The proposed Black Tenting period, which is intended to deter students from returning to Krzyzewskiville too early, runs counter to the ideals of tenting. The underlying motivation of concern for student safety, however, is valid and should be addressed through other means.
The last thing anyone wants to do is mess with tradition. Especially when that tradition is one as spirited, infamous and down-right crazy as tenting. That does not mean, however, that tradition cannot be improved upon, and some of proposed changes to Krzyzewskiville—such as having a line monitor tent and making Wake Forest the second tenting game—may do just that. The most significant change, though, is the creation of the prohibitively difficult Black Tenting, and is not an improvement upon past years.
Students can begin Black Tenting at any time before Jan. 10 or 11 when Blue Tenting will likely begin, and the proposed policy requires 10 students in each tent at night and eight students at all times during the day. The idea is to make Black Tenting so difficult that it will deter students from camping out early. The hope seems to be that students will not begin tenting during the semester break as they have in past years. The plan also addresses safety and health concerns involved with tenting by adding official regulation and support to pre-school tenting.
Most of the University’s facilities are closed during winter break, meaning students have few respites from the outdoor conditions and having a trained line monitor or other official during this time may prove a beneficial resource for tenters. The goal of providing a safer environment for students tenting is a good one. The goal of decreasing the number of students who tent early is not.
Students’ health and safety are obviously the University’s first priority, but those goals can be accomplished without limiting the spirit that makes K-ville unique. Steven Rawson, the Head Line Monitor, said the change will “make K-ville more exciting” and help it “regain... the feeling of a center of student activity.” The way to accomplish that is not to implement measures designed to drive students away from K-ville.
Black Tenting also has the potential to backfire if it fails to deter fans. If the number of students who participate in Black Tenting is similar to the number of students who tented over break last year, than the process will simply be stricter, harder and more dangerous for those students.
Regulating early tenting may be a good idea, but it could be accomplished without the strictness of Black Tenting. The best solution would be to keep tenting before Blue Tenting informal like last year, but to add additional safety measures, such as having a trained line monitor who knows how to deal with emergencies present.
The other proposed changes will undoubtedly improve the atmosphere of K-ville. The idea of having a line monitor tent will force line monitors to be more active members of K-ville and help create solidarity between the line monitors and student tenters.
Designating the Wake Forest game as the second tenting game is also a logical decision. Although Maryland has been a tenting game for the past few years, choosing a different game is not a huge break in tradition. This year Wake will likely be one of the strongest teams in both the ACC and the nation, and tenting for that game will only make the Duke-Wake match-up a better contest.
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