What follows is a press release on what is an urgent institutional matter. Although I was responsible for the decision, I could not compose the column, as I am currently touring the Orient and lack access to anything but telegram.
“University to extend statute of limitations on declarations that ‘This is the year Duke football makes a bowl game.’”
After the student outcry in the past weeks about issues concerning various statutes of limitations, the administration has come to a decision. We have finally agreed to extend the statute of limitations… on every declaration during Coach Cutcliffe’s time as football coach from one year to five years. This would have the effect of reapplying declarations that Duke was going to be bowl-eligible in the years 2007-2011 to the year 2012.
There has been a campus epidemic of these sort of statements for the past half-decade. Students, usually while intoxicated either from alcohol or an early-season victory against a FCS team, would often preemptively argue that this was the year Duke football had improved enough to become bowl-eligible. And, always, they would wake up early in the season, hung-over from a loss to the University of Richmond, just becoming cognizant of the terribly incorrect things they had done.
Now, the University has always had a stringent and transparent enforcement policy on such issues, as it does in all disciplinary matters. Indeed, we are so transparent that I doubt we need remind you what, exactly, our policies are. Isn’t transparent transparency transparently great?
Since the policy would retroactively allow those statements to be applied to “any year from the beginning of Cutcliffe’s tenure up until 2012,” it would prevent any shaming of those who were so incorrect in years past. All students who engaged in such misconduct are eligible to say, “No, I actually meant this year” without being accused of covering-up their previous misdeeds. Simply put, Duke University has learned, again and again, that the rights of the defendants are of the utmost importance.
We have also decided to lower the standard of evidence needed to declare Duke football good from a “clear and convincing” standard to merely requiring a “preponderance of evidence.” Now, a student need merely prove that there’s a better chance than not that a team with a 4-1 record can win two of their remaining seven games. We believe that this standard is still a very difficult one to meet.
Now, I know some may say: Don’t we want to hold people culpable for their actions, regardless of when those actions occurred? In principle, the University agrees, but the student body must understand that these investigations are very difficult, and by taking on these cases the potential for incorrect verdicts goes up tremendously as the years go on.
Additionally, the extension of the statute would also allow any statements made in the heat of this past weekend’s victory over Wake Forest to not be shamed as premature for an additional five years if anything were to happen in coming games against Clemson and Florida State. Therefore this policy would protect current students as well.
Students, do not worry: We, the administration, support Duke football wholeheartedly and fully believe that we’re going to make a bowl this year. Eventually.
The Grumpy Trustee realizes that insulting Duke football after their best start to a season in almost two decades is pretty crass, especially given his own physique.