Eclipse Watching Party Cancelled

The University Astronomy Club was forced to cancel the eclipse-watching party after several students became ill after using the club’s UV-protected telescope. Although the students’ eyesight is unaffected, several club members report severe headaches, nausea, and a sense of dread leading to panic attacks.

The university is also out of special glasses for watching the eclipse, but students are advised that they can still watch the eclipse on live TV or the internet.

Mascot Missing After Break-In

ETU Security is currently cooperating with the Golan County Sheriff’s Department on a burglary investigation at the O’Brian Estate. Late yesterday evening burglars broke into President Nelson’s office, resulting in the disappearance of Poe the ETU Fighting Raven.

“This is most likely a simple prank. I don’t understand how such a break-in should even be possible though, given our dear Poe’s extensive security,” said President Nelson in an early morning interview.

Officials say no other items have been found missing from the president’s office or other rooms within the estate.

Poe has been bird-napped several times before, most recently in 2009. In that instance the beloved raven was never recovered and the university had to seek a replacement Poe.

This theft comes at a critical time with the homecoming game against Blackburn Tech less than a week away. Although many speculate it is the work of BB Tech pranksters, local authorities are hesitant to make unfounded accusations.

“Look here, if Blackburn is behind this we will catch them, but in all due respects the Golan County Sheriff’s Department has no interest in wild goose chases,” said Golan County Sheriff Butch Anderson.

Students and faculty alike hold with bated breath that our beloved mascot returns before this Friday’s game.

Suspected Mass Food Poisoning Closes Taco Stand

Last Thursday, dozens of students fell ill after eating at Machu Picchu Tacos, a food truck known to operate along the road leading north from Whiskey Creek Apartments.

“I heard about them just a couple of weeks ago,” said Suzie Freeman, a freshman History major. “My friends said they had the best tacos around, and their truck was decorated with all these cool artifacts and paintings and stuff, you know, like you’d see in one of those documentaries about the Aztecs or Incas or something? Anyway, I was on my way to give the place a try when I heard a bunch of kids were getting sick after eating there. I’m glad I didn’t go.”

“My friend, Larry, ate there every day,” said Joseph Farland, a sophomore Music major. “He started complaining about his stomach hurting one day when he decided to get pizza instead of tacos. The pain kept getting worse and worse, then he said he was actually craving the tacos from that Machu Picchu truck. Next thing I knew, he ran off like a crazy man, yelling about tacos and ‘the mask of the gods’ or something like that. It was super weird.”

Several students were submitted to the Golan County Regional Hospital late Thursday night, all suspected of suffering from food poisoning.

“It’s one of the worst cases of food poisoning I’ve ever seen,” said Karen McAllister, a registered nurse at GCR Hospital. “It was so intense for some of them. They were having pain-induced hallucinations, talking about gold masks and robed figures. But, the weirdest part was they all said they wanted more Machu Picchu tacos. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

When local Department of Health authorities went to issue a license suspension pending further investigation, the Machu Picchu food truck was no where to be found.

“We would like to remind everyone to pay attention to the food you’re being served,” said Margaret Thrusher, a local Department of Health spokesman. “If your food looks under-cooked or ill-prepared, don’t eat it. And, never eat food prepared by a vendor that hasn’t been approved by a certified health inspector.”

Phone System Fixed

The Campus Telecommunications office is still investigating the root cause of “the great ring” two days ago in which every telephone on the campus telecom system rang at the same time.

“It was almost like something in a movie,” said senior Graphic Arts student Shaundra Jenkins, a student worker in the Provost’s Office. “The same time my phone went off, half a dozen others went off up and down the hall. My first thought was that it was some sort of office-wide disaster notification.”

Instead, anyone who answered the calls heard a sound described variously as white noise, whispering, ocean waves, or crackling fire.  Some people reported nausea or vertigo after answering the calls, although the President’s Offices issued a statement yesterday assuring the campus community there was no traceable link to health risk.

The lines remained unusable for a full 17 minutes before Campus Telecommunications took the drastic step of cycling the power on the entire system and rebooting it. The President’s Office has requested Campus Telecommunications issue a full report within 30 days.

Manhole Covers Sent Sky-High

According to Sheriff Butch Anderson, the loud boom heard yesterday morning by students all over ETU was caused by an underground explosion in downtown Pinebox. Nearby pedestrians ran for cover at the sound of the explosion, which sent several manhole covers near Pinebox Pawn soaring more than 200 feet into the air. None were harmed as the covers rained down, though some buildings suffered superficial damage and one vehicle was totalled.

“We found trace elements that suggest that the blast was caused by IEDs placed throughout this section of sewer tunnels. We also found the remains of some sort of underground encampment caught in the blast radius,” said Scott Denning, a Golan County forensics expert. “No bodies were found among the debris.”

“The specific target of the explosion remains unknown,” said Anderson “The investigation will continue until the culprits are found and justice is served.”

Leaning Tower of Toilets Prank

Residents of Halloway Suites woke to strange circumstances Friday morning, discovering a tower of toilets stacked precariously on the front lawn of the women’s dorm.

“Whoever they were, they worked fast, and they were good,” said freshman Susie Franzen. “I woke in the middle of the night and used the restroom, but forgot my phone on the counter by the sink. Between the time I walked out and went back for my phone, they’d snuck in and taken the toilets! Every single one!”

