Here at the Campus Times, we strive to have as many perspectives included within our articles and among our staff. CT has recently achieved many technological advancements, including an animal translator. We like to keep these things under wraps so that’s why you’re only hearing about it now. Don’t worry about the fact that some of us glow green occasionally, that’s for another, completely unrelated project. 

Johnny (his English name) is a chipmunk, and our new inside reporter. We hid our animal translator underneath a sweater, and sent him out to investigate what animals get up to when humans aren’t around. Here’s what we were able to piece together from Johnny’s notes and the audio feedback:

In the early hours of the morning with the cover of darkness and the moon high in the sky, a community of animals met at the stoop of a groundhog hole on the hill beside Jackson Court. Here they could meet in private without us trying to shove microphones and cameras in their faces… Yes, I can see where we went wrong with that.

Rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, skunks, and deer alike gathered round, waiting for their groundhog professors to emerge. Basically, presenting a paradise for anyone who follows the uofr_animals page on Instagram. Maybe we could hope to see the newly discovered Blondeboi as a guest lecturer.

What sounded like a small opossum, later discovered to be named Magdalen, addressed Johnny in her squeaky voice.

“Hey Johnny! Have they started yet? I was afraid I was gonna be late. I got held up at an impromptu photoshoot. Humans get really interested when they find me in a trashcan…not sure why… What are you wearing? Is that a sweater? You know, camouflage sweaters aren’t in right now.”

Apparently, CT’s nonexistent costume department needed to step up its game.

Before Johnny could reply, seven groundhogs shuffled out from the hole and formed a straight line. We have named them accordingly with their local haunts.

Professor Danforth can usually be seen peeking out from the hole underneath the dining hall Professor Eastman usually surveys the quad that shares her name. Professors Wilde, Anderson, and O’Brien all reside on Jackson Court Hill, chasing each other around and interrupting humans’ recreational fun and canoodling. Professor Sage is the youngest, and spends her days contemplating nature’s beauty behind the art center.

Of course, as we know, there are many more groundhogs on campus, but these are the most frequent professors doling out knowledge to the animal community. Professor Danforth stepped forward and addressed the group:

“Welcome back everyone.”

Professor Eastman retreated into a hole and came back out dragging a lofty piece of cloth behind her. She pinched the edge of the cloth and extended it in front of her.

“Can anyone tell me what this is?”

“I’ve seen the humans around campus wearing those,” Magdalen said. “So many different colors and shapes. Some wearing it above the nose, some below the nose. I think it’s a new fashion trend.”

“We believe it’s called [a mask].”

“What’s it for?”

“We’re not completely sure,” Professor Eastman said. “The rest of the professors and I have surveyed the signs around campus. It seems as though humans are now required to wear the [masks] at all times and stay away from each other.”

“I believe it’s pronounced [masqué]. It’s French, you know. Must be all the rave if so many people are wearing them,” Magdalen said.

“Or maybe air pollution finally caught up with them…” someone else said.

“Oh I know!” Johnny said.

Oh no… he’s going off the cuff. We did not approve this.

“Their immune systems have weakened, leaving them completely vulnerable. Meaning it’s finally time for ANIMAL DOMINATION!”

Only the sound of crickets could be heard until Professor Eastman said, “No, Johnny… just no.”

(Editor’s note: We are looking for a new inside reporter. Johnny seems a little unhinged. Let us know if you’re interested.)

“From what we were able to deduce,” Professor Eastman said. “We think there is a disease on the loose.”

Chaos broke out amongst the animals.

“That’s the first I’m hearing of this—”

“Which one of you busters started it?”

“Is it the plague?”

“I don’t have no fleas! I’m good—”

“Chester, I thought you didn’t have rabies anymore!”

“My mange is all cleared up, I swear!”

“QUIET,” Professor Eastman said. “We need to figure out what’s going on […] and this is an excellent way to start class assignments. Professor Danforth, I’ll hand it back to you.”

“Thank you,” Professor Danforth said. “In this class we already study humans as a way to better our community. This is just another opportunity, think of that way. Try to be brave.”

“I’m ready to take on anything, Professor!” Magdalen said.

“Good,” Professor Danforth said. “Because you’ll have to be. We have divided you into task forces to assess the situation on campus and learn as much about what these masks mean as possible. I believe in all of you.”

“Humans are messy, irresponsible creatures,” Professor Eastman added. “They cause a lot of problems and have a hard time solving them. This says a lot about whoever’s leading them… But we must not let this affect us. We must be better.”

The animals cheered and rallied together. Assignments were doled out and the class ended with a promise for another one the following week.

Seems as though we think more of the animal community than they do of us, but I guess we’re just not as cute. What a shock they’re in for when they discover COVID-19 and learn how stupid and irresponsible humans are being. They were right on track with that. Just a reminder, we would like coverage of the next class of this “groundboi night school.” We had to let Johnny go, so any animals out there, please don’t be shy! We’d love for you to be a part of CT and share your story.

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