Duke Trinity College of Arts and Science

February, 17, 2021

By Matt Hartman

For Drew Greene, it started with the children he coached in high school.

He was part of a soccer program for youth in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. When his players told him about their siblings who had been sent to jail for simple school-yard fights, Greene was inspired to start investigating the school-to-prison pipeline. That interest led him to join the Henrico County Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee in his senior year. He hoped to help address the racial, gender and socioeconomic disparities in his school district.

“I just really loved the people,” said Greene, who is now a first-year Duke student. “I loved how everyone was so passionate about it.”

Adam Hollowell, director of the Inequality Studies Minor
When he got to campus, Greene thought he would study finance. Then he took a class with Adam Hollowell, adjunct instructor of Public Policy and Education, and he realized how deep his passion for fighting inequality ran. “Especially now that inequality is at the forefront of people’s minds because of the Black Lives Matter protests, I want to work to find solutions for major issues,” Greene said.

In addition to planned studies in Public Policy and Education, Greene found a brand new program that would let him do just that: the Inequality Studies Minor.

Launching this semester, the new minor is a collaboration between the Department of History and the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. Directed by Hollowell, the minor was also shaped by Malachi Hacohen, professor and director of undergraduate studies in History, and William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African & African American Studies and Economics and director of the Cook Center.

“The study of social inequality is more urgent than ever, especially if higher education is to fulfill its mission as a promoter of expanded opportunity and well-being,” the three scholars wrote in a December op-ed for Inside Higher Ed. “Students, professors and administrators need a deeper understanding of how human disparities have developed, why they persist and how they continue to evolve over time.”