Drawn by Courtney Fehsenfeld
Max Schreiber is a senior Electrical Engineering student who grew up a mile and a half away from Pauly D. He is the president of Interfraternity Council and loves basketball. In fact, he loves basketball so much, he coaches three basketball teams outside of Duke, including one of apparently “inner-city kids where 1 in 10 kids have a father” [sic]. His celebrity crush is Jennifer Aniston. Department Of sat down with him in person at a random conference table in UCAE in order to talk about the three big things threatening Duke as we know it: DKU, a residential college system, and black mold on Central Campus.
Just a friendly reminder: this is a real interview. Like, these are real quotes from the real Max Schreiber.
Department Of: If elected, what will you do about the current state of Duke Basketball?
Max Schreiber: Fire Coach K. Just kidding! Look, the one-and-done model worked really well for us, but I think it would beneficial for Coach K to get the players to stay another year. Imagine if we had Jabari Parker last year! I mean, we won a National Championship, but still. Just imagine! We’re not a one-and-done school.
DO: Apart from basketball, what do you think is the most pressing issue facing the Board of Trustees?
MS: The financial vision of the university. We just spent $100 million dollars on DKU. We had 13 undergraduates use that university since it opened up. Meanwhile, at Stanford, if your family earns less than $120,000 a year, you go for free. And Princeton is $42,000 annual tuition; Duke is $47,000. I know a lot of kids who would choose to go to Stanford or Princeton over Duke, simply because it’s financially better for them. There’s not one person who is choosing to come to Duke over Princeton and Stanford, because we have a campus in China. We spent $100 million on this campus, but what do you say to people on Central who are living in, like…decent slums?
DO: Okay…when you think about Duke itself and the different kinds of projects going on, do you have any conspiracy theories about the university?
MS: I know of a conspiracy theory! I’m mad that this question uses “conspiracy theory,” because it suggests it’s a joking question, but this is a very serious matter.
DO: Okay, serious matter, got a serious face on.
MS: No, I’m serious. There are student leaders–you can go to my website and check this out–with the backing of administration who are working to lay the groundwork to change the housing model from what we have now to a residential college model. I think that a switch to this model would be a total disaster. Without a common room, without residential halls, there is no Mirecourt. There is no AEPi. There’s no DG. We all just became off-campus drinking clubs.
DO: Aren’t those groups effectively already off-campus drinking clubs?
MS: I think if you ask most people where the lifeblood of an organization is, it’s the common room. I spend much more time in my common room as a senior than I do in my own house with my friends. The common room is where the most action happens.
DO: Which dorm were you in first-year?
MS: Wilson dorm. I lived in a suite, three-person triple. I had my own bathroom! Do you know how great it is to have your own bathroom? Oh my god, I miss freshman year so much.
DO: I feel like a lot of people really love first year. They get assigned randomly to a dorm.
DO: The dorm has absolutely no condition for joining it.
DO: It’s a non-selective living group.
DO: How is that any different than a residential college model? Except now we just don’t have to feel like shit come January when you don’t get into the place you want to get into.
MS: Good question. Number 1, when everyone comes in together not knowing anything, it’s a lot easier. Those social pressures as people grow older don’t exist first semester. Number 2, I don’t see any problem with people wanting to choose with whom they live. I just think part of life is you associate with people you want to associate with. We’re better off having people in communities that the students run, not that Duke runs.
DO: You’re president of Interfraternity Council, right? So you can answer this for me: why don’t fraternities admit women? I went to a few rush events, but they told me I couldn’t rush…
MS: Y’know, as far as I’ve heard, there’s some sort of Supreme Court case that says you can legally discriminate in Greek life, which I think is…interesting. Nobody has really made it a big issue. I don’t have a big problem with it, at this time.
DO: If you could admit women, would you want to?
MS: I have, like…I don’t want to say “girl friends,” because that expresses romantic interest, but my female friends haven’t shown any interest in joining AEPi. Actually, I have one who basically claims she’s a member in our chapter. We treat her like a brother.
DO: Approximately how many hours of pledging will freshmen boys be logging per week in order to support your campaign?
MS: Zero. We don’t do pledging and I would never force anybody to support my campaign. I have members of my own chapter who don’t support my campaign.
DO: In a Chronicle column you wrote last semester, you said “the Concerned Students and Duke Enrage protestors have clearly chosen the path of Malcolm X over that of Dr. King; remember, it was MLK who dreamed of change and Malcolm X who demanded it.” Can you confirm that the only thing you know of Martin Luther King Jr. is his “I Have a Dream” speech?
MS: Look I’m not an expert in American history. The only point I’m making there is that if you think of the founding fathers of the civil rights movement, regarding African-Americans, there were basically two schools: the followers of Malcolm X, the followers of Martin Luther King Jr. The only thing I was illustrating there was a dichotomy of tactics.
DO: So what is the Board’s responsibility when it comes to concerns and demands brought forward by student groups? Ignore them? Throw money at them? Expel them? Or, maybe, listen to them?
MS: The Board should make the right decision. Look, this is not that difficult. You listen to what people have to say…as long as they say it in a polite way.
DO: Do you think the Boston Tea Party was polite?
MS: No, I don’t.
DO: Do you think it worked?
DO: So, in a Chronicle column published last February, Tony award winner Richard Riddell said that “Trustees are asked not be advocates for a constituency, but for Duke as a whole, always thinking of what is best to support the overall mission of the University.” What do you think is the overall mission of the University?
MS: To educate and research.
DO: So a few quick questions: about earth, round or flat?
DO: Are you thinking profile pictures or cover photos?
MS: Profile pictures.
DO: Drake or Meek Mill?
MS: Drake… he’s Jewish.
DO: Young Money or Young Trustee?
MS: Young Trustee.
DO: Worst thing you had to do for fraternity pledging?
MS: I didn’t pledge.
DO: Pro or con Duke’s new hoverboard policy?
MS: Duke’s new hoverboard policy? They banned it, correct? Anti.
DO: Would you rather run for a C1 or get to class late?
MS: Run for a C1. I’m never late.
DO: Can you do a good impression of anyone famous?
MS: Hugh Grant.
DO: Can you do it right now?
MS: Look at me. Don’t I look like him now?
DO: Do you have any go-to jokes at a party?
MS: No I’m an on-the-fly guy. C’mon, you saw this interview. You trapped me with that tea party question.
DO: Sorry, not sorry.
MS: Did you have that set-up beforehand?
DO: No, came up with it on the spot.
MS: Look, I’m a listener, so let me make this point: you have forced me to think differently based on that Tea Party question than I originally would have. And I think that’s important for a Young Trustee to be able to think and change their mind…sometimes.
Be sure to vote in the Young Trustee election on February 9 and 10. After all, the vast majority of Duke students don’t, so your vote will count extra, as if you’re in Florida!