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Duke Chapel windows vandalized

Three stained glass windows at Duke Chapel were broken Wednesday night during Duke's Last Day of Classes celebration.

The vandalism occurred during the university-sanctioned party celebrating the end of the semester. It included a series of activities all day long, including a performance by the rapper Ludacris.

Students prepped early for a long day of fun, setting up lawn chairs and sipping beer on the quad by early afternoon. (The university allowed each person of drinking age to possess a six-pack of beer, but no wine or hard alcohol)

Duke officials don't yet know who broke the Chapel windows, nor the motivation, according to an email from Sam Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel.

"The Chapel is a symbol of the university as a whole, but also a building with religious and specifically Christian resonances," Wells wrote. "We can't know whether the action was simply reckless, or had more sinister intent; whether the target of this gesture was the university as a whole, Christianity in particular, or simply a beautiful and relatively unprotected building."

An investigation is ongoing.

Grant Hill talks about Duke track coach on "Good Morning America"

This morning, Phoenix Suns guard and former Duke University star Grant Hill was on "Good Morning America" talking about "Starting at the Finish Line," a documentary about the life of iconic Duke track coach/professor Al Buehler.

Hill is the exccutive producer and narrates the film and Duke students helped in its production.

There's no word on where you can see the film; it's making the festival rounds right now

Take a look at the interview:

Duke student discovers rare Haiti document - twice

If you're keeping score, it's now Julia Gaffield 2, all other Haiti historians 0.

A year ago, the Duke graduate student made international news in scholarly circles upon discovering the first known copy of Haiti's Declaration of Independence. She did so while combing through the British National Archives.It was a big deal, particularly on the heels of the earthquake that did such damage and brought so much attention to the Caribbean nation.

Well. Now Gaffield's just showing off. Last month, she did it again, plucking another printed copy of the document from the same archives.

(Duke University photo)

This one's different. It is one page and as large as a poster, unlike the first, which was an eight-page pamphlet. And it likely served a different purpose.

As Duke News writer Camille Jackson notes here, it was common when Haiti declared its independence from France in 1804 to post poster-sized proclamations in public areas. The eight-page pamphlet version of the declaration Gaffield discovered last year, in contrast, was probably produced for a more formal audience such as the British government.

Gaffield's still doing work in Europe right now but answered some questions via email. I asked her if she's now feeling like an expert in the unearthing of these sorts of documents.

"An expert? No," she wrote. "I think the fun part about studying history is that you constantly find new things and new sources surprise you and make you rethink assumptions that you had made."

Gaffield's first discovery brought with it a great deal of media attention for Gaffield, a doctoral student in history.

"It was incredible to see the power of history in contemporary society," she wrote. "This discovery provided an opportunity for diverse people to learn about and connect with a really exciting moment in the history of the Americas. I really enjoyed and benefited from the opportunity to speak to public audiences about my research and it was cool to see how people engaged with this history."

Duke prof gets PBS Frontline gig

A Duke professor of journalism and public policy has been named managing editor of Frontline, the PBS investigative documentary series.

Philip Bennett will continue teaching at Duke when he joins Frontline in May.

Formerly the managing editor of the Washington Post, Bennett has taught at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy since 2009.

He is taking a newly created post with the Frontline series and will help plan the show's documentaries and help shape its long-term vision.

Duke/UNC int'l studies conference set

The Duke-UNC Rotary Center for international studies in peace and conflict resolution will hold its 8th annual spring conference Saturday, April 9th at 9 a.m. at the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Nine graduating Rotary Peace Fellows will present their research on a range of issues related to sustainable peace.

 The Duke-UNC center is the only joint center of five total, with the others located in Argentina, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The fellows  are international, mid-career graduate students funded by Rotary International’s World Peace Fellowship.  This program provides a comprehensive scholarship designed to support a Rotary Peace Fellow in a master’s degree program at one of the five Rotary Centers for International Studies. 
The Duke-UNC Rotary Center is the only joint center of the five (others are located in the UK, Argentina, Japan and Australia).  Worldwide, just 50 Rotary Fellows are chosen annually, and the Duke-UNC venture currently hosts 18 fellows from 14 countries.

Topics to be discussed on April 9 include: challenges related to refugees from Myanmar; the role of the media in post-conflict Nepal; strategies for the World Food Program in responding to the global food crisis; and political power and the Inter-American Court of human rights.
The event is free and open to the public.

