Dean Bill Boulding’s Reflections on the Events of Last Week

January 11, 2021

Dean Bill Boulding sent the following message to all students, faculty and staff on January 11, 2021

Dear Fuqua community,


As classes resume today, I write to you with a heavy heart as each of us continues to process and reflect on what happened at the United States Capitol last week.


I want to thank President Price for articulating the enormous disquiet induced by the sickening attack on our very democracy. If you have not seen the message he sent to the Duke community on Wednesday, I encourage you to read it below.


There is so much we’ve learned in recent days about the various beliefs, ideologies and motivations present in the group who attacked the Capitol. It has become clear white supremacists were involved in the riots, and the emotion for many of us is still very raw.


I also recognize that each of us will anchor on different issues and therefore have varied reactions to such a deeply troubling event. However, I would offer because we are a business school committed to decency - valuing and elevating others— that we commit anew to educating ourselves on issues that led to such a deeply polarized America.

Please recognize that many of your colleagues will see recent events through the prism of racial inequity and other manifestations of painful hatred that were shocking to see in the U.S. Capitol, like Confederate flags, anti-Semitic attire on some of the rioters and, though the underlying causes may be multi-fold, the very visibly different treatment of last week’s protesters compared to the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

As we progress on our own path toward decency, racial equity and justice, we need to confront and discuss issues that arise lest we derail our journey with silence that could be interpreted as indifference. We hope to offer opportunities for our community to process what has happened. In the meantime, a good place to start if you’d like to read more is the perspective of several Duke professors found here.


While the events of last week have, rightly, induced many negative reactions, we can also learn from this terrible moment. I commit to you that we will use these events as an opportunity to learn and grow together as we engage speakers and through additional programming this academic year.


With hope for brighter days ahead,




January 6, 2021

Dear Duke Colleagues,

I am shocked by and condemn today’s violence in Washington. We are deeply concerned for the safety of our public officials, their staffs, and the law enforcement officers and first responders who are selflessly protecting life and property in the face of this assault.

I want to be clear: the storming of the Capitol complex is not merely a brazen act by a relatively small group of instigators. It is the direct result of a campaign to sow mistrust in our democracy and to overturn an election that was by all reasonable accounts conducted freely and fairly. These events are made all the more shameful by their futility—they are based on falsehoods and conspiracies that have been rejected in local, state, and federal courts across the country, and they simply will not change the outcome of our democratic process.

Joe Biden will rightfully be inaugurated as our next President on January 20. In the coming days, I hope that our nation can move past the hateful, divisive, and false rhetoric and come together to address the pressing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We at Duke will continue to work with our duly elected representatives in Washington, regardless of party, to that end.

Very best wishes,




This story may not be republished without permission from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Please contact for additional information.

Contact Info

For more information contact our media relations team at