In the final days of the first semester, University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk unveiled a new security initiative that he promises will “keep students safe from an impending threat.”
According to a press release from the president’s office, “Mr. Smatresk is calling for a total and complete shutdown of squirrels entering our beautiful campus until our university can figure out what is going on.”
This bold plan arrives in the emotional aftermath of many recent squirrel-related incidents. Most recently, sophomore Claire Watkins, treasurer of the Poetry Society, reported two squirrels running through a poetry reading her group was holding by the fountains outside Willis Library. “I have no idea where they came from, or what their motives were, but they just came running right through our circle, chasing each other and making weird noises,” Watkins said.
The initiative is a major point of debate on campus, as students dropped finals week studying to argue the issue. Students either passionately supported the President’s bold show of leadership, or denounced it as a fear mongering tactic to distract the university from more pressing matters.
Michael Dwyer, a senior international relations major, believes the move is a necessary tactic. “The other day, a squirrel legit nibbled on my PB&J,” Dwyer said. “I know it doesn’t sound as important as the poetry thing, but it’s just proof that this issue is widespread and taking many forms.”
Conversely, junior environmental science major Natalie Parker, said she was “absolutely disgusted” by Smatresk’s plans. “It just baffles me,” she said, “and it feels like we should be focusing on literally anything else. I mean, how does he even plan on doing this?”
The 75-page plan reveals the complex methods by which any and all immigration will be prevented. One such passage, under the headline SOLUTION, indicates that, “the school’s current squirrel population will be rounded up over the course of winter break’s first week, and tiny red ribbons will be hung around their necks as cute, holiday-esque identifiers. This way, we’ll know who the true, Mean Green squirrels are, and we’ll be able to easily snuff out any immigrant squirrels.”
President Smatresk’s security proposal has also been met with considerable ire from other university presidents across the country. President Greg Fenves of the University of Texas at Austin chimed in with a press release denouncing Smatresk: “This is cowardice, plain and simple, and it does not reflect the stringent values that we as public universities in Texas have always held ourselves to.” Presidents from Texas Tech University, Louisiana State University and the University of Southern California also disparaged the plan, and emphasized that their doors are open to squirrels from all over.
Smatresk had not commented as of press time, but his office reiterated the importance of the plan, and added that, “we have not ruled out the possibility of building a wall.”