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Some serious summertime frustrations

Coach K is a wimp. Duke is a bad neighbor. Sororities are elitist. iPods are a joke. Moneta is incompetent. We live in turbulent times….

I am ready for another semester. My columns this semester will once again scrutinize rips, little and big, in Duke’s ethical fabric. I have been away from Durham for a while now, and if this paper is anything to go by, things have not gotten any better. Just last night I ran in to a couple of Dukies here in Cape Town, and soon we connected over The Parody Formally Known As Duke. Education professionals of the triangle, start digging your trenches!

But first things first, and I have some serious summertime frustrations I want to get off my chest: The namesake for the Fuqua/Coach K Center of Leadership and Ethics is a big wimp. For a man who has spent the better part of his life preparing ambitious souls for the next big step in their life, he showed remarkably little valor when he turned down what is essentially every coach’s dream job.

A dazed and confused Duke failed to notice that the much-heralded student fan mail that—myth has it—made the Krzyzewskis stay, was written by a member of DUI. As a big fan of the improv troupe, I prefer to believe the letter was merely humorous hyperbole. The prose sounded too Hallmark to be serious.

Anyway, on to matters more pressing. Why, pray tell, is Duke too stingy to support the new performing arts center Durham is planning? Duke thinks the theater is not needed. Let the city of Durham decide for itself! After petty disputes over developments and plots, this is an opportunity where Duke can prove to be a friend of the city, not just a neighbor.

Next, I want to congratulate sororities on the relocation of their rush process on the calendar. Not only am I liberated from ever having to watch herds of freshwomen run around in a perfume-induced stupor again, the sororities have also ensured that anyone who needs to wait tables over break to pay tuition (or dues, for that matter) will not join. Nor will those girls with an actual social life outside the Gothic Dungeon. At last, sororities will be completely reduced to what has always been their core constituency—wealthy girls without friends.

I am sure that by the time this column is printed plenty of other columnists will have made fun of the iPod project. And spending half-a-million dollars on fancy Discmans for freshmen is indeed a bit silly. Moreover, receiving an e-mail advertising iTunes from ipod@duke.edu is plain and simple Duke endorsed spam. What has frustrated me most, however, is having to admit I go to Duke to people who have read about the ‘pods in the national media.

Our freaking reputation is on the line!

First we had wireless internet in K-ville.

Then came the parade of the Robocops—half-Segway, half-human.

And now iPods for everyone.

I have come up with two conspiracy theories explaining the invasion of the pods. 1. Duke is planning to boost enrollment for some less popular classes by offering a semester of mobile entertainment for those brave enough to enlist. 2. Duke was looking for a creative way to send an “up yours” to former board member Melinda (who left to go and save starving babies in Africa) and found supporting Apple highly appropriate. Whatever the rationale—please refrain from such stunts in the future.

And last but not least, let me focus on the fiasco of Plaza Moneta. As early as January of this year I voiced my doubts about the plans in this column. Duke seemed to be in a hurry, I complained, and the public was not being informed about the on-going planning. In retrospect the lack of information is understandable.

There was no on-going planning. That is why Brodhead has, in all his New Havenesque wisdom, terminated the project.

I hope that Gregg Heinselmann, the administrator hired to oversee the construction of Moneta’s pipe dream, finds something better to do. Maybe he can take some classes; you know, broaden his horizons.

If he is lucky, he’ll get to play with a groovy Apple mp3 player for the semester.

 

Joost Bosland is a Trinity junior.

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