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Bazzled: A Tale in 20 E-mails

Bazzled: A Tale in 20 E-mails

April 1, 2010

To: Dan Wyman, Director of Landscaping Services
From: Lee Williams, Director of Four Rivers Residential College
Date: Sept. 15

Hi Dan. Thanks for your recent e-mail about the benches in the courtyard of the Living Learning Center, which houses Four Rivers. I share your concern about the apparent damage being done to them. It does seem odd that the corners of the two benches next to each other are being carved or chewed up in some manner. I’ve not noticed this on other benches in the courtyard, and I’m not sure what could be causing this. I know that students in Four Rivers College who live here in the LLC tend to be a bit out of the mainstream of the rest of the university (though I don’t think they’d appreciate your phrase “grungy granola types”), but they are not really the “random vandalism” type. I’ll do a little investigation and see what I find. I’m afraid that we can’t provide staff to watch the benches all night, as you suggest, though I do realize they cost a lot of money.

***

To: Joe O’Malley, Living Learning Center Director
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 15

Hey Joe. I got a note from Dan Wyman about the benches in the courtyard. Have you noticed the way the corners of two of them have been chewed up or something? It’s weird. I’m wondering if a student has been shaving off pieces of the bench for some reason. Maybe one of the art projects in the Earth, Art and Me class? That would be odd, but no more odd than last semester’s giant mobile in the pine trees or the large hole Zach dug to demonstrate entropy, or whatever that was. What was that? Can you ask around the LLC and see if anyone knows anything? Thanks.

***

To: Dan Wyman, Joe O’Malley
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 19

I’ve identified the culprit. I came into the courtyard and found a large yellow Labrador retriever chewing away on the corner of one of the benches. His leash had been tied to a nearby sapling. Apparently his owner is taking a class here at the LLC and leaves him tied there. He seems to be a good dog. He stopped immediately when I yelled, “Hey!” and looked a bit chagrined, not unlike many of our students. He was wearing a collar with a tag that identified him as Bazzle, The Warrior King. It also listed his owner’s name. I will e-mail her and ask that she tie him up elsewhere.

***

To: Elise Anderson
From: Lee Williams, Director of Four Rivers College
Date: Sept. 19

Hello, Elise. I believe that you are the owner of Bazzle, the Warrior King. He’s a great dog, but it seems he’s taken a liking to the benches near the tree where you tie him up when you’re at the LLC, and he’s been chewing on the corners of them. Could you please tie him up elsewhere? Thanks.

***

To: Steven Porter, Chief of University Police
From: Lee Williams, Director of Four Rivers College
Date: Sept. 21

Hi Steve. I understand your concern about the dog your officer saw tied to a railing at the LLC. His owner is taking a class here. He’s well-behaved and quiet, unlike Werner the Weimaraner who barked incessantly last spring when he found himself in the same situation. Gosh, he was high-strung. Anyway, I know it’s campus policy that dogs not be left unattended, but ever since she moved him from the courtyard benches to the entry area where students typically hang out and smoke (yes, I know that’s against campus policy, too, but what can we do?), he’s rarely left alone. The students have taken a real shine to him. Can we just bend the rule a little? It’s only a couple of hours a week.

***

To: Dan Wyman, Director of Landscape Services
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 23

Hi again. Yeah, sorry about that. I’ll ask Bazzle’s owner to scoop his poop. Please express my apologies to the guy who mows the grass.

***

To: Elise Anderson, student
From: Lee Williams
Date: Sept. 23

Hi Elise. I appreciate your moving Bazzle’s waiting area away from the benches. Do you think you could either make sure he gets a good walk before you leave him, or perhaps make sure you clean up after him? I don’t want to antagonize the groundskeepers any more than we already have. And no, I don’t know who gave him the pepperoni pizza. I’ll ask around. Sorry about your car upholstery.

***

To: Joe O’Malley, LLC Director
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 27

Joe, could you please let the students know that they shouldn’t bring Bazzle, The Warrior King, inside the residence hall? I realize it was raining quite hard, but the housekeepers casually mentioned his presence to their supervisor who mentioned it to his supervisor who mentioned it to the director who just called me, and I think it’s important that we keep Bazzle under the radar because we’re violating about seven policies already just having him around. By the way, the monogrammed dog bed is very nice. I hope that wasn’t paid for with the money the students raised selling tofu empanadas. Thanks.

***

To: Justin Lane, LLC resident
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 28

Hi Justin. I understand you shared your pepperoni pizza with Bazzle, The Warrior King, which was really nice of you, but apparently not so nice for his delicate stomach. His owner said he barked, then barfed, in her car. He needs to stay outside and eat only what his owner provides. We need to be careful about drawing attention to his presence, or he may be banished from the LLC completely.

***

To: Steve Porter, Chief of University Police
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 30

Though it’s hard for me to imagine someone complaining