‘Racially charged’ incidents reported overnight on Duke’s campus

Durham County News

Police are investigating after two “racially charged” incidents were reported on Duke’s east campus overnight Thursday, Duke officials confirmed.

A pumpkin with a swastika carved into it was found near the Gilbert-Addoms dorm. Sheets of paper with “It’s okay to be white” written on them were also found near Baldwin Auditorim and Wilson dorm, officials said. 

“Carving a swastika into a pumpkin? That’s terrible,” Duke student Sarah Nolan said. 

Nolan has spent seven years studying at Duke, pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.  

She and others are shocked to hear about the incidents happening on campus. 

“I feel concerned for my students, for my colleagues, everyone who might’ve been made to feel uncomfortable by these incidents,” she said. 

Pictures sent in by a CBS 17 viewer showed similar fliers posted at North Carolina State’s campus. 

“Whoever did this, and continues to do these types of actions, is a coward,” Dr. Anna Burns said. 

Burns, who works at Duke, has never heard anything like this happening on campus. 

“On behalf of all of the people — the white people, the black people, whoever — who feel like this kind of hateful talk and action should’ve ended a long time ago, I’m just so sorry that there are still people who feel persecuted in this world,” she said. 

Duke student Ben Ren said the focus should be on being an inclusive community. 

“I think those people who are doing this should spend less time doing this,” he said. “They should listen more to people’s thoughts to see how actually others are thinking.” 

He and other students hope to never hear about this happening on campus again. 

Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s Vice president for Public Affairs and Government Relations released a statement to CBS 17 about the incidents:  

We denounce these actions for what they are: cowardly acts of vandalism that are intended to intimidate, but instead remind us that we are, and will continue to be, a strong inclusive community that stands up to hate and bigotry.

Anyone with information related to these incidents is asked to call Duke University Police at (919) 684-2444. 

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