Duke cuts negotiations until students leave building

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Duke officials said they would stop negotiations until the 9 students leave the Allen Building (WTVD)

Nine Duke University students are refusing to leave a building on campus and are standing up against what they call institutional racism and discrimination.

The students have a list of demands and have been negotiating with administrators.

Those negotiations ended Monday afternoon. The university said it will not continue talks until the students leave the Allen Building.

"The university is committed to completing these negotiations and reaching a mutually agreeable resolution in a peaceful and productive way," said spokesperson Keith Lawrence. "Closing the Allen Building while these negotiations go on has presented a significant disruption to students, faculty, staff and visitors, and cannot continue indefinitely. As a result, the university will only continue negotiations after the nine students voluntarily leave the Allen Building."

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The students have been holed up inside since Friday. Outside, dozens of other students are offering support.

"It's not over until it's over," said protester Aaron Colston.

"Some people are skipping class to be at the protest," said protester McCall Hollie. "I've seen multiple class meetings [and] professors organizing their classes on the quad."

One of the student's demands is to have three top administrators fired.

One of the administrators, Executive Vice President Dr. Tallman Trask, reportedly hit an African-American campus parking attendant with his car, used a racial slur, and would not wait for police to arrive to file a report. The incident happened August 2014.

A lawsuit has been filed.

Trask issued an apology Monday. He said in a statement, "I recognize that my conduct fell short of the civility and respectful conduct each member of this community owes to every other. I express my apology to Ms. Underwood and to this community and re-commit myself to ensuring that these values are upheld for all."

"We have a very strong commitment to dealing with racism, dealing with radials issues. We have many mechanisms in place to study it, to support those who have concerns or issues," said Duke University spokesperson Mike Schoenfeld.

Students feel this commitment and the apology aren't enough.

"This is about ensuring workers at Duke University are treated with respect," said Colston.

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