“I believe this stunt was too well done to have been committed by any students, no matter how organized,” said Frank Jones, a local prank expert. “No, I think Halloway Suites was hit by a strike team of trained prank professionals, maybe the Mischief Mob or Pranksters ‘R’ Us. Whoever it was, they got in and out without getting caught.”

“Residents of Halloway Suites can be assured that repairmen are hard at work returning full function to the restroom facilities,” said Gilbert Conrad, an ETU spokesman. “Also, campus security requests that anyone who may have more information regarding those responsible for this prank, please call the tip line.

Mid-Semester Absentees Reaches Alarming Heights

The Provost announced the creation of a task force to examine the problem of mid-semester absentees. The announcement came after a residence hall survey revealed dozens of students have abruptly left East Texas University this semester. The task force will be comprised of a cross section of campus administration ranging from faculty to student counselors.

“We understand the college experience can be daunting for some,” said Provost XXX. “We pride ourselves on academic rigor, and while we have no intention of lowering our standards I have charged the task force with finding a way to identify at-risk students and intervening before they leave.”

Every semester a handful of students quietly leave the university, sometimes without a word to friends or roommates and leaving behind all their possessions. Without an official withdrawal notice, the university treats these students as enrolled but absent. Students still missing at the end of the semester are marked as dropped-out.

This semester marks the highest absentee rate since 1994. The Provost hopes to find and return at least some absent students before Final Exams. If you know the location of a missing student, please contact the Provost’s Office.

Missing Pilot Found Wandering Woods Near ETU

James Dalmer, the pilot whose plane went missing over the Big Thicket last week, was found alive yesterday, wandering the woods near ETU campus. The proud owner of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Dalmer had flown the skies above East Texas for over twenty years, prior to his disappearance.

“I’m told that I’ve been missing for six days, but I don’t know what happened,” said Dalmer. “They tell me my plane crashed in the woods somewhere, but I don’t remember crashing. One minute, I was in my plane, flying over the Big Thicket, like I’ve done so many times, and the next I’m talking to a kid who’s asking if I’m okay and need help.”

Henry Watkins, freshman Biology major at ETU, was the student who first spotted Dalmer. “He came stumbling out of the trees, looking dirty and ragged, with a bunch of scrapes on his arms and dried blood on his face. I asked him if he was alright, and he rambled on for the first couple of minutes about something knocking him out of the sky and chasing him through the woods. There was this crazy look in his eyes, as if he’d been running for his life. Then all of a sudden, he started calming down, asking where he was and how he got there. It really freaked me out.”

Watkins called campus authorities for help, and Dalmer was transported via ambulance to Golan County Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.

“Mr. Dalmer suffered from an extremely severe case of dehydration, one of the worst I’ve encountered,” said Doctor Ralph Heimstetten, the physician who attended Dalmer. “His confusion and memory loss are most likely attributed to the lack of food and water. I’m actually surprised he didn’t sustain more critical injuries during the crash.”

“You know,” said Dalmer, “I can’t count the number of times I’ve flown over the Big Thicket in that Cessna without any problems of any kind. But, I guess there’s a first time for everything.”

Conspiracy of Ravens Roosts at The Raven’s Nest

Tuesday morning, the ETU Ravens were greeted at practice by a flock of ravens. Literally.

The flock, known as “a constable”, “an unkindness”, or “a conspiracy”, was found roosting in the Raven’s Nest, completely covering the football field.

“At first, I thought it was a black tarp or something,” said freshman Harris Townsford. “But, that’s when my buddy, Jerry, pointed out all the feathers. I would have never guessed it was a flock of birds. I mean, they were completely quiet. Not a single caw, squawk, or nothing. It was a little on the creepy side, for me.”

The birds remained on the field while the team dressed in the locker room, right up until they were about to step on the field and begin practice. Then without warning, the conspiracy took flight in unison, bearing due east.

“It was like nothing I’ve ever seen in all my years of coaching,” said Preston Blakemore, Head Football Coach of the ETU Ravens. “I’m not normally the superstitious type, but maybe this a sign of good luck for Friday’s upcoming game.”

The ETU Ravens are set to face off against the Baylor Bears this Friday at noon.

Parking Lot Attack Interrupted by Passersby

Yesterday evening Kayla Brown, 27, her six year old daughter Ariel, and her four year old son Russell were attacked in the Burrito Palace parking lot by an as-yet identified assailant. The attack was reportedly thwarted by a group of concerned citizens before mother or children could be seriously harmed.

“Russ was throwing a fit over going home, so the first time I knew anything was when I got pushed to the ground,” Brown said. “At first I didn’t know what happened. I thought maybe a car bumped me! Then I looked up and saw a monster.”

According to Brown, her attacker stood over her, brandished a long knife at her menacingly, and smiled. The distraught mother claims that when she saw his “fangs” she screamed for help. Perhaps prompted by her panicked screams, the assailant didn’t ask for money or possessions but simply attacked until other restaurant patrons came to the rescue.

The assailant was described by witnesses as a tall, pale, male wearing all black. Witnesses gave conflicting reports as to whether the attacker was subdued or is still at large. When contacted for information, the Pinebox Police Department claimed that the investigation is incomplete and it will issue a statement in the morning.

Sheriff Butch Anderson used the incident to remind citizens to practice “common-sense parking lot safety”, including being aware of nearby strangers and avoiding traveling alone at night whenever feasible.