Don’t equate stunts with violence

By Bryan Nicholson

The disturbance in Foellinger Hall described in yesterday’s DI was a hoax. How can I be so certain that it wasn’t an anguished student’s cry for help? Three years ago I witnessed a nearly identical incident as a TA sitting through an American History survey lecture. Without warning, a young man began shouting at a teddy bear, accusing it of infidelity. Like the hundreds of bystanders who saw the outburst, I initially wondered whether the young man was mentally ill or merely had poor taste in lovers. Only when he bounded up the aisle and onto the stage next to the professor was it clear that he was pulling a prank. I rushed the stage and confronted the student, at which point the prankster and his ursine accomplice ran out of the building. When campus police arrived a few moments later to take a report, they seemed nonplussed by the story, leading me to believe that these things happen all the time at the U of I.

Campus security is a legitimate concern, but DI readers would be better served if ace reporter Mark Rivera avoided confusing juvenile stunts with school violence.