Satire: Rats outside Cassell and McDowell halls finally brings a sense of community to AU

Explosion in rat population labeled as “welcome sight” by administration

Satire: Rats outside Cassell and McDowell halls finally brings a sense of community to AU

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

The sounds of scampering feet echoed throughout the empty, dead-end alleyway that leads to the McDowell-Cassell construction site. It was midnight on Nov. 3, the day the clocks went back for daylight saving time. During the extra hour of darkness, the nightly plague of AU’s tens of thousands of rats ravaged through the alcoholic seltzer-filled trash cans.    

“They’re here again,” sophomore Zeke Newton said, shivering in his Fur Vault coat as he watched a rat choke on plastic clearly misplaced in the trash can. “This is prime hunting time for them.”

In this explosion of mass vermin, some students looked back to a time when there were fewer rats and other disease-ridden animals on campus. 

“It used to only be in the dorms,” junior Freddy Nietzsche said. “I can remember hearing the squeaking through the thin walls of my room in Letts. Wait, actually, that might not have been a rat.” 

Between the heroic dashes into the University’s sewer system and confrontations with rabbits, the rats have provided much intrigue for students in the area. 

“It’s absolutely fascinating,” says junior Roberta Jenkins, a “Wonk Rat” watcher and Rodentology major. “I just love the way they disappear into the shrubbery around here. You never know where they’re gonna pop up once they’re gone!”

The rat population is so large that some may be beginning to think that famous rodent celebrities have now joined campus life.

“I’m telling you, I saw Stuart Little driving away from a construction worker the other day,” senior Indigo Maroon said. “I’m not kidding. There was a camera crew and everything.” 

While some students have been shocked and haunted by the thought of rats, most have grown used to the sight of them.

“I don’t even get startled anymore when I see one zip across the sidewalk,” sophomore Uma Sheffield said. “There’s like 20 generations of rats now, so this place would practically become a cultural heritage site if we got rid of them.” 

Others have questioned the administration’s decision to let the rats run freely.

“They’re living rent-free while I’m paying thousands,” says freshman Jeffrey Kox. “It’s not the problem of how gross the thought of that is; it’s an issue of ethics. Where is my free room and board?”

The administration responded to the electrifying rat population in its monthly newsletter. 

“We need a heightened sense of community,” President Sylvia Burwell wrote. “With no frat parties or tailgates to get black-out drunk at, this new community of rats will remind students that getting C’s isn’t the only thing they should be worried about.”

The newly welcomed neighbors are accordingly transitioning to life as Eagles, and surely soon, the thought of rats will be met not with snickers, but with the resounding squeals of “Rattus Rattus.”

Justin Poulin is a sophomore in the School of International Service, and is a satire columnist at the Eagle.

jpoulin@theeagleonline.com 

Print version: The sounds of scampering feet echoed throughout the empty, dead-end alleyway that leads to the McDowell-Cassell construction site. It was midnight on Nov. 3, the day the clocks went back for daylight savings time. During the extra hour of darkness, the nightly plague of AU’s tens of thousands of rats ravaged through the alcoholic seltzer-filled trash cans.    

“They’re here again,” sophomore Zeke Newton said, shivering in his Fur Vault coat as he watched a rat choke on plastic clearly misplaced in the trash can. “This is prime hunting time for them.”

In this explosion of mass vermin, some students looked back to a time when there were fewer rats and other disease-ridden animals on campus. 

“It used to only be in the dorms,” junior Freddy Nietzsche said. “I can remember hearing the squeaking through the thin walls of my room in Letts. Wait, actually, that might not have been a rat.” 

Between the heroic dashes into the University’s sewer system and confrontations with rabbits, the rats have provided much intrigue for students. 

“It’s absolutely fascinating,” says junior Roberta Jenkins, a “Wonk Rat” watcher and Rodentology major. “I just love the way they disappear into the shrubbery around here. You never know where they’re gonna pop up once they’re gone!”

The rat population is so large that some may be beginning to think that famous rodent celebrities have now joined campus life.

“I’m telling you, I saw Stuart Little driving away from a construction worker the other day,” senior Indigo Maroon said. “I’m not kidding. There was a camera crew and everything.” 

While some students have been shocked and haunted by the thought of rats, most have grown used to the sight of them.

“I don’t even get startled anymore when I see one zip across the sidewalk,” sophomore Uma Sheffield said. “There’s like 20 generations of rats now, so this place would practically become a cultural heritage site if we got rid of them.” 

Others have questioned the administration’s decision to let the rats run freely.

“They’re living rent-free while I’m paying thousands,” says freshman Jeffrey Kox. “It’s not the problem of how gross the thought of that is; it’s an issue of ethics. Where is my free room and board?”

The administration responded to the electrifying rat population in its monthly newsletter. 

“We need a heightened sense of community,” President Sylvia Burwell wrote. “With no frat parties or tailgates to get black-out drunk at, this new community of rats will remind students that getting C’s isn’t the only thing they should be worried about.”

The newly welcomed neighbors are accordingly transitioning to life as Eagles, and surely soon, the thought of rats will be met not with snickers, but with the resounding squeals of “Rattus Rattus.”

Justin Poulin is a sophomore in the School of International Service, and is a satire columnist at the Eagle.

jpoulin@theeagleonline.com

This article originally appeared in The Eagle's December 2019 print edition.

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