3/5/2010 Major post - the disaster we call K-Ville

Fact Checker here.

The post above, from Justin Time, says "Hopefully, tomorrow night people will be able to control themselves."

That is not enough. Not at all. This is a situation with far greater dimensions, one that has been building for a long long time, one that at the very least has the capacity to develop into a public relations nightmare for Duke, if not claim the lives of one or more participants in this unbridled Bacchanalia.

It is a situation that demands response from President Brodhead and his administration, and also from our basketball coach.

Yes Coach K too. Please read from this semester's K-Ville blog by Chris:

"While the general campus belief that Duke is home to the country’s only set of line monitors is patently false, ours is the most intimately involved with its school’s team. Many coaches are either unwilling or uninterested in collaborating with the heads of their respective fan groups, other than dropping off some snacks the night before the big game. In contrast, head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff work closely with the line monitors to help keep tenting safe, healthy (generally) and enjoyable for the students involved."

And finally with respect to Coach K, please read the following words quoted in the Chronicle last June 24th, in the third of a four part exclusive interview:

"What is Krzyewskiville. Is it a plus? Is it a minus? It's probably a little of both."

Well Coach, you were prophetic.

And now this pathetic spectacle that some call a tradition must be front and center, even stealing some precious focus and minutes from your preparation for the game against u-n-c.

As for President Brodhead, on February 10th, in response to a Chronicle editorial with withering criticism of his leadership, Fact Checker posted a special 4,000 word report. Please read:

"Oh yes, there's the drinking issue. The Allen Building team came down hard on Tailgating. It has skirted around Last Day of Classes. And it has been totally silent on the most abusive situation of all, the week after week bacchanalia we call K-Ville. Mr Brodhead, why are you so pusillanimous that you cannot speak out at this total disruption of the atmosphere and purpose of Duke? Have you ever visited the place at night? Heard the noise. Smelled the booze. Wallowed in the mud? How rested would you be if at 4 AM each day you had to stand outside Hart House to be counted?"

Loyal readers, I spent a few minutes looking into the Chronicle archive this morning. Since the on-line version began, there has been story after story after story about the conditions that reached a zenith last night.

February 1, 2008. This story mentions the word drunk or drunken five times. Not counting the times it mentions heavy drinking.

"To outsiders, it may look like a segment of fraternity hazing, or worse, a far-flung attempt to get on reality TV. But to the most dedicated Cameron Crazies, tenting for the men's home basketball game against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill March 8 is a lifestyle that often takes precedence over health."

The story continues, with administrators very candid about their knowledge of what is happening:

"Jean Hanson, administrative director of the Student Health Center, said students in Krzyzewskiville face a number of potential health concerns...

"She noted that consuming alcohol is one of the most dangerous practices students can partake in if they are tenting because alcohol dilates blood vessels and increases the amount of blood flow to the surface of the skin, which ultimately results in heat loss.

"'Heavy drinking will often make you sleepy or pass out altogether,' Hanson said. 'If you pass out and fall asleep while you are exposed to the cold, then it is just going to make it worse. You can end up with hypothermia....

"Hypothermia or not, many of the tenters said one of the biggest problem they face in K-ville is falling asleep surrounded by loud conversation or drunken banter.

"'I went back [to my room] at 7 this morning, set my alarm at 8 to get up for class and woke up at noon because I couldn't get to sleep until 5 last night because of sounds from across the walkway,' freshman (I omit the name) said.

"In addition to drunken noises, having to be alert for late tent checks does not allow students to get a healthy amount of uninterrupted sleep, Hanson said."

Read enough? Well there's more.

Desperate for rest, some students said they have resorted to extreme measures.

"'You either get drunk and pass out or use your iPod,' freshman (name omitted) said. 'Tenting should be fun'

"But for others the drunken chatters add amusement to their experiences at K-ville.

"'It's [funny] when [the drunk students] think that the big smiley face chair in front of our tent is the most fascinating thing in the world and want to sit in it and take pictures in it,' sophomore (name omitted) said."

Read, please, a Chronicle article last September 24, about the tenting a year earlier, when flu was not a major factor:

"Last year, 60 students tenting in K-ville sought help from Student Health, Hanson wrote in an email. She added that she expects the number to be even higher this year."

And last year right before the big game, this blog:

"January 15: Had a party last night. Some stupid line monitor cut my shotgun hole too big and it spilled everywhere. It looked like I pissed myself. Jenny giggled."

For those readers who are not cool, a shotgun hole is one punched into a can of beer, with the drinker now catching the full stream.

Year after year, the same condition. Columnist Greg Czaja on April 5, 2006 recounting his experiences: "I saw several students being taken away from K-Ville in an ambulance."

And finally March 4, 1996 by someone only identified as B:

"Welcome to Krzyzewskiville, (official motto "Chug! Chug! Chug!") sponsored by Natural Light beer. Here in K-ville, we drink more beer by 9 a.m. than most people drink all day. Camping out-be all you can be. The atmosphere here is like Auschwitz meets Mardi Gras.

"Basketball? There's none of that here, but we've got music, fire, and drunk people-and a lot of all of them. You couldn't ask for anything more. We're the largest yuppie ghetto this side of Greenwich village, complete with cell phones and microbrewed beer.

"...it's the drinks that define a tent. Those with kegs make friends very quickly. Those without a keg befriend those with. Speaking of drinking, was it me, or was it like pre-prohibition era Duke out there? Freshmen: This is what you missed out on in years past!"

Mr. Brodhead, the Campus Culture Initiative you began after the lacrosse hoax ducked K-Ville. Dean Nowicki, you are properly concerned with the entire undergraduate experience, not just the classroom.

Tonight, the situation can only grow worse because more frequent tent checks will have to make up for the ones lost last night. In fact, a Deputy Fact Checker who understands the rules better than I, says tent checks requiring physical presence might even be held during class hours.

Dean Steve, this annual disruption involving fully 20 percent of undergraduates living in tents week after week is your greatest imperative. So is the illegality of it all, flagrant violation of minimum drinking age with the tacit approval of administrators.

Mr. President, two weeks ago you seemed to begin a new phase of your tenure, with greater involvement on campus. A major test has come along quite soon.

✔✔Thank you for reading Fact Checker even on days when things you did not want to hear must be said.

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