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First bonfire since 2013 draws large crowd at Cannon Green on Sunday, Nov. 18. Photo by Silma Berrada.


In response to concerns that the University’s bonfire tradition prioritized the success of the football team over other athletic teams, the University has enacted a new policy. In order to celebrate a bonfire, all varsity athletic teams will need to beat Harvard and Yale in the same year.

“We are extremely excited to announce our new bonfire policy,” said a University statement released Tuesday. “The new rules allow us to maintain a historic University tradition while continuing to strive toward our institutional ideals of inclusivity and equality.”

The University’s most recent bonfire came in 2018, after the football team beat Harvard 29–21 and Yale 59–43. Head football coach Bob Surace ’90, who coached his team to an undefeated season in 2018, said he did not have a problem with the new policy.

“We feel like it gives the campus community a chance to celebrate the achievements of all the University’s fantastic athletes,” he said. “Besides, what’s so hard about, like, not losing?”

Some have expressed concern that such lofty conditions to earn a bonfire will effectively eliminate the practice. The Daily Princetonian’s thorough historical investigation did not yield a single instance of a year in which every varsity team went undefeated against Harvard and Yale.

The University statement anticipated this issue.

“Some may worry that our new policy makes achieving a bonfire impossible,” it read. “But we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Also, consistently beating teams from mediocre institutions like Harvard and Yale shouldn’t be that much of a challenge for our student athletes.”

Others worried that the new policy would further extend the already long bonfire ceremony.

“If I had to listen to 37 different teams talk, I would probably just stay in the library working on my problem sets,” said one concerned student, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussion from the University deep state.

Immediately following the announcement, uncertainties remain with the policy. For example, would teams that play Harvard and Yale multiple times a year have to go undefeated against them or merely beat them each once?

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” said director of athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan ’91.

The new policy also seems to have created a stir for some in the University’s club sports community, who have expressed resentment at their own exclusion from the bonfire tradition.

“Our sport has been disrespected for too long,” said Michael Li ’20, an officer for the Princeton club archery team. “The bonfire shouldn’t happen unless we outshoot Harvard and Yale.”

Li is a former staff copy editor for the ‘Prince,’ who quit because he was unable to handle the daily grind of the copy editing schedule.

This article is part of The Daily Princetonian’s annual joke issue. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

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