11/29/09 Duke Conversations budget slashed; were students consulted?

Fact Checker here.

So funds for Duke Conversations were slashed 33 percent. Did any student participate in that decision?

Or shall Fact Checker add it to the list, like the International House and Center for Multicultural Affairs merger, the curtailing of weekend housekeeping in the dorms, the closing of the pharmacy in student health, and the level of police patrols while Durham hoodlums have target practice with Duke students.

Consequences of the 33 percent budget cut: half the number of Conversations this year versus last. Half. And no more Washington Duke Inn, although you can bet your Duke blue bloomers that our Trustees will feast there during their meeting later this week.

And the Chronicle archives reveal some real abuses of this program, so I am glad it's been cleaned up. See story of April 21, 2008:

Money from Duke Conversations "was used last year to bring former fraternity member Eric Weinberg, Trinity '06, to speak about continuing brotherhood in Sigma Nu fraternity after graduation."

And "senior Ankit Shrivastava was denied funding to bring Maneesh Goyal, Trinity '97, a former pre-medical student who is now a professional celebrity party planner."

"...Theoharris Christou, who spoke about "the art of curly hair;" Heather Heath, a former member of Alpha Phi Omega who discussed the future of the service fraternity; and Jim Fleming, Wake Technical Community College student body president, who spoke about campus activism."

And how about the comments from this buffoon: "I don't think that the purpose of Duke Conversations is to bring high-profile people," said sophomore Prashant Swaminathan, who hosted Inside Joke alumnus Dave Schmidt, Trinity '07, to speak on the weekend of the sketch comedy group's "College Musical."

"[Duke University Union's] Major Speakers [committee] brought in Tucker Max, which is questionable. It's not necessarily the most important people that have the most important things to say."

Duke Conversations paid for Schmidt to fly in from Germany to discuss his experiences studying English on the Schondorf-Duke Exchange Fellowship.

√Thanks for reading Fact Checker.

(( The people who sponsored Tucker Max have contacted Fact Checker about some details of his appearance. It probably is not a good idea to mention Tucker in the same breathe as Duke Conversations, since he was part of it. Anyone citing Fact Checker is notified to check out Tucker Max's appearance before quoting me ))

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