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Duke President Pledges To Improve Treatment Of Minority Students

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DURHAM, N.C. — In a five-page letter, Duke President Nan Keohane vows to make theuniversity a more inclusive campus after some African-Americanstudents complained about the lack of minorityfaculty and administrators at Duke.

Last month, an advertisement in the Duke Chronicle initially prompted concerns about the racial climate oncampus. Conservative writer DavidHorowitz outlined why he believes reparations forslavery are a badidea. The ad prompted numerous protests and a list of demands for change.

"As difficult as this period was to go through, it's really been a goodlearning experience for a lot of people," says John Burness,vice-president of public relations at Duke.

The university is setting up a task force to address studentconcerns. One complaint is the low number ofblack professors.

"I'm pre-med myself and I haven't taken ascience or math class yet with a black professor. That's a problem," saysstudent Keela Ramsey. "I've never seen one inthe chemistry building, I've never seen a blackperson in the math building."

Many of the complaints are nothingnew. In fact, some date back to demonstrationsfrom the 1960s. Students say this time they wantconcrete results.

"I hope that this isn't just rhetoric and not something that willappease students for the time being," says student Carl James. "Ihope students who are really concerned about these issues willcontinue to follow up and make sure that the university is reallyaddressing them."

Beyond the issue of hiring more minorityfaculty andadministrators, Keohane promises studentsthe university will act on its previouscommitments to establish a well-supported Africanand African-American Studies program.

The university will also come up with a plan toincrease funding for minority events andorganizations.


Christine Rogers, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer

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