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Duke researchers discover Fix My Campus posts dating back to the 1800s

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What do you and a Duke student from the 1800s have in common? You both probably wanted to fix your campus.

“Fix My Campus” is a Facebook group where Duke students make suggestions to better the school. Complaints range from the trivial (see: "Can we get this ugly painting moved?!") to the even more trivial (see: "The bus won't stop for me! No fair!"). Although the group was created in 2013, new research reveals that similar committees date back to the University’s establishment in 1838.

“These findings are remarkable,” the principal investigator of the study wrote in a Facebook message. “They show that students have always been somewhat unreasonable.”

In a special correspondence with the Chronicle, the principal investigator shared transcriptions of the most fascinating Fix My Campus requests through the years.

To: The Society for Repairing the Campus

Regarding: Lighting on campus

Date: December 7, 1840

Unfortunately, as the winter dawneth, the Sun setteth earlier. It be a terribly difficult thing to walk from my evening lectures back to my abode without proper lighting. Could the University perchance install more sconces so that we may have more candle light in the night?

To: The University Society for Fixing Thine Campus

Regarding: Parking on campus

Date: November 2, 1845

Within one fortnight, I received five tickets on my carriage. Allegedly, the carriage was parked marginally outside the designated space. When I went to appeal to the Campus Carriage Parking Police, they told me that all of the tickets were justified. Could we please make the policing of carriage parking more just?

To: The Fix Thine Campus Committee for Pupil Well-Being

Regarding: The Keohane Outhouse

Date: September 24, 1856

I, Court Ravenscroft, would like to formally submit a request to the Committee regarding the Keohane Outhouse. Unfortunately, my fellow pupils are swine and cannot be trusted to properly use the Outhouse. Each time I look to enjoy a bit of leisure time, I find the Outhouse to be backed up. Is there anything that the Committee can do to improve the drains in the Outhouse? Or can they build more?

To: The Committee for Fixing the Campus

Regarding: The C1 Train

Date: October 19, 1901

Good afternoon. I find that the C1 train is often stuck on the tracks, and I miss my classes on the Western Campus on account. Could we please invest in improving the C1 tracks?

To:  The League of Campus Fixing

Regarding: Sliced bread!!

Date: January 29, 1928

Hi! You may have heard of the newfangled sliced bread. I think I speak for a lot of students when I say we would greatly appreciate having sliced bread on campus. Could the Lobby Shop start stocking it?

To: The United Fixers of Campus

Regarding: The Shuttles

Date: April 20, 1959

I am so grateful that the University has introduced shuttles to replace the East-West trains. However, I find that there is no good way to track the shuttles. When the town crier announces the distance of the forthcoming shuttle, he is usually wrong. Let’s get him some new glasses, no?

The principal investigator said she would like to do more research on these campus repair committees in the future.

“This historical information holds the key to understanding the privilege of the Duke student today,” she wrote.

Monday Monday is not responsible for any anachronisms in this article. Monday Monday is a fourth dimensional being, and they see all timelines at once. Time is meaningless.


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