On Wednesday, a day before the rescheduled UNC-Duke basketball matchup, the rivalry had already inspired some mischief, in the form of vandalism on UNC’s campus.
As The Daily Tar Heel first reported, a few buildings on UNC’s campus were spraypainted with familiar slogans early Wednesday morning.
Randy Young, UNC’s Department of Public Safety spokesman, tells WCHL that the graffiti either badmouthed UNC, or mentioned Duke.
“There were three that were reported to us today, said Young. “And we all believe that it’s, in all likelihood, related incidents.”
Those were at the South Building, the Campus Y and the Student Union.
Another incident was reported recently, regarding NC State-themed graffiti painted in red against a red façade. UNC Public Safety officers believe that incident happened earlier this season.
Young says that, fortunately, vandalism like this doesn’t happen every year.
“Some folks feel that it’s a longstanding tradition,” he says. “There have been incidents that dated back decades, of course. It is not something that happens every single year.
“Prank or not, we do take it very seriously when it comes to matters of damage to university property – as would any officials as Duke University as well.”
And, he adds, anybody getting caught committing vandalism could be in for serious legal trouble.
Young says that cooperation between UNC’s public safety officers and their counterparts at Duke regarding this issue is where all attitudes about a rivalry get put aside.
So he warns against any UNC students committing some equal form of retaliation.
“If there’s information that we can work in collaboration to arrive at with Duke University police, then we don’t rule that out as well.”
Young has a request for people walking around UNC’s campus, at this, or any time of year.
“We would like to say to the campus community and beyond that if anybody sees suspicious activity – and this is not just related to this series of incidents, but any incident on campus, that they call 911,” Young says.
Young says that while he appreciates the tradition of pranks and one-upsmanship, there’s no reason that graffiti needs to cause expensive damage.
“We have a cube, upon which things can be painted for free expression in our pit area,” Young says. “Folks have not availed themselves of that.”
He can’t recall too many folks getting caught for spraying game-related graffiti on campus, but there was one memorable incident.
“There were some folks, a number of years ago, that spray-painted, using red paint, on the eve of the University of North Carolina and NC State basketball game,” he recalls.
“And some graffiti was put on the bell tower, and other prominent areas of campus. I believe we were able to identify those folks because they were fairly proud of the artwork and had posted it on Facebook.”