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What gets Blue Devils fired up?

As Cameron Crazies prepare for one of the most anticipated games of the season, the jubilant anticipatory buzz has been disrupted slightly by a recent administrative decision regarding the annual pre-game gathering in K-Ville. Last week, administration announced that only those who tented for the Carolina-Duke game would be granted entrance to Krzyzewskiville between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. This procedural change comes after last year’s drunken mob fiasco and lax alcohol enforcement. As a result, a Facebook event has surfaced—with over 400 students marked as either going or interested—entitled “K-Ville Peaceful Protest”. The description of the event states that the protest will primarily be a tailgate and linked to another event called “Abele Quad ‘Kville’ Tailgate.”

The concern at hand is not necessarily the frustration that students cannot congregate to participate in drunken camaraderie over sports—the quintessential collegiate pastime. Rather, it’s the amount of vigor and energy behind rallying for something so trivial compared to the limited student mobilization around issues such as threats of health care being taken away from the financial aid package or current ICE raids across North Carolina

This instance of selective and self-serving student organizing not an outlier on campus. The event follows a history of  consumer-oriented student “activism,” such as outrage over Grace’s Cafe and Quenchers shutting down. Another recent example is the energized momentum behind Young Trustee campaigns which are, by and large, facetiously pitched to students as bringing about progressive change on campus, when it will mostly just serve the university as an institution, powerful people with investments in the university and the Young Trustee’s résumé. While a large portion of the undergraduate population is hesitant to get involved in organizing around issues like a much-needed hate and bias policy or graduate student financial precarity, students jump to rally around the famous campus cat, Peaches, for housing and healthcare. Or to bring Cardi B to campus through Tinder. Or to donate to a GoFundMe for bringing former UMBC point guard K. J. Maura to attend the Duke men’s basketball home game against Virginia. The list goes on. 

This editorial isn’t a crusade against fun, but rather a suggestion that students think with more depth about their energy and how it is mismatched between minute issues and systemic issues, between the self and the greater fabric of society. One only needs to read a few articles each semester to realize that Duke is chronically embroiled in scandal. The question is how we can form community around social joys, but also social injustice—towards a more just and equitable world for all. Current—and some evergreen—issues that desperately require more student engagement include annual tuition increases, formation of a Hate and Bias policy, housekeeping schedule and locations changes that have now been scrapped, ICE raids breaking apart families in Durham, and Duke’s ethically concerning investments

There’s a recurring lack of critical, meaningful political education at Duke encouraging the growth of more rigorous student-citizens. Duke students ought to reorient themselves towards an “and” rather than an “or” mentality. You can be bummed about the K-Ville changes and recognize the larger issues that need student attention; the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but to have the former without the latter is a troubling allocation of time and investment. Your quickly disintegrating paper straw and your overpriced samosas are surely ills to be rectified, but maybe also keep that same energy to also grapple with the timeless, overarching systemic injustices that have plagued Duke for years.

This was written by The Chronicle’s Editorial Board, which is made up of student members from across the University and is independent of the editorial staff. 

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