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After drunken mob, line monitors plan to kill walk up line for UNC game

After Krzyzewskiville devolved into a drunken mob last spring, the line monitors plan to kill the walk up line.

Co-head line monitors Steve Hassey and Peter Potash, both seniors, told The Chronicle that they will replace the walk-up line for the North Carolina game Feb. 20, 2019 at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a new “flex tent” system. The system will begin at the same time as white tenting—roughly ten days before game day—and spots in the “flex tenting” system will be determined by the same race to the secret spot. 

The change will have to be approved by Duke Student Government Senate—something Hassey said will happen in the next few weeks. 

Other students in K-Ville who are among the 100 black, blue and white tents are there for weeks, if not months, securing their for entrance to the game. All 100 tents are guaranteed entry. Last year, additional students who wanted to go to the game joined the walk-up line, which began three days before the game. 

Now, those who “flex tent” would potentially not be promised entrance. Hassey said the line monitors are still determining the exact number of those who will be able to “flex tent." By limiting the number of people that are uncertain about whether or not they will gain entry, the line monitors hope to reduce the chance of chaos. 

“The big problem we’re aiming to fix from the walk-up line last year is having a large number of people who are not guaranteed spots and are not sure if they can get in,” Potash said. “The uncertainty of whether or not they’re going to get in caused a lot of that danger.”

Ahead of the game last year, cutting in the line to get registered for the walk-up line was rampant the day before the walk-up line officially began. The chaos spilled into game day, when a drunken mob tried to push through barricades to get into the game, trampling people in its wake. 

Students were seen eating signs, throwing full beer cans at each other and even threatening each other with table legs. Ali Wisner, Trinity '18 and then-line monitor and co-vice president of game day operations, said she was trampled. 

At the time, line monitor Jaxson Floberg, a junior, penned an op-ed entitled "Kill Walk-Up Line," in which he argued fraternity brothers made walk-up line “essentially inhospitable to anyone who doesn’t want to be at a frat party.” 

Fraternities did get into turf wars—one that included throwing full beer cans at each other due to an apparent misunderstanding. In a separate incident, one fraternity tried to use "the People's Elbow"—a move popularized by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson during his WWE years—to break another fraternity's beer pong table. 

There were four alcohol-related emergency medical service incidents on North Carolina game day last year, higher than normal "due to the calls for the walk-up line," said David Mallen, assistant director of the Duke Wellness Center. The drinking and mad rush to get in the game culminated in disaster. 

“It’s come to a point to where it’s not in the best interest of the University, of Duke basketball, of the line monitors and the people in the walk-up line themselves to continue having it this way,” former co-head line monitor Sara Constand, Trinity '18, told The Chronicle in April.

The co-head line monitors said they have established a committee to create more programming for those who don’t want to drink, and have already reserved Card Gym for these activities.

No one claimed responsibility for enforcing alcohol policy last year. 

According to the line monitors’ policies, K-Ville residents are “expected to adhere to all university policies ​relating to the consumption and distribution of alcohol.” 

Last year, Constand said she requested "A-team" support—a group of student, faculty and administration volunteers who Constand said enforce alcohol policy and monitor safety—but did not receive it. Clay Adams, associate dean of students, told The Chronicle he denied the request, citing the Bonfire Safety Program document, noting the A-Team was “limited to ensuring the safe and successful execution of an approved bonfire.”

John Dailey, chief of Duke University Police Department, wrote in an email that alcohol policy is enforced “administratively”—not by police. At the time, he did not respond to a follow-up question about which department specifically is to enforce alcohol policy. 

“The police can only enforce obvious violations of the NC law,” Dailey wrote. 

The Chronicle also asked whether being drunk and disorderly would be an enforceable violation of North Carolina law and if DUPD observed any drunk and disorderly people in K-Ville on game day. Dailey did not respond in time for publication. Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, declined to comment when asked who is supposed to enforce alcohol policy after The Chronicle said that Dailey said it was enforced "administratively."

Potash said that the line monitors are working with the administration in order to have more people out in K-Ville to help with any safety issues that may arise on game day. 

The line monitors hope that reducing the number of people with uncertain fates will decrease the chances of mania. 

“Last year we had hundreds and hundreds of people in the walk-up line and a lot of them had the expectation that they were going to get into the game. That created a lot of the pandemonium,” Hassey said. “This is reducing the number of people that are uncertain about whether or not they’re going to get in.”

Ben Leonard

Managing Editor 2018-19, 2019-2020 Features & Investigations Editor 

A member of the class of 2020 hailing from San Mateo, Calif., Ben is The Chronicle's Towerview Editor and Investigations Editor. Outside of the Chronicle, he is a public policy major working towards a journalism certificate, has interned at the Tampa Bay Times and NBC News and frequents Pitchforks. 


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