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Duke official at center of controversy over rap song at coffee shop is retiring

Protestors confront Larry Moneta, Duke’s Vice President for Student Affairs

A group of nearly 20 protestors marched into the offices Larry Moneta, Duke’s Vice President for Student Affairs to voice their opposition to the firing of two employees of the Joe Van Gogh coffee shop on the Duke University campus.
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A group of nearly 20 protestors marched into the offices Larry Moneta, Duke’s Vice President for Student Affairs to voice their opposition to the firing of two employees of the Joe Van Gogh coffee shop on the Duke University campus.

Larry Moneta, a Duke University vice president who received widespread criticism this year for his reaction to a rap song being played at a campus coffee shop, has announced his retirement, the school said Monday.

Moneta, who has served as Duke’s vice president for student affairs since 2001, spoke up about a rap song played at the former Joe Van Gogh coffee shop in May on the university’s campus. The incident led to the firing of two baristas who worked there and the owner closing the campus location.

The song was Young Dolph’s “Get Paid,” which includes the N-word and curse words. After the news went viral, the rapper offered $20,000 to the two baristas, Britni Brown and Kevin Simmons, during a live performance in Miami.

Moneta will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Through a Duke University spokesperson, Moneta said the coffee shop incident did not influence the timing of his retirement.

“My plans to retire in the summer of 2019 were made more than two years ago,” Moneta said in an email to The News & Observer.

“When the Provost offered me a new five-year appointment, I told her that it was unlikely that I’d stay that long and shared with her then my intent to retire in the summer of 2019.”

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Moneta praised the university on Duke Today.

“When I came to Duke 17 years ago, I never expected that I would complete my student affairs career here, and I’m so very grateful to have had the opportunity to do so,” Moneta said on Duke Today.

“I’ve had the good fortune to be surrounded by extraordinary colleagues and equally extraordinary students, and I’m so very proud of what we have accomplished together to make the student experience at Duke so fulfilling and transformative. After 45 years of working on a college campus, though, my list of unfinished projects remains as long today as when I started.”

Moneta oversaw the opening of a new Student Wellness Center last year and the renovation of the Brodhead Center.

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Duke University Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta Duke University

Before Moneta arrived at Duke, he was the associate vice president for student affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds several adjunct faculty appointments in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, at N.C. State University and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

“Larry has turned Duke into a national leader in nearly every aspect of student life,” Duke President Vincent Price said of Moneta’s retirement.

“We have all benefited from Larry’s wisdom, boundless energy, commitment to diversity and inclusion, deep compassion and concern for the success of our students. He’s been a key advocate for Duke who also brings comfort and support to our community in the most difficult of situations. We are all grateful for his service and look forward to celebrating his countless contributions to our students, our university and the community.”

A search for Moneta’s replacement will begin in the fall.

Camila Molina: 919-829-4538, @Cmolina__
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