Guest Column: Preserve our beloved Pit

Guest columnist the Balrog of Morgoth says: The dangers of a bottomless abyss far outweigh its benefits

By now we’ve all heard rumors about plans to renovate the Pit. I’m sure I speak for everyone associated with UNC when I say that we shouldn’t take this task lightly. The Pit has been the site of so many student experiences and so much political activity. Its essential character must therefore be preserved.

With this in mind, let me be the first to come out and say it: The Pit should not be made bottomless.

Now, before you get too riled up, I’m not against bottomless pits in general. They’ve served a wide variety of uses in the past and made memorable appearances in “Teen Girl Squad,” “300” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” But would removing the brick floor of a beloved campus landmark and exposing the firey depths beneath really be what’s best for UNC?

If there’s a practical use for a bottomless pit near campus, that’s fine. The free market will take care of that. But the prohibitive cost of fighting potential lawsuits from the Pit’s victims cannot be justified by the administration given how much of UNC’s money is already pouring into a similarly interminable chasm outside the New York law office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Some have floated the idea as a way of displacing Gary Birdsong, also known as the Pit Preacher, from UNC’s campus. I, too, chuckle at the irony of replacing his erstwhile stomping grounds with an entryway to Hell itself. But is a joke really worth the chilling effect this move would have on the campus’ free speech?

Students have historically had a hard time making their voices heard as they plummet through inky blackness.

It’s also not clear to me that tearing apart the spacetime continuum at the campus’ center would provide similar opportunities for student activism and extracurricular involvement. Gary Birdsong’s absence might be welcomed, but what of the nighttime breakdancers, the bikers to Uganda and the overzealous longboarders? Where will they go?

I understand that the Pit badly needs an update. But instead of testing the bounds of infinite nothingness, the space could be better used as a dynamic concert venue.

This is also a valuable opportunity to make the Pit more accessible to those in wheelchairs — something simply removing the earth from under it would fail to achieve.

Thanks for reading.

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