This past weekend, Duke, at long last, won a football game. Kudos to them. All across campus this was celebrated in a night of revelry and partying. Unfortunately, this happy occasion also exposed the darker complexities of trying to have a good time on campus. Events that I witnessed demonstrate many of the problems that we face as a community and laid bare many of our failings to work together.
Somewhere between midnight and one in the morning, I was exiting the newly constructed diner in the West-Edens Link by way of the patio door. I opened the door and became aware of not only the rain still falling lightly, but of a different stream splashing down near my ankles. A student was relieving himself of some beer he had consumed and apparently couldn't be bothered to find a bathroom. I cursed at him for a while. He merely looked up at me with this distant glaze to his eyes and muttered, "Yeah man, I know."
The second event took place the next morning. I woke up to find a message on my answering machine from one of my friends bawling and screaming about how some man tried to break in her dorm room and kill her. An unidentified, half-dressed man tried to beat down her door at six in the morning by repeatedly throwing his body against the door and kicking at it. Luckily, my friend had locked the door when she returned from the bathroom moments before. She called the police. Looking through the peephole, she identified him as in his thirties and severely drunk. By the time the police arrived, he had wandered down the hall, tried a few more doors and disappeared. Now, the police are saying that my friend's version of the story is improbable and are advocating an entirely different version of the story involving a lost, drunk Duke student who was "knocking" on the door in an attempt to find his own room.
The first example is relatively harmless. It sucks for the employees of the diner who have to suffer through these indignities, but it was raining, so the alcohol-laden urine probably washed away without anyone noticing. The second is a much more serious and viscerally disturbing event. But together they paint a picture of campus life that does not meet the hopes, or even the rightful expectations, of either the administration or the students.
Obviously, these problems are larger than the incidents I describe here. The culture here is not one that promotes taking active responsibility for the affect our actions may have on our classmates. It is our role as students to cultivate an atmosphere that is conscientious and the administration's duty to institute some real reform to campus security. It is our responsibility, as a group, to put pressure on the administration to secure a consistent and effective policy toward campus life after dark, for all of us.
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