According to The Kansas City Star, Duke University is one of a handful of universities that has partnered with the surveillance startup, SpotterEDU, founded by Rick Carter, a former basketball coach at DePaul University who had a protective order put against him by the athletics department. SpotterEDU tracks students' movements by connecting their smartphones to the campus WiFi.
Note: We did not receive survey responses from Duke, and the information here was obtained from The Chronicle, Duke's student newspaper.
On Tuesday, MGM Chief Administrative Officer Kris Matthews informed all department members that OIE and MGM were designing a training module aimed at “helping members of our department be fair and welcoming of individuals who differ in their background,” according to the email.
“Per School of Medicine guidelines, all faculty are required to attend a session,” the email read.
Within minutes, Bryan Cullen, James B. Duke distinguished professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, replied to everyone on the email chain.
“My initial reaction is I refuse to engage in left-wing Maoist political propaganda workshops and, as a tenured faculty, that is my choice,” Cullen wrote in an email reply obtained by The Chronicle.
Department members reacted to Cullen’s reply within the email chain and on social media.
"In the below figure, we see a textbook example of a tenured faculty member whose grasp on human decency is on par with his grasp on the reply-all function," wrote MGM doctoral candidate Jeffrey Letourneau in a reply-all email obtained by The Chronicle.
“It is unfortunate you will not be attending Bryan as you might learn that posting comics with transphobic undertones is typically inappropriate for a prestigious Duke tenured faculty member,” doctoral candidate Jonathan Ark wrote in an email reply obtained by The Chronicle.
When Cuban-American author Jennine Capó Crucet speaks to students of color at PWIs she reminds them: “This place never imagined you here, and your exclusion was a fundamental premise in its initial design.” The same holds true of Duke Student Government, an organization which will inevitably reflect the values of the university by working in conjunction to, instead of in opposition of, Duke administrative forces. Senate, committee meetings and social gatherings have added fuel to the hellfire that is the psychological trauma caused by my existence in an elite environment.
I am writing to resign from Duke Student Government because of recurrent microaggressions within the organization. Truth is, I’m tired of feeling like an on-hand diversity token and discrimination detector.
To be successful in DSG, a student must be comfortable networking with the predominately white and wealthy representative body and adhere to respectability politics during meetings (especially if said meeting is with an administrator). Normative notions of respectability encouraged by the executive team are tainted with the belief that behavior from dissenting minority and/or low-income students is inherently inferior. Upon my departure, there will be zero senators from underrepresented ethnoracial groups on the Academic Affairs committee. Seemingly, in DSG, intellectualism and changing the face of higher education are not considered acceptable pursuits for Black or LatinX students.