Duke professor gets brainy on 'Daily Show'

Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis was a guest last night on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,' discussing his new book 'Beyond Boundaries." Nicolelis' amazing work will soon help paralyzed people walk again with the help of a full-body robotic vest that moves according to brain commands. Watch the interview below.

Did Duke win?

Man, people love it when Duke loses.

Not me, of course. Just, you know, people.

Here's how I know. Ever see a website called

Check it out.

Manhattan imam coming to UNC, Duke this week

This promises to be an interesting week at UNC and Duke.

No, I'm not talking hoops. I'm talking about speaking appearances at both universities by the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Muslim leader of an effort to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site in New York City. The project has been referred to as the Ground Zero Mosque.

The imam will speak Wednesday evening at UNC's Hill Hall. A Christian group will protest the imam's appearance by attempt to counter-program some attention away by showing a movie about families affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Abdul Rauf's stop at UNC is part of a speaking tour, and he's being paid $20,000 plus travel expenses from a private fund. Not taxpayer dollars, to be clear.

Abdul Rauf also speaks Thursday at noon at Duke Chapel on the Duke University campus.

Controversial Imam adds Duke to his speaking schedule for next week

The New York City imam behind the controversial Islamic center near Ground Zero will speak at Duke next week.

Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf is already scheduled to appear Wednesday at UNC-Chapel Hill, an event that has people talking. Now, Duke has lined him up as well. He'll speak at noon Thursday at Duke Chapel.

It's free and open to the public.

At Duke, Abdul-Rauf will appear with Sam Wells, dean of Duke Chapel, and will take questions from Duke's Muslim chaplain, Abdullah Antepli, and Christy Lohr Sapp, associate dean for religious life.

Abdul-Rauf is a naturalized U.S. citizen and Kuwaiti-born imam. He founded and heads the Cordoba Movement, which seeks to improve understanding among people of all cultures and faiths.

He's been targeted by conservatives suspicious of Park51, the cultural center proposed near the cite of the World Trade Center tragedy.

In Washington, U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, is turning the spotlight of inquiry to the Islamic faith this week. He is convening a Capital Hill hearing Thursday on Muslim extremism.

In a news release, a Duke professor cautioned today that the hearing should be done with sensitivity.

“Hearings ought to focus on the difficult task of how to identify individuals who are vulnerable to radicalization and prevent them from engaging in violence," said David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke and UNC and a associate professor of the practice at Duke's  Sanford School of Public Policy. “Unfortunately, plans for the hearings appear to be taking an accusatory tone, with U.S. Rep. Peter King charging that Muslim-Americans do not cooperate sufficiently with law enforcement. Even if there have been instances of non-cooperation, which is not surprising in a diverse community of approximately 3 million people, it is unclear how highlighting this will help prevent radicalization in the future."

Salman Rushdie to speak at Duke

Author Salman Rushdie, whose "Satanic Verses" book prompted death threats decades ago, will speak next month at Duke University.

Rushdie's public lecture will be Tuesday, April 12 at 6 p.m. in Duke University's Page Auditorium. A brief question-and-answer period will follow.

(Associated Press photo)

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets can be picked up on a first-come, first-served basis at the University Box Office in the Bryan Center starting March 15 for Duke students, faculty and staff, and March 16 for the general public. Tickets are limited to two per person.

Rushdie is the author of 10 novels, including “Midnight’s Children,” winner of the Booker Prize in 1981, “The Satanic Verses” and most recently “Luka and the Fire of Life.” A fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie has received, among other awards, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, and author of the year prizes in both Britain and Germany.

He is perhaps best known for the 1989 publication of "The Satanic Versus," which enraged Muslims who believed it mocked their faith and led Iran's Ayatollah Khomenei to issue a fatwa urging his assassination. 

He went into hiding for nine years and still receives the occasional death threat, he told a British newspaper last year.

These days, Rushdie holds the rank of commander in the Order of Arts and Letters -- France’s highest artistic honor. Between 2004 and 2006, he served as president of PEN American Center, and continues to work as president of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped to create.

“Salman Rushdie is without question one of the greatest writers of the 20th and 21st centuries,” said Ian Baucom, director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, an event co-sponsor. “I'm delighted we have the opportunity to host him and hear this lecture. It promises to be a remarkable event.”

Paid parking for the lecture will be available in the Bryan Center garage.

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