DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – The protest by Duke University students entered its fifth day on Tuesday, with a spokeswoman for the students saying the school didn’t need to close its main administration building.
The students held a news conference Tuesday at noon and said they were not looking to close down the Allen building.
“The decision to close the Allen Building was made by Duke,” student spokeswoman Felicia Arriaga said.
The students did not believe that was necessary.
“There is no reason for classes to be canceled or moved to another location,” Arriaga said. Instead, she said, Duke wanted to “cast our campaign in a negative light.”
Duke University officials say student protesters are occupying a reception area near the school president’s office for a fifth day.
School spokesman Keith Lawrence said Tuesday that the protesters were still sitting near President Richard Brodhead’s office in the Allen Building, which was closed again Tuesday. Officials have said nine students are involved in the sit-in.
The students want three administrators fired, including one involved in a dispute with a parking attendant. The attendant sued, accusing the administrator of using a racial slur. The students have been protesting what they say is racism and discrimination against black and Latino workers at the school.
A former worker spoke out Tuesday, saying she heard racial slurs when she worked at Duke.
“These things were just normal,” said Renee Adkins.
Duke executive vice president Tallman Trask III has denied making any racial comment in an incident that involved a parking attendant but apologized in a statement Monday for his conduct. A Duke spokesman has said Trask will not be dismissed.
The protesters also want a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers.
Duke officials said Monday that they’d continue to negotiate with students only after they leave voluntarily.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.