Campus Oddities

Transformer toy finds new platform

In Adam Gerard’s junior year of college at Carnegie Mellon University 400 of 5,000 eligible voters showed up to vote in the student elections, resulting in some odd numbers. Optimus Prime, leader of the Transformers, came in a distant second, followed closely by Mr. T in third place. The ’80s toy icon looked like a likely candidate for the next election, so Gerard registered, planning a real upset. The campaign never took off but the domain remains, and the threat of Optimus Prime’s victory looms over the heads of student election candidates everywhere as they try to turn out the vote.

Penny-pinching teacher

Trying to drum up response for a visiting author, Marvin Kalb, a journalism professor at West Virginia University, offered to pay her students to attend his book signing at the campus bookstore. At first she offered the students $12 toward the purchase of Kalb’s $20 book, but she then sweetened the deal to the full amount, in addition to being excused from the day’s class. After clearing the room, the students arrived at the bookstore to find that Kalb had vanished. As they returned to class, the students ran into their professor who snatched back the cash doled out earlier and left in a huff. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be an obedient student.

Hauntings in Tampa

The University of Tampa has a storied past, one that continues to haunt its students. The campus is home to three purported ghosts. Plant Hall, formerly the Tampa Bay Hotel, is said to host a number of spirits, even that of Theodore Roosevelt. The most famous ghost, however, is said to haunt Park Theatre. A former vaudeville stage built in 1928, the theater was host to any number of traveling actors. One such actor, Bessie Snavely is said have committed suicide by hanging herself in a backstage stairwell about 1932. Apparently, her husband had been cheating on her with an actress in the troupe, and her intent of murder turned to suicide. Her ghostly visage has since been seen by students and faculty alike.

Who says TV isn’t academic?

Reed College was mentioned in the March 5 episode of “The Sopranos.” In the episode “Full Leather Jacket,” Meadow Soprano learns that her best friend has been admitted to Reed: “Reed was her first choice. She’d die if she didn’t get in.” The blurb was enough to get mentioned in Reed Magazine, a quarterly magazine.