One cannot read The Chronicle editorial page these days without happening across another claim of racism or cultural insensitivity levied by one interest group against another here at dear old Duke. From the maelstrom surrounding the Sigma Chi party and the subsequent demands to the more numerous and less severe claims of social segregation and media bias that dot the daily opinion landscape, it seems we are a campus divided against itself.
Each fraternity, sorority, selective group and progressive faction sits in its section of the dorm or cubicle in the Student Activities office like a little fiefdom: a small feudal power ruled by the particular social agenda of its members, be it clever parties or racial equality or homosexual rights. Every group exploits the common resources that Duke provides and does so chiefly in the name of creating 'dialogue' or providing students with 'entertainment.' Lately, however it seems that this dialogue is no longer something that provokes contemplation and education in students; rather, it creates and cements divisions along the border lines of various campus interests.
Though perpetual conflict on campus might be nominally interesting or at the very least good for a laugh every day in the paper, it has caused us to lose sight of one important thing: We are all students of Duke University, and if that doesn't mean something in and of itself, it should. Rather than looking for reasons to fear and mistrust each other and our administration, we should unite to destroy those things that we can fear and mistrust as a group. One man alone holds the power to unite the warring factions of Duke University and employ them in a quest for campus identity: Larry Moneta.
As battle rages on the quads below, Larry Moneta sits above the fray in a seat of inscrutable power as lord of all social life. To this point he has only angered the already ornery clans by rearranging social policy in haphazard and biased ways in an attempt to prevent the campus from destroying itself. But the time for student villages has passed, and Moneta alone commands the resources which can unite the students against those things which we all fear and hate in common: Durham and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Sure, Duke sits in Durham, but for most of our sheltered populace, that is only a matter of coincidence. The vast majority of Duke Students fear and mistrust the strange ways of the locals, and would just as soon have them out of the way. It's not that they hate outsiders; it's that they just don't care. Thus, Moneta's first objective should be to flood Durham.
The process wouldn't be terribly difficult, as vast construction resources are already available on campus. A network of tunnels dug underneath the city could be used to plant explosives at strategic points and collapse the city into a nice deep pit, leaving the campus standing in the center. Simple redirection of Falls Lake or Lake Gaston would allow us to fill the hole, creating a new and beautiful geographical body: Lake Durham, with Duke Island in the middle.
The unifying capability of such a move would be unparalleled. No longer would strange and mysterious Durhamites be able to infiltrate campus and share their diverse backgrounds and wide viewpoints. No longer would diverse multicultural events be presented to the fragile psyches of the students. No longer would the administration have to pay lip service to the community with staged build projects. The entire campus could be isolated from all undue influence from the outside world, allowing us to focus on those ideals and ideologies that make us uniquely Duke. Additional ancillary benefits would present themselves as well. The crew and water ski teams would have a place to practice. All students would be able to enjoy the pleasures of lakefront life, and the University would own miles of lucrative lakefront property which could be rented out to professors or sold to enterprising alumni bringing in millions of dollars of revenue to the school. The possibilities truly are endless.
However, it would be foolish to think that simply eliminating Durham would keep the Duke students united for long. Rather, flooding Durham provides an appropriately isolated and defensible backdrop for the real campaign of unity to begin. As memories of the City of Durham faded from the consciousness of the students, another enemy would have to present itself, an enemy that would never be defeated but would provide endless battles, an enemy with a history of animosity towards our University and all it stands for: an enemy like UNC Chapel Hill.
Thus, Larry Moneta, after uniting the identity groups in the construction of Lake Durham, would have to create a state of perpetual warfare with Chapel Hill to maintain campus enthusiasm. Channeling the existing hatred for UNC sports teams through increased propaganda in the form of clever T-shirts and campus rallies, Moneta could easily raise up an army of students. With Coach K in command and the basketball players acting as advisors, this army would stage period raids on the UNC campus, sacking the dorms and classrooms and seizing priceless artifacts for the glory of our noble institution. Always keeping morale high and objectives narrow.
With all energy and focus constantly devoted to the defense of the campus moat and the ongoing war with the Tar Heels, there would be no time or need for campus divisions along socio-economic or racial lines. We would simply know ourselves as Duke students: Duke students versus the world. So come forth Larry Moneta and use your powers for the common good. Flood Durham and sack Chapel Hill! Unite us against our common enemies and remind us all that we really are a community, and not just a confused rabble of politics and skin colors looking to slander each other every day in The Chronicle!
Andrew Waugh is a Trinity junior. His column appears every third Thursday.
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