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Fighting "Crime" on East Campus

This spring semester, scandal has crossed North Buchanan Blvd. and invaded the very heart of the freshman quadrangle. Following a series of bench vandalisms and some nefarious graffiti work on the Campus Drive bridge, East has degenerated into a cesspool of crime. Okay, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but the fact remains that Duke Police has no leads and the perpetrators of the so-called artwork remain at large. Towerview sent its resident conspiracy theorist on an expedition to round up the "leading" suspects.

SUSPECT: DukePlays

Evidence: As the organizer of this century's most successful (read: only) library party, DukePlays opposes undergraduate alcohol abuse-which would explain why substance-free Brown's bench has been spared. Most suspiciously, under the bridge, the motto "Work Hard, Play Well" is the only student advertisement that remains untouched.

But... Isn't this exactly the sort of thing the organization opposes? After all, what are the chances the person who drew feces on the Wilson Bench did it while sober?

Odds: 100-1

SUSPECT: The City of Durham

Evidence: Look at the pattern: the bench vandalism progressively advanced on the quad from West Main St., a sure sign that the criminals came from off campus. Moreover, the haphazard spray paint job under the bridge bears a remarkable thematic resemblance to the graffiti found all over Durham. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has surely pursued cases with far less evidence than this.

But. Durham has a rough reputation, but these incidents seem too tame.

Odds: 25-1

SUSPECT: Bell Tower Residence Hall

Evidence: Although the dorm everybody loves to hate had its bench painted over with sexual innuendo, the spoiled BT kids have plenty of time to recline in their posh screening room and watch their plasma television while plotting against their East Campus brethren. And the bench was repainted suspiciously fast after its graffiti attack.

But. This rumor could be a smear job planted by the other, jealous freshman residence halls.and who could blame them?

Odds: 50-1

SUSPECT: The Nasher Student Advisory Board

Evidence: Having had their "classy party" idea ripped off by every campus organization with cash to burn in the past year, the Board might have been trying to start another trend with the "Spread Random Art.. It's Fun!" message on Jarvis' bench. The rest of the graffiti could be just more copycats (the "A'Cock" paint job for-you guessed it-Aycock-seems particularly unoriginal).

But. The Nasher's rotating collection of edgy modern art is certainly random, but is it really fun?

Odds: 40-1

SUSPECT: The Greek System

Evidence: For years, Greeks have been blamed for everything, from the campus' "disaster" of a social scene to the alleged alcohol consumption by college students. Admittedly, there is very little evidence to indict the Greeks-but that didn't stop the Campus Culture Initiative from making its "recommendations" about axing the fraternity system.

But. It's hard to imagine the disparate, socially stratified fraternities and sororities joining forces and vandalizing together.

Odds: 30-1


Evidence: Means, motive and opportunity-the trifecta. Women are perfectly capable of spray painting a few benches, and there may be 35-year old resentment lingering from when the Woman's College was forced off tranquil East to integrate that gaudy campus of Gothic stone 1.2 miles down Campus Road.

But. It would be a remarkable transformation to go from amassing "sexual assault awareness" pinwheels on Main West to committing random acts of vandalism on innocent freshmen.

Odds: 2-1 (it's a 50/50 shot anyway).