submitted 1 month ago by MicroWave to c/science

University officials say they cannot afford to maintain one of the largest herbariums in the United States. Researchers are urging Duke to reconsider.

Duke University has decided to close its herbarium, a collection of 825,000 specimens of plants, fungi and algae that was established more than a century ago. The collection, one of the largest and most diverse in the country, has helped scientists map the diversity of plant life and chronicle the impact of humans on the environment.

The university’s decision has left researchers reeling. “This is such a devastating blow for biodiversity science,” said Erika Edwards, the curator of the Yale Herbarium. “The entire community is simultaneously shocked and outraged.”

Scientific societies have also protested the move. “Duke’s decision to forgo responsibility of their herbarium specimens sets a terrible precedent,” the Natural Science Collections Alliance wrote in a letter to the university last Friday.

The alliance, along with six other scientific societies, endorsed a petition asking Duke to reconsider closing the herbarium. As of Wednesday, it had gained over 11,000 signatures.

Non-paywall link

all 48 comments
sorted by: hot top controversial new old
[-] [email protected] 122 points 1 month ago

I bet their football team doesn't have any budget issues...

[-] [email protected] 50 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I knew an athlete a few years ago who was told by Stanford that she had to get a 23 on the ACT to be accepted. Her GPA was mediocre. I don’t even remember if she had AP classes. To be clear, this person was barely literate. She was a nice person, but to put things in perspective, a 23 means getting almost half the questions wrong (in a multiple choice test where 1/4 of random answers are automatically correct). It means, again, illiterate.

She struggled for a whole year to get to 23 and was accepted to Stanford where she played sports. The one interesting part is that the only major they’d let her have is a business degree, since it requires so little effort.

[-] BURN 5 points 1 month ago

And Stanford hates that they have to accept her too. I’m amazed they haven’t gone the way of the ivies and just stopped scholarship sports outside of the Olympic ones

[-] [email protected] 24 points 1 month ago

Their basketball coach that retired was the highest paid basketball coach in history. I am not 100% certain due to new contracts but I believe that includes NBA coaches. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

[-] [email protected] 17 points 1 month ago


[-] blazeknave 7 points 1 month ago

Or their rape defense team

[-] [email protected] 107 points 1 month ago

Cannot afford, after the regents voted to give themselves $300k pay raises

[-] [email protected] 78 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

To be fair, Duke is a Catholic university and everyone knows Jesus loves money. Only rich men can enter the kingdom of heaven, right? You can’t expect them not to charge students $70k/year while paying overworked adjunct professors $60k/year to teach 5 classes per semester. How else will the hyper-religious underworked administrators go to heaven?

EDIT: in all seriousness, Duke pays poverty wages to their adjunct professors. I know an MD PhD who gets paid $15/hr to work 70 hour weeks at Duke. Her CV is a mile long. She says that all of the University hospitals are like that. They exploit and destroy new talent, young doctors, and aspiring researchers. And then everyone whines about how there aren’t enough doctors. It’s easy to fix. Cap the salaries of all administrators 1:1 with the average adjunct professor’s salary.

Now I know, “economists” will say that this will create an artificial shortage of administrators, but I think they’re forgetting that administration takes only slightly more skill than watching paint dry, so we might be alright.

[-] SlopppyEngineer 12 points 1 month ago

Channeling some serious Supply Side Jesus there

[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

MD PhD who gets paid $15/hr to work 70 hour weeks at Duke. Her CV is a mile long

She should quit. Industry pays an actual livable salary compared to that. She could work as a shipping clerk and make more money and have a higher standard of living.

They abuse people endlessly because smart and talented people like your friend volunteer to get abused. It’s tragic, but their own choice.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Boston Children’s Hospital in collaboration with Harvard Medical school pays residents about the same. It’s pitiful and we desperately need regulation on salaries at educational institutions.

[-] [email protected] 58 points 1 month ago

Defunding biodiversity science at a time like this...

[-] [email protected] 27 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Whose idea was it to give one of the shittiest universities such a big responsibility? Duke is basically a giant sports program with a religious school attached. What do they care about science?

[-] [email protected] 47 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Calling Duke a 'religious school' is disingenuous. They are a secular school that has a divinity program. The university pre-dates the divinity school by almost a century.

They are widely seen as a world class medical, business and law school. Contributions include, the first ultrasound imaging, the first CFD analysis software, and cochlear implant development.

They don't focus on sports anymore than other peer institutions (think Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, or Notre Dame) they just caught lightning in a bottle with Coach K, and have been really good at basketball for a while.

I say all of this to highlight, they are a legitimate, well funded active contributor to academia and research.

They aren't some hack religious institution that's trying to play being a real school while shoveling indoctrination down your throat like BYU or Liberty.

Duke is a legitimate research university that should be criticized even more harshly for the decision outlined in the article because of their history as a top tier research institution, not because they're "a religious school that doesn't care about science."

[-] batmaniam 19 points 1 month ago

After a quick googling, they also were on the religiously unpopular side of embryonic stem cells.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 1 month ago

I assume you mean secular, not non-secular. Non-secular would mean they do have a religious affiliation.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 1 month ago

Yup, that's what I meant.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

I think it was their idea that predated the rise of the NCAA.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 1 month ago

Don't worry, I heard Georgia Southern is gonna take over operations. Ship shape I tells ya.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 1 month ago

This is capitalism end-game.

[-] [email protected] 14 points 1 month ago

Dear everyone,

It's not sports, so fuck it!


99% of US universities

[-] [email protected] 1 points 1 month ago

don't worry the dorms still have a bigger plant collection

this post was submitted on 22 Feb 2024
279 points (99.6% liked)


12929 readers
522 users here now

just science related topics. please contribute

note: clickbait sources/headlines aren't liked generally. I've posted crap sources and later deleted or edit to improve after complaints. whoops, sry

Rule 1) Be kind.

lemmy.world rules: https://mastodon.world/about

I don't screen everything, lrn2scroll

founded 10 months ago