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The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Dear students,

Following last night’s men’s basketball victory in Chapel Hill, a group of people gathered around a West Campus bench and lit it on fire using accelerants and other debris. Taken without a bonfire permit or assistance from Duke and/or Durham officials, these actions were in violation of local laws and Duke University policy and represent an extraordinary degree of safety risk to the active participants themselves and to other onlookers. We are grateful that no one was harmed and appreciate the assistance of Durham and Duke police and fire officials in extinguishing the fire. 

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards has begun a full investigation of this matter and will follow up immediately with any individual students identified as being involved in the activity. If you have any information to assist in this investigation, please contact conduct@duke.edu.

Current students found responsible for engaging in egregious fire safety violations are subject to sanctions including suspension and/or dismissal from Duke University as well as referral to local authorities for possible civil or criminal investigation. Any non-students identified in this investigation as potentially responsible for egregious and dangerous conduct will also be referred to local officials for possible civil or criminal investigation.  

Duke has a well-established partnership with student leaders and local authorities to host bonfires when our basketball teams win their home game against our rivals or when they win a national championship. Last night’s events were not in accordance with that tradition and have put at risk our ability to secure approvals for future permits.

While we wholeheartedly endorse students engaging in our shared celebratory traditions, they must be done within the boundaries of local and state law as well as University policies.  

Thanks for your attention to this matter.
Jeanna McCullers
Senior Associate Dean & Director,
Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards

Clay Adams
Vice Dean of Students