What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?
The most common stereotype of the students at Duke University comes from the media coverage of on campus “scandals.” Duke University has a consistent place in the media due to its excellent athletic and research programs. The successes of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, led by the infamous Coach K, are highlighted constantly thus keeping the university in the public eye. However this attention also facilitates a greater exposure of on campus issues and discussions. When incidents such as the Karen Owens PowerPoint or the fraternity party emails occur, the media immediately launches this image of the Duke University student as an elitist sexist frat “bro”. I also refer to this as the media’s Tucker Max syndrome: every Duke male is made synonymous with Tucker Max and his appalling antics, and every female one of his victims. However, this stereotype of Duke is a gross over exaggeration. Yes, this campus, like most other campuses around the United States, has its fair share of controversial incidents. And yes, there are certain people who do think and behave like the media portrays. This is to be expected with the large diversity of students that attend Duke University. But what the media doesn’t confess is that the main reason they know about our campus issues is because Duke University’s OWN students are the ones who bring them to public attention. The student body is smart and active and recognizes when these singular behaviors and actions reflect larger social issues. They call for on campus discussions with students, faculty, and administrators in order to bring to light the underlying reasons behind these incidents. So I would say that the stereotype is extremely false. Duke students demonstrate time and time again their appreciation for genuine discussion, activism, understanding, and progress.