that the university would not comply with their demands. She told the students they would need to leave Sunday or face arrest, expulsion, suspension and/or disciplinary probation.


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