For safety reasons, please refrain from building any snow enclosures on campus. Specifically, the policy states:
Tents, igloos, or similar enclosures may not be present inside or on the grounds of any dormitory, without the written permission of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students and the Housing Office.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Sincerely, The Housing Department
Dear The Housing Department,
Thank you for your recent email—the radio silence regarding the rampant lawlessness on campus during last week’s snow day was, in a word, chilling. I need not tell you that the illegal snow enclosures were of far greater concern to me than the historically massive blizzard raging, as the Italians say, alfresco.
I believe it would be a gross dereliction of my duty as a member of this community to remain passive in the face of tomfoolery. Implicit in the Honor Code is the concept that good citizenry requires not only one’s own fidelity to the rules and regulations but also a constant vigilance against subversive elements. Some may call this “tattling” or “snitching”; I call it a patriot’s truest duty.
To that end I took the initiative to catalogue, and begin the destruction of, snow enclosures in and around campus dormitories. Sadly, I fear the snow enclosures I found within the dorms themselves will not endure long enough for a complete investigation. With regard to the snow enclosures outside the dormitories, I presented the offending students with the appropriate literature and attempted to restore the snow to its original horizontal formation with my shovel. Unfortunately I was rebuffed and met with a barrage of snowballs; one of the offenders even implanted my head in one of the larger snowmen on Alexander Beach.
I am confident that your department will be requesting a complete enumeration of the rule-breaking activities I observed during the snow day. As such, I have taken liberty of reproducing my day in its entirety. I have tried to be as thorough as possible.
Diary of Events:
6:13 a.m. – The night before the “snow day” I ask all the students on my hall if they think we’ll have the day off. I plan on waking up all the students who answer “yes” to make sure they get to class on time. Am deeply disappointed when the email comes in saying classes are cancelled, but I feel a little better after I wake them all up anyways.
6:45 a.m. – Unable to go back to sleep, I busy myself taking stock of my emergency provisions. I have plenty of iodine for water, a pound of the homemade raccoon jerky my mother sent me, two pairs of wool socks, and a copy of Atlas Shrugged. By my own estimation I can survive in my room alone for thirteen days. My previous “high score” had only been ten days, but I feel confident in my ability to go the distance if necessary. It might get dangerous out there.
8:23 a.m. – Scale one of the large trees in the Joline courtyard so as to monitor illicit snow activities.
8:31 a.m. – Fall out of large tree in the Joline courtyard after a combination of snow, my own girth, and my backpack full of rocks proves to be too heavy for the branch. For the first time all day, I wish there was more snow on the ground.
11:43 a.m. – Released from McCosh. After explaining to Doctor why I must be released, he says it’s impossible to tell whether I suffered massive head trauma in the fall or if I am “like this all the time.” I tell him it’s probably the latter and he lets me go.
12:32 p.m. – Lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup. snow enclosure. I squirt pepper spray into the igloo to evacuate any would-be offenders; unfortunately the enclosure is vacant. Upon looking into the igloo to ensure no one is inside, I accidently inhale a large quantity of the pepper spray and collapse.
1:02 p.m. – Come across first illegal snow enclosure. I squirt pepper spray into the igloo to evacuate any would-be offenders; unfortunately the enclosure is vacant. Upon looking into the igloo to ensure no one is inside, I accidently inhale a large quantity of the pepper spray and collapse.
2:34 p.m. – Begin to regain sight.
3:04 p.m. – Come across functioning hot tub outside of Little. Can’t find any violations of housing policy but am deeply suspicious of its permissibility. Recommend a thorough investigation to three passing Public Safety officers. They inform me they have to find “some moron who’s spraying pepper spray in igloos” first. I salute and wish them luck.
3:32 – I come across another snow enclosure. Owner can produce a letter from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students but not a letter from your housing department. I then attempt to repurpose the offender’s hot chocolate as a snow-melting agent. (This is how I end up with hot chocolate burns on my upper thigh.)
4:45 p.m. – Cold, dejected, and still seared, I return to my room. Consider watching The Empire Strikes Back, since it would be appropriate both for its snow-bound setting on the planet Hoth and for the positive portrayal of a totalitarian regime triumphing against an illegal rebel uprising. Fall asleep instead.
11:43 p.m. – Still groggy, I pull on my boots and snow pants and wade out into the unknown. Rumor has it that classes will resume tomorrow; there’s a lot of cleaning up to be done and I want to play my part. In my drowsy state, however, I run over one of these blasted snow enclosures, inad- vertently burying the two students inside.
11:57 p.m. – After spending eleven minutes searching unsuccessfully for the Jaws of Life, I finally dig the students out of the snow. Due either to the cold or the empty bottles littering the igloo, one student shows his gratitude by regurgitating the day’s intake on me and stumbling off, saying something about a WaWa hoagie.
The one thing that continually shocked me in my interactions with the rule-breakers was their inability to accept the idea that the rule against snow enclosures exists, and I quote from your email directly, for safety reasons. In response to their skepticism I provided them with several hypothetical situations in which a snow enclosure could pose a serious hazard to small children, the elderly, visiting professors, Provost Christopher Eisgruber, divinity students, members of the 1981 Ivy League champion Princeton men’s basketball team, and the greater Princeton/Plainsboro community. (Chief among them was the probability that such structures could provide refuge for all sorts of nature’s most vicious creatures, such as squirrels, black bears and international students.)
It is easy to dismiss the offending students as harmless; my experience shows precisely the opposite. Even though the mainstream media may portray their snow dalliances as whimsical and naïve, the threat is real. They are often vicious and always dangerous; swift, decisive action must be taken. And I think we both know the only appropriate remedy.
Public safety must be armed!
I want the world to remember that snowy Wednesday in February and say, “never again.” Never again will we allow the illegal erection of igloos. Never again will we accept the derision of the housing code. Never again will we stand idly by.
These are times of danger and uncertainty, but I’d like to leave you with an inspirational quotation from one of my favorite historical figures, Joseph Stalin. Remember, comrades of the Housing Department, “Ours is a just cause; victory will be ours!”
Yours most sincerely,
Horatio P. Smedly, Princeton University Class of 2012