Duke Still Smarting from Loss, Bans UNC Robertson Scholars

Duke University may open its classes to some students from Carolina, but there’s no home for rival Tar Heels in Krzyzewskiville.

That’s the verdict of Duke student leaders, according to the Associated Press, as well as reluctant administrators who upheld a student government decision to ban some beneficiaries of a joint scholarship program from this year’s campout for Duke basketball fans.

Krzyzewskiville, named after Duke basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski, is a tent city where students wait in line for weeks to obtain good seats in the adjacent Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The interlopers in question are part of the Robertson Scholars, a $24 million scholarship effort that enables a select group of students from Duke and UNC to take courses at both universities.

Participants are supposed to have full student privileges on both campuses, including access to athletic events.

But last season, a group of Robertson scholars from UNC went to the Tar Heels-Blue Devils game at Duke and sat in the student section wearing Carolina blue.

It was a colossal affront at one of the season’s hottest games. The 13th-ranked Tar Heels held off No. 1 Duke 83-76.

Duke’s student senate voted last month to bar Chapel Hill’s Robertson scholars from Krzyzewskiville, saying their actions ruined the game for many Duke students last season.

Larry Moneta, Duke’s vice president for student affairs, said that administrators believe the decision is “over the top” but that it would be wrong for them to get involved.

“To force anything, even if we could, would just exacerbate the animosity and the tension,” Moneta said. “We thought it was a mistake to take a prohibitionist approach. But we’re going to leave it up to the students to work it out.”

Former UNC political science professor Eric Mlyn, the Robertson program’s executive director, said the ban is unfair. Mlyn said he scolded UNC Robertson scholars for their behavior at last season’s game.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that what Duke Student Government has done is a clear violation of the spirit of the Robertson Scholars Program,” Mlyn said.

Kevin Troy, a spokesman for Duke Student Government President Elliott Wolf, said the campout ban doesn’t necessarily stop UNC-based Robertsons from getting into the game. They can try to buy tickets on the day of the game that are held for walk-up sales, he said.

“If we were running afoul of contractual obligations [of the scholars program], then the university would have the power to step in,” Troy said. “We’re not, which is why they’re not doing anything.”

The Tar Heels will visit Duke this season Feb. 7.

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