Black Students: Duke Study Shows Deeper Problems

Monday, January 23, 2012

An unpublished study by Duke University researchers that says black students are more likely to switch to less difficult majors has upset some students, who say the research is emblematic of more entrenched racial problems.

The study, which opponents of affirmative action are using in a case they want the U.S. Supreme Court to consider, concludes black students match the GPA of whites over time partially because they switch to majors that require less study time and have less stringent grading standards. Opponents of affirmative action cite the study in a case they want the U.S. Supreme Court to consider.

About three dozen students held a silent protest Sunday outside a speech by black political strategist Donna Brazile that was part of the school's annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance. Members of the Black Student Alliance have met with the provost to express their unhappiness with the study and other issues on the Durham, N.C., campus.

"I don't know what needs to happen to make Duke wake up," said Nana Asante, a senior psychology major and president of the Black Student Alliance.

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