The biweekly newsletter from SA + OUE
The biweekly newsletter from SA + OUE

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Duke Student Affairs

March 24, 2021

To start: thank you. The student community came together in remarkable fashion last week. Your shared efforts led to an impressive collective feat, as seen by last week’s significant reduction in undergraduate COVID cases. We were able to lift most elements of the stay-in-place, and we are cautiously optimistic that undergraduates will be able to finish out the semester in person and get to the seniors' graduation. Thanks for continuing to do your part.
We also recognize that events in the world and here on campus are impacting many of you in many visible and invisible ways, including the anti-Asian hate evident in the massacre in Atlanta last week, the shootings Monday in Boulder, and the incident on East Campus, which is currently under investigation. Many students are also weary from battling last week’s loneliness and the constant demands of this year. Our messages often talk about resources; we do this to continuously reinforce the notion that accessing support and reaching out for help are important and valued aspects of our culture here at Duke.

The Blue Devil community is more resilient when we reflect on our shared purpose. That includes discovering and advancing effective ways to fight hate and senseless violence, making durable progress undoing systemic oppression, and sponsoring the scientific, research and public health efforts that will eventually overcome the most significant health emergency of any of our lifetimes. These massive challenges are bigger than any one of us, to be sure, and we are not hiding in that fact. This community is stronger when we find ways to engage and truly support one another. Our personal ability to connect face-to-face with you all has been limited this year, much to our regret, and we spend most every weekday and weekend right now getting the campus through the pandemic. But please know we support all the ways you as students choose to lead, stay involved, call upon us for action, or just make it through a tough week right now.  

We are eager to hear ideas about how to move forward, and in the meantime, we hope you can also recognize that Duke students don’t go it alone.The faculty and staff who have worked nonstop to support you this year care deeply about you and your growth, and we’re deeply grateful for their efforts, too.

Go Duke, 
Gary Bennett, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education   
Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost of Student Affairs  

COVID updates


Even if you've completed your dose(s) of the COVID vaccine, you are still expected to report to surveillance testing when called, and continue to wear your mask when around others. Once you're fully vaccinated, you may still catch and spread the virus, but you'll be protected from suffering severe symptoms (source: CDC). Read more answers to vaccine FAQs in the March 22 DukeToday article.

100% MYTH. A negative test is not an automatic release from quarantine or isolation. You must wait until you have been cleared by the medical team and the Isolation Care Team (ICT). Read more myths vs. facts on the Student Affairs Instagram, and if you receive an email from ICT, read the entire thing! TL;DR does not apply in this situation; it's all important!

ICYMI: Welcome, Dr. Shruti Desai!

We are incredibly excited to welcome our new Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Campus Life, Dr. Shruti Desai (sh-ruthie de-sigh), a leader in building vibrant and inclusive campus communities. When students had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Desai during her interview, they shared that they appreciated that she demonstrated a keen understanding of campus life issues, including the ongoing and urgent work of the identity and cultural centers in supporting underrepresented students and student groups. 
Dr. Desai is in her second week at Duke, and she, her spouse Evie, and their pets are already huge fans of Duke, Durham, and Monuts (of course).

Anti-Asian Violence

As President Price stated in his message to the Duke Community on March 5, we are outraged by the recent violence against Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders across the country. 
"Let us condemn together this violence and hatred in all its forms, and renew our commitments to work together toward justice and inclusion for our nation and the world." - President Price

Anti-Asian Violence: Historical Legacies webinar

Join Duke Asian American & Diaspora Studies; Office for Faculty Advancement; Office for Institutional Equity; Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation; and Office of the Provost on Wednesday for a panel in response to the startling increase in violence against people of Asian descent.
Wednesday, March 24, 5 p.m. Register in advance here.

Resources for students

Involvement Opportunity: Meet the Young Trustee Finalists

We encourage all undergraduate students to attend the virtual meeting (or watch the recording) and provide feedback on the Young Trustee finalists. Young Trustee is an important role and your participation in the selection process is very much valued and appreciated.
Thursday, March 25, 6 p.m. To register and for more information, visit

Business of Sports Conference

The inaugural Business of Sports conference will take place this Thursday, March 25. Organized by Duke Students, in partnership with the Career Center, Mary Lou WIlliams Center for Black Culture and many others, the conference aims to inspire students to pursue diverse opportunities in sports and explore the intersection between sports and other industries.
Learn more about the panelists on the DSBC Instagram page (including Duke's own Director of Men's Basketball Operations Nolan Smith), and register in advance.

Tip of the week: visit the Nasher!

The Nasher Museum welcomes Duke students to enjoy self-guided visits for viewing exhibitions and art on view every Thursday, no appointment needed! While drop-ins are limited to the first 40 people who arrive, you can also enjoy the outdoor exhibition, RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! while you wait.
Be sure to have your SymMon completed to display upon entry, keep your mask on, and practice social distancing.

Spotted: VPs... in the wild!

We walked around campus a little this week, hoping to speak with students about how you were feeling during the stay-in-place period. We look forward to being able to spend more time in person with you soon! Hang in there, Dukies.
Photo credit: Bill Snead