“We have but one rule - that every student must be a gentleman.”
— Robert E. Lee
Satirical Spectator: Cephalopod De-Stress Event

Satirical Spectator: Cephalopod De-Stress Event

Patrick Jackal -

As mid-terms and finals roll around, one tradition at W&L consistently stands out: The Doggie De-Stress Event. The event acts as a haven for desperate students when college life becomes too stressful (as opposed to paying bills, raising kids, saving for retirement, or waiting at the DMV in the real world), usually around exam time. While the dogs who provide their services have done an admirable job of cheering up college students, the wider world of Emotional Support Animals has moved on from the drab and cliché comforts garnered from petting a perfectly good dog or cat. Emotional Support Animals in use across the United States by people who can only deal with the natural stress of life by constantly petting a small animal now include rabbits, pigs, ferrets, peacocks, bearded dragons, boa constrictors, and turtles.

Throwing the hallowed tradition of dogs-only therapy animals for the De-Stress Event, Washington and Lee University has decided to diversify its therapy animal roster. This mid-term week in February W&L will introduce the newest member of its therapy animal family: an octopus named Jules Verne. The three-foot long common octopus was acquired from Sea World, and he will be housed in a specialized saltwater tank in Telford Science Library and will be available for cuddling to all students beginning February 11, 2018. Similar to the calming effects that boa constrictor coils have had on patients suffering severe anxiety, the tentacles and suckers of the nicknamed “Stress-topus” are anticipated to have a soothing effect on tired and overstressed students by caressing them with the simulated tenderness of a human mother.

The move to adopt Jules Verne as a therapy animal represents a small crawl for a single cephalopod, but a huge leap in the fight for invertebrate representation in the therapy animal community. W&L also plans to incorporate the cephalopod into campus merchandise. Shirts and hats adorned with the slogan “Feel the Verne” will soon be unveiled in the campus store.

Staff at Leyburn Library reported that if Jules Verne proves to of be as successful a therapy animal as hoped, W&L may take further steps to increase the diversity and inclusiveness therapy animals on campus. They commented that some candidates for future adoption include sea cucumbers, crabs, ostriches, and Tasmanian devils.

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