Public Policy Magazine Articles

In 1967, protesters confront federal troops in Newark

July 22, 2020

Protests sparked by police actions. Anxiety over (invented) outside agitators. “Lawand- order” leaders drawn into competing crises. Media accounts—Newsweek, in one case—offering assessments that to be Black in America is to assume “that America is after all a racist society.”

A damaged and abandoned sailboat near Beaufort

July 22, 2020


Corbie Hill

Memorial Day 2020 and Carteret County was as mobbed by tourists as Liz DeMattia has ever seen it.

Professor Peter Ubel

February 26, 2020

Peter Ubel is the author of Sick to Debt: How Smarter Markets Lead to Better Care. He’s a professor of business, public policy, and medicine.

Is there a just-right model for health care somewhere?

August 12, 2019

It has been a great spring and summer in beautiful and historic Beaufort, North Carolina, my hometown. Hundreds of visitors daily have come to explore the glorious coastal ecosystem, just as they have every summer. Yet the normality is just surface. Beaufort is still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which struck the area just under a year ago. 

August 8, 2019

For as long as I can remember, I have existed within and been marked by sex classifications. By this I mean that I have been sorted into and out of categories, spaces, and opportunities on the basis of sex, including formally by governments and institutions, informally by people in my life and on the street, and naturally by the facts of my body and my own related choices. These classifications are sometimes a net good, sometimes a net harm, and often simply value-neutral.

August 8, 2019


Laura Knott

Eleven years after I graduated from Duke, I completed a degree at MIT, where focusing on the future is so normal that few people at the institute question it. I was steeped in techno-futurism, in the belief that it’s often best to leave the past behind. But I’m a gardener. I dig. And I think about how living soil is made, and how plants have evolved to sustain themselves—and how, for millennia, growing food has been a political act.

August 8, 2019

I am the little girl at the end of a dirt road seldom traveled on. The curious mind who watched her grandmother weave rugs for eight hours straight, never tiring. The young soul who never understood the land she walked on was crying for help.

September 30, 2014


Louise Flynn

When Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway ’91 stepped behind the podium last March to announce he would no longer defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, he was, in effect, walking onto the national stage. He was not the first attorney general to take such a stance—there had been seven before him, and more since—but his five-minute, heartfelt remarks went viral, and the moment became another turning point in the marriage-equality movement.

September 30, 2014


Louise Flynn

After taking professor Helen “Sunny” Ladd’s core public policy course, Aliya Pilchen ’13 was eager to sign up for another class taught by Sanford’s foremost expert in education finance. But there was one problem: Pilchen was only a junior, and the class she had her eye on was offered to graduate students.

September 30, 2014

Last spring, the Sanford School of Public Policy developed a new strategic vision intended to spark political engagement, broaden students’ experiences, and boost the school’s influence across the country and around the globe.

September 26, 2014

Moyle, the Duke Alumni Association’s new board president, majored in political science and history at Duke and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is the owner and chairman of Shindigz, one of the world’s largest Internet party suppliers. During his time at Duke, Moyle served as student-body president during his sophomore year and worked as a columnist for The Chronicle. Here, he talks about his journey through Duke and his new board role.

September 25, 2014

You’re an outsider who needs to operate as a n insider in a pretty confusing setting, a setting that, for a couple of years, will impose all sorts of expectations on you. Lots of obstacles for you to stumble over. Lots of rituals and routines to sort out.

August 1, 2014

Symbols wield immense power over people, but often their meaning is different for each of us. This story reflects on an encounter with a particularly polarizing symbol long-steeped in American southern culture in the voices of diverse students from across the country.

July 18, 2014


Clem Richardson

"It was a rough time for us, when they accused our boys of that heinous crime.”

We were in a midtown Manhattan hotel conference room in 2007, attendees at a Duke University Black Alumni Connection meeting, my first. I thought I had misheard the speaker, an impassioned former Duke athlete who by the end of his speech had pledged $60,000 to either DUBAC or the Reggie Howard Scholarship Fund—I no longer recall which.

But his words I never forgot.

April 28, 2014


Mousa Jawasreh

Nour has fair skin and gray-blue eyes, accentuated by her ocean-colored hijab and dress. She tells us how in love she is with her husband, how he waited three years until she was old enough to marry him. She speaks of her son as the only bright spot in her life here in Jordan, the only happy moment. She details the horrors of her father-in-law’s public murder in Syria and even shows us pictures of his flowery burial on her cell phone.

February 11, 2014


Bridget Booher

Katherine Zhang didn’t know many other Asians when she was growing up in a white suburban neighborhood outside of Charlotte. As she got older and noticed cultural differences between her family and those of her friends and neighbors, Zhang wondered whether those differences were “because we were crazy or freaks or because we were Chinese.”

Lacey Chylack/Chris Seward.

November 14, 2013


Barry Yeoman

Under a moonless sky in the North Carolina mountains, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate named Terry Sanford stood on the steps of the Henderson County courthouse and made a proposal that seemed audacious for 1960. It had been a stinking hot May day, but the night was cooling rapidly, and 350 voters had shown up to hear this former FBI agent and World War II paratrooper describe his vision.

Seal of the State of North Carolina

July 25, 2013

In response to North Carolina’s newly conservative legislature, several Duke professors have been participating— and getting arrested—in weekly rallies in Raleigh. Known as Moral Mondays, the rallies have drawn several thousand protesters, including faculty members from other universities as well as students and clergy members, who have assembled each week since late April.

Good news, bad news: Demographic shifts have virtually erased segregation, but not racial inequality. [Credit: iStock]

April 1, 2012

In 1975, the extreme racial segregation of many American cities led George Clinton and the funk band Parliament to record “Chocolate City,” which contrasted several cities with nearly all-black populations with their “vanilla suburbs.”