Students welcome Why-too-kay spirit

Critical Voice

Save the Spirit representatives slung nets from classroom ceilings in Blegen Hall to prepare for their year-end protest the University’s plans to destroy itself.
The student group’s membership was drastically reduced from 1,300 to 13 after the Board of Regents unanimously approved measures to demolish all campus buildings, cut down trees and tear down any structure more than five feet in height.
The student group has been active since September, working on efforts to embrace the Why-too-kay spirit that University officials wish to avoid.
“Sending jitters through the University’s computer system is only the tip of the spirit iceberg,” said Paul Planner from the University’s Emergency Planning and Management department.
“Students don’t realize the Why-too-kay will bring down buildings, trees and everything else if we don’t,” Planner said. “If we do it first, it will be handled in a responsible manner and prevent much greater disaster.”
Calling the measures a “bunch of hogwash,” Save the Spirit students devised a netting system to keep themselves out of reach of the University officials scouring the campus looking for spirit supporters.
“Spirits are a good thing,” Ima Believer, one of the Save the Spirit representatives, told regents before they voted unanimously to destroy the campus. “We shouldn’t run away from the Why-too-kay.”
Students who publicly support the spirit could lose their academic standing and face felony charges, Believer said.
“But if not us, then who?” she asked.
Believer outlined the group’s plan, which includes waiting out the five days before New Year’s Day in hand-crocheted nets and stockpiling perishable food stuffs, alcohol and other necessities to make it through the millennium-end event.
However, Believer does not have the support of the University’s president.
“I want it all taken down; I want it as flat as a pancake,” University President Mark Yudof told regents at Thursday’s emergency meeting. “We’ve been told by our experts in the Department of Sixth Sense that the Why-too-kay spirit will attack at midnight on New Year’s Eve and bring doom and gloom if we don’t act quickly.
“My thinking is that, because of our responsibility to the public’s trust, we need to act proactively,” Yudof said.
Always the attorney, Yudof insisted that the University will not violate the contractual terms of its land-grant obligations as long as the flattening efforts honor the common-law limits of five feet under and above ground.
“The University is a leader in this,” Yudof said. Other Big Ten universities have already contacted University officials for advice about how to handle the spirit as it attacks nationwide, he added.
Yudof also told regents the flattening fits his plans for a user-friendly University, because fewer buildings means less possibilities of getting lost. He asked regents to approve shortening existing signs to accommodate the five-foot height limit.
Marching outside the Morrill Hall regents meeting, Buck Samuelson, freshman alcohol-studies major, protested with a sandwich-board that read: “I want Spirits.”
He was confused.
Samuelson said he thought regents were voting on a one-year exemption for free beer in student housing, not ghostbusting.
Regents ignored Samuelson and slipped out the side door after the meeting. They waited in Yudof’s office until nightfall rather than address media questions.
Hoping to outwit the throng of reporters, Maureen Reed, regent vice chairwoman, snuck out a side door only to find herself confronted by spirited protesters practicing netting methods in the stairwell.
After a round of protester questions, Reed defended the University decision because it conflicted with Minnesota Nice, one of the University’s new initiatives.
“This Why-too-kay thing is scary,” Reed said. “And scary things are not nice.”
Gov. Jesse Ventura refused to comment on the University’s decision, citing the University’s autonomy in its decision-making.
But then he did comment.
“Students need to take personal responsibility for their lives,” Ventura said. “If that is what these 13 students see as best, then that is what they should do. But they better be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions.” Ventura later said he was misquoted.
Former Gov. Arne Carlson wasn’t asked, but weighed in on the issue, anyway, saying he supports the measure and added he is a scaredy cat himself when it comes to ghosts.
“The protesters are seriously jeopardizing their safety and the safety of others on campus,” said Billy Stick, one of the legion of University Police officers who plan to cut the students from their airborne lofts.
“This spirit thing is real,” Stick said. “It is the end of campus as we know it, and we must act rationally and responsibly.
“Cut the trees; fill the river; burn the buildings,” he said. “We must flatten everything and destroy anything that could be fodder for the demon spirit.”
Officials from the Changeover Year Department supported the University’s decision despite contradictory evidence.
Norm Standard, the department’s annual-ethicist specialist, said statistically speaking, the protesters are correct in their analysis of the year-end situation.
However, given the numbers supporting the hysteria, Standard said that the majority-rules ethical standard applies and agreed with Yudof’s assessment of the situation.
“You really must go with what everyone else says and does,” Standard said. “Otherwise, it makes people question things, which would be way too uncomfortable at a university as large and as public as the U.”
But protesters said the norm is not always the best way to go, so they will hang high in protest.
“It is a matter of free speech, religion and spirits,” said Bettie Rulebreaker.
“They should be careful. This is the University and sacred land and all,” Rulebreaker said. “Years from now, they will look back and see what they have lost and regret their decisions.”

At the year’s end, Critical Voice can be found on a faraway island espousing her own lofty idealism to anyone who will listen.