A Black student at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, reported that while she was walking across campus during the early morning hours, she was subjected to the same racist song that appeared recently on a video of SAE fraternity members at the University of Oklahoma. (See JBHE item on the University of Oklahoma incident here.)
Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University, and Sally Kornbluth, provost at Duke, issued a joint statement that read in part:
“Inclusivity and mutual respect are core values for any civil society, but they have a special meaning in a university. Thinking in stereotypes is a failure of intelligence. A university is based on the premise that we are all here to learn from each other, which requires a broad measure of inclusion and openness to others’ experience and points of view. Every member of our community has the right to safety and respect. When any one of us is harmed through the actions of others, we are all harmed.”
Days later, a noose was found hanging from a tree on the Bryan Center Plaza on the Duke campus. A group called the Duke People of Color Caucus released a statement that read, “This campus is not a safe space, and has proven beyond any doubt that it is a hostile environment for any and all Black people.”
A protest march and a rally attended by more than 1,000 people were held on campus. The university announced that a Duke student admitted hanging the noose and has since left campus.