NPR

Black Ministry Students At Duke Say They Face Unequal Treatment And Racism

The dean says pushing the school to be a more diverse and inclusive environment is a top priority.
African-American students say they matriculated to Duke Divinity School expecting to enhance their calling with top-notch theological training at a prestigious program. But instead they say they entered a racial nightmare. Source: Jackie O

African-American students say they matriculated to Duke Divinity School expecting to enhance their calling with top-notch theological training at a prestigious program. But instead they say they entered a racial nightmare seemingly from another era, with students being called the n-word and other slurs in class, consistently receiving lower grades than their white colleagues and being fed a curriculum with no inclusion of black religious traditions.

The racial animus and suspicions of unequal treatment have led to numerous protests on the Durham, NC campus over the past year and created a tense school environment, where students of color feel they are targeted by other students and faculty for speaking out, according to interviews with current and former students.

"One of my classmates was sitting in a class, and she texted me and asked me to come to her class because a student was in her class saying, 'N*ggers like you come here and think that you can just change everything. Why don't you just learn what Jesus is really about?'" said Amber Burgin, president of the Black Seminarians Union who is in her third year at Duke Divinity. "We are in classes trying to pull each other out of class to hear people making inappropriate slurs, like a white student calling someone a jigaboo and then claiming they didn't know what that means. Or a white classmate calling a black classmate 'ghetto.'...I've had classmates who have had to take leave; I've had classmates who have left the program because they were tired of being treated in such a way."

Burgin stressed that the intolerant atmosphere also targets Latino

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