The squirrels of Vanguard are easily the most controversial beings on campus. While many admittedly adore our furry little creatures, others wouldn’t blink if the Caf decided to serve them up on a platter.
After rigorous and extensive investigation (or perhaps just passing observation) of squirrels at Azusa Pacific University, The Voice has confirmed that though these squirrels run like those at Vanguard, eat food off the ground like them, and scurry up trees in a similar fashion, they are, in comparison, quite normal, which is potentially quite boring. APU’s squirrels do not appear to cozy up to humans in the same way that the creatures of Vanguard will prance right up to students. Somehow, Vanguard’s campus has bred a type of squirrel that will eat food right off a plate and cut students off on the sidewalk.
This leads to the question of what makes these squirrels so social that students feel the need to make an Instagram page for them.
Junior Emma Creek has a theory to answer this pressing inquiry. She believes a great deal has to do with Sharon Fissette from the Kinesiology and Mathematics departments. During her time working for Fissette, Creek was followed to and from work by the squirrels. She quickly learned that her boss was an obvious squirrel enthusiast. Her desk was decorated in squirrel trinkets, and she kept a container of peanuts with her so that if she saw a squirrel outside she could rush to feed it.
“She would talk to them . . . and she would name them as well, they were her babies, like her literal children,” Creek said.
Creek mentioned how squirrels would sometimes climb on the window screens to get Fissette’s attention to feed them. One time they even attempted to open up the window to get to her peanut stash, and if the door was open they would run in trying to find them.
According to Creek, interacting with the squirrels was mostly fun, but it all depended on the squirrel. She mentioned how once on her way to work she saw two of them playing, or so she thought, until she saw blood.
The Voice investigations have uncovered another bloody altercation between the squirrels. Last year, as freshmen walked back to the Towers, they stumbled upon a squirrel laying on the ground looking quite dead with blood coming out of its neck. After debating calling the police to report this horrendous murder, one student pointed out that the squirrel was still breathing.
It laid there for about five minutes looking like it would cross into the afterlife at any moment, when another squirrel—supposedly the guilty party—came darting out from under a car and tried to attack it again. The squirrel on the ground shot up and ran for the hills. The next day, it was hit by a car and all of campus mourned over the loss of the affectionately dubbed “James the Squirrel.”
Well, perhaps not all of campus mourned the loss of James. According to one staff writer’s Instagram poll, 22 out of the 60 students that participated answered that Vanguard squirrels are “Satan’s minions.” One anti-squirrel advocates, senior Ashley Scriven, had a lot to say about why she hates the Vanguard squirrels.
“I’ve heard them hiding in trash cans and scratching someone who innocently tried to throw away her apple core. She had to go to the ER . . . They look real grungy. They [probably] have the plague . . . They’re aggressive. I have actually ran from a squirrel before . . . Also, I have a fear that when I wear sandals they will mistake my pinky toes for peanuts,” Scriven said.
The last one could be a genuine concern because of the squirrels’ obvious love for peanuts, curtesy of the Kinesiology and Mathematics Department.
On the other hand, 63 percent of students that took the poll said that they think that the Vanguard squirrels are “darling angels.” Freshman Alicia Philadelphia shared an adorable photo of one of the campus squirrels sharing a picnic lunch with her.
“Last semester I shared my PB&J with a friendly Vanguard squirrel. We sat roughly a foot from each other and enjoyed the delicious sandwich. Thanks, Outtakes,” Philadelphia said.
Whether an innocent picnic or a trashcan ambush, each student seems to have a spectrum of different experiences with varying degrees of squirrels.
There must be some squirrels with redeemable qualities on campus, this is a Christian school after all, so they can’t all be innately evil. And even if they are, students will just invite them to a Shine service and pray that one of the chaplains can convert them.