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Ask and ye shall receive

It should not be up to me to enforce proper behavior that signifies the intelligence of Duke Students. You should do it," former Duke President Terry Sanford wrote in a 1984 letter to the student body regarding profanity during basketball games. As Duke's sixth president and namesake of the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, his legacy has endured long after he left office in 1985.

Sanford was wrestling with the central question of how to regulate students' behavior, a problem that has presented itself yet again-this time with the issue of tailgating.

Now, however, the response of the administration is markedly different. "Tailgating will end at kickoff," Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, wrote in an e-mail to all undergraduates. Although Sanford suggested that offending Crazies be chastised by their peers, Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek said that Student Affairs' recourse for students who stayed in the Blue Zone after tailgating officially ended was to have them arrested.

No students were arrested on Saturday, but tailgating did end promptly at kickoff. It took a uniformed army of Student Affairs staff, Inter-Fraternity Council and Panhellenic Association members and Duke Student Government leaders to clear out the tailgaters, and Duke police were available in case there were any noncompliant or belligerent students.

All Sanford did was request that students "discipline yourselves and your fellow students." The issues involved may be different, but the basic remedy should be the same.

Both DSG and IFC were publicly supportive of the new policy. The frameworks of DSG and IFC, however, lend those groups to manipulation by the administration and cast doubt on their true commitment to student interests. Our student "leaders" are charged with lobbying on behalf of the students, not enforcing the whims of the administration, no matter their merit. If students want to support the football team, they should do it in the method and at the time of their own choosing-DSG should have no part in it.

Recognizing the importance of addressing the student body directly, Sanford very appropriately addressed his letter "to my Duke Students." He did not go through the Associated Students of Duke University, the precursor to DSG, and he recognized that individual students had to decide themselves that profane chants were not in the best interests of Duke Basketball.

Having DSG President Jesse Longoria lead the charge to clear the Blue Zone neither legitimized the administration's efforts nor spoke highly of DSG's commitment to the desires of the student body. DSG ultimately "leads" the student body inasmuch as the University assesses students an annual fee and DSG gets to decide how to spend that revenue; it has a long history of taking sides contrary to the majority student opinion and simply capitulating to the administration.

And in addition, IFC members, being totally dependent on whatever housing assignment the administration grants their respective fraternities, were not willing to publicly oppose the policy and were complicit in its enforcement. This is the same organization that approved the ban of kegs on campus without a University bartender and "ended" open distribution of alcohol at on-campus frat parties. Try polling the student body or fraternity members privately on those issues and see what the results are.

In directly addressing students, Sanford had concerns similar to the current administration. He did not want "crudeness, profanity and cheapness" to represent Duke, just as administrators now do not want beer funneling, Beirut and cocaine use to represent current students or threaten their health. Instead of addressing students as adults as Sanford did, our increasingly paternalistic administrators seem content to simply instruct us as to how to behave.

We now celebrate Duke Football on the administration's terms and under the constant vigilance of Student Affairs staff, while the student who infamously snorted cocaine off of the hood of a car during a tailgate last year got off with a suspension. So much for Sanford's "commitment to self-government for students."

But in the end, we all know how effective Sanford's remonstrations were. Now it is Gary Williams who is famous for flicking off the Cameron Crazies-not the other way around. All of this was brought about on the insistence of a man who signed his name "Uncle Terry" and who wrote simply, "I suggest that we change."

Our administrators should take a hint from both the philosophy and practice of the wise Terry Sanford when considering tailgating as well as the many other issues facing the Duke community. If tailgating is to change, it must be at the behest of the students, and not at the command of the administration. We are clearly a very, very long way from anything remotely close to "Uncle Larry."

http://www.duke.edu/~egw4/Sanford/

Elliott Wolf is a Trinity sophomore. His column runs every other Tuesday.

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