A group of Duke University student activists stormed the stage in Page Auditorium during an alumni reunion event Saturday to protest institutional problems and state a list of the group’s demands.
Their coalition’s demands include implementing a $15 per hour pay for all Duke employees, hiring more diverse faculty members, renaming the Carr Building and making the Board of Trustees meetings more open and transparent.
These demands, along with others, are listed in the People’s State of the University, a document composed by the coalition that highlights multiple injustices occurring at Duke along with a course of action proposed by the group.
The coalition that created the People’s State of the University is comprised of student representatives from almost every major affinity organization on campus, organizer Trey Walk said.
The activists who overthrew the stage were met with a combination of support and hostility from the audience, mainly composed of graduates.
“As we were walking out it was extremely hard because you have one person who’s shouting at you at the top of their lungs, putting up their middle finger and is probably ready to spit on you, and other people are clapping and cheering you on as you're walking out of the auditorium,” Bryce Cracknell, another organizer, said. “It was an incredible mix of reactions.”
While the response from the graduates was mixed, the protesters received overwhelming support from their peers.
“Fellow students joined us in front of the Chapel,” Cracknell said. “Since then, our student government has reached out to us and has already started a resolution in support of our actions and the demands.”
Though the event sparked interest among Duke students and increased the size of the coalition, Duke’s administration has stayed quiet in terms of responding to the students’ demands.