DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University’s men’s lacrosse team has been reinstated after team members found to be deficient in language arts successfully completed mandatory counseling, said university president, Richard Brodhead, yesterday. Mr. Brodhead ordered the counseling two months ago after an e-mail written by sophomore team member Ryan McFadyen, 19, of Mendham, N.J., had been made public.
Mr. McFadyen’s e-mail was written early in the morning of March 14, shortly after three white players on the Duke lacrosse team had sexually assaulted a black exotic dancer/student at an off-campus party, according to an affidavit filed by the dancer/student.
“tommrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c,” wrote Mr. McFadyen. “all are welcome. however there will be no nudity. I plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceding to cut their skin off…”
Upon learning of Mr. McFadyen’s e-mail, President Brodhead declared: “Such vile disregard for the canons of good usage reflects poorly not only on our athletic program but also on the university as a whole. Mr. McFadyen’s cavalier disregard for the use of capital letters, his apparent unfamiliarity with the proper function of apostrophes, and his use of however to begin a sentence are inexcusable.”
A source close to the university said that e-mail correspondence found on the hard drive of Mr. McFadyen’s computer suggested he was not the only member of the lacrosse team whose language arts skills belied Duke’s reputation as an elite institution of higher learning.
“Students consistently wrote alot instead of a lot,” said the source. “Many of them put periods and commas outside quotation marks, and they appeared to be woefully unfamiliar with the past perfect tense.”
What made those developments especially troubling to Duke officials was the fact that Mr. McFadyen, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound sophomore, was at the time an Atlantic Coast Conference honor roll player.
“We are well aware,” said President Brodhead, “that such language deficiencies in an honor roll player raise the specter of grade inflation for athletes. Therefore, I am ordering the remainder of the lacrosse season canceled while the university investigates this serious matter. Any member of the team found guilty of substandard usage in e-mails will be put on academic probation.”
University investigators subsequently learned that more than half the lacrosse team qualified for academic probation. The percentage might have been higher but for the fact that many team members use text messaging exclusively to invite their friends over for a night of murdering bitches and skinning them. A lawyer representing those students argued that unconventional usage is “germane to the medium in question and does not reflect a student’s grasp of language arts.”
Rather than face legal obstacles to testing those students, Mr. Brodhead agreed to exempt them from counseling.
President Brodhead required team members placed on probation to complete twenty hours of remedial English classes and to demonstrate proficiency in standard English usage when inviting friends around to kill and skin women. Of the twenty-seven members placed on probation, twelve passed their readmission tests on the first try; seven passed on their second attempt; and eight required three tests in order to pass.
In other news, charges that U.S. troops intentionally killed Iraqi civilians during a March raid on a senior citizen center in Ishaqi, a village north of Baghdad, were dropped when a military tribunal declared it had no jurisdiction to try the soldiers because they were out of uniform when the alleged incident took place.
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