On Tuesday morning, the University of Virginia awoke to find fliers posted around Grounds that have the potential to dramatically change University life. The fliers, written anonymously, made the controversial but not quite original claim that the entire University is secretly run by the “Hoos for Backgammon” CIO.
The fliers start out by claiming that both the administration and the elected members of Student Council are guilty of multiple high crimes and misdemeanors, including, but not limited to, vaping on Grounds, showing up to parties exactly when they start, not finding Tony Bennett at least somewhat attractive and streaking without saying goodnight to Mr. Jefferson at the end. The fliers failed to mention that none of these are actually illegal, but nevertheless insisted that both administration and StudCo should somehow be punished for their actions.
The fliers then made the claim that these “illegal” actions are a direct result of the fact that both the University administration, including University President Teresa Sullivan, and StudCo are mere puppets of Hoos for Backgammon.
Hoos for Backgammon was founded in 1534 as the first board game based CIO on Grounds. The elitist group has roughly 432 members, with famous alumni including Katie Couric and Edgar Allen Poe, and plays backgammon almost daily. Frightening member testimony suggests that the group can be cult-like. One member, who has chosen to remain anonymous (Jess Miller) told The Cavalier Daily, “I mean, it’s really not that exciting, we just play backgammon [and then we go back to our ritual cave where we drink the blood of our backgammon ancestors while swearing complete loyalty to the leaders of our fearless clan]. It’s pretty chill.”
The fliers based the bulk of their argument on both the cult-like structure of the CIO and the very rules of backgammon itself. Backgammon is a game that relies on a player’s ability to think. Student Council also requires elected representatives to think. The connection between the two, according to the fliers, is simply too similar to be a coincidence. The fliers also claim that Hoos for Backgammon has been known to exclude first- and second-years that they believe are not “fit for such a rigorous game.” An anonymous member (Jess Miller, again) even stated that not getting into Hoos for Backgammon can have a detrimental effect on these students’ careers. “When students are rejected, we try not to be too mean. We just [irreversibly lower their self-esteem and manipulate their grades so they have no choice but to drop out or fail out],” he told The Cavalier Daily on Wednesday.
Besides the stated information, the fliers were severely lacking in supporting evidence for their claim. They did include a “classified” list of about 20 members of the club, although we found the same list on an outdated Facebook page, so that was pretty unimpressive, to say the least. What was impressive was the fliers’ ability to disseminate quickly across Grounds, causing paranoia among students and faculty. By noon on Tuesday, four professors had quit in light of the “scandal” and nearly 100 students were protesting on the Lawn. Unfortunately, the protestors couldn’t agree on one specific spot, so the visual was not quite striking enough to include in this article. Nevertheless, the students shouted and held up signs calling for the resignation of both Sullivan and Dean of Students Allen Groves. A few students even demanded that the University ban backgammon on Grounds, believing the board game to be the root of all evil at the University.
“If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, do you think he’d be playing backgammon?” one protestor told us Tuesday afternoon. “Heck no. He’d be 100 percent against it. Everyone knows that backgammon and corruption are psychologically linked. Backgammon has the same effect on the brain as cocaine or pineapple on pizza.”
Whether or not any of this is true (it isn’t) is for an institution with more prestige than The Cavalier Daily to discern, but students should certainly be aware of the ramifications of these fliers. If these fliers turn out to be true, then it could mean the end of corruption at the University of Virginia. Probably not, since the fliers completely forgot about the millions of dollars of embezzlement going in to the Z Society on a yearly basis. Nevertheless, students could be seeing a very different University come fall 2018, most likely one without backgammon.