When I was working on the student paper at Duke, we'd get a letter to the editor once a year or so that would lament that the university had lost touch with its religious roots as Trinity College, a Methodist school. The correspondents would invariably cite the university motto, "Eruditio et religio," and complain that the the campus had become a den of secularism, where students and faculty were concerned only with eruditio at the expense of religio.
While there's a divinity school and plenty of faith groups—from Campus Crusade for Christ to the Catholic Newman Center to a prominent Jewish center—at Duke, it's true that the religion's role on campus has declined. One exception to the trend is Islam. In the mid-2000s, the school opened a Muslim prayer room. By 2006, an iftar—the meal breaking fast during Ramadan—might draw 300 attendees. In 2008, Duke hired its first full-time imam to serve alongside Christian and Jewish faith leaders on campus. It was one of the first American universities to create such a post.
On Wednesday, Duke announced it would start broadcasting the adhan, or call to prayer, from its campus chapel, fitting squarely in that progression. The call was to happen every Friday at 1 p.m., to announce midday prayers, and would be sung in Arabic and in English. It would be "moderately amplified," the school said. An op-ed by Associate Dean Christy Lohr Sapp in the Raleigh News & Observer suggested it would hardly be loud enough to be heard outside of the immediate vicinity.