Ban greeks, all extracurriculars

In the Aug. 26 column “The Duke of New,” Christopher Scoville provides a handy five-step recipe for ensuring Duke’s “future glory” as a university by resolutely pursuing “intellectual dynamism” as its pre-eminent goal. Scoville provides his most interesting suggestion when he advises Duke to ban the greek system due to the fact that “it does little to add to the intellectual life on campus.”

What a great idea! Why waste our time with activities that aren’t directly related to the intellectual life on campus? But why stop with the greek system? The administrators quite simply need to cut the fat in all aspects of Duke. Anything that does not foster intellectualism must be banned from campus. Only then can we “wedge [our] way into the Harvard-Princeton-Yale triumvirate” and join ranks with the academic elite.

The most obvious place to begin is with those pesky extracurricular activities. Why should students be enriching their lives with activities outside the classroom when they could be inside the classroom and learning? Take a capella groups, for example. Unless they are singing that timeless ditty about the quadratic equation (or some other comparably cerebral tune), kick ’em out. Let those gap-toothed Tar Heels sing away their intellectualism, but not us. And intramural and club sports? Can you say “waste of time?”

Speaking of sports, we should really just completely extricate the sports culture from Duke. You know, Cameron Indoor would make a lovely research laboratory. Doesn’t the sound of Wallace Wade Auditorium just roll off the tongue? And while we’re on the subject of denaturing campus landmarks into bastions of academic intellectualism, my heart just skips a beat when I imagine the endless mouth-watering possibilities of using the Chapel belltower as a library stacks.

I, for one, am outraged that we should allow for such distractions. Let’s rally together to fight for our intellectualism, to stand up for our education, and most importantly to prove the truth in those “Harvard of the South” T-shirts. No matter the cost, we need to purge ourselves of the non-academic pursuits that make Duke a vibrant, fraternal and unique university.


Andrew Longenecker

Pratt ’07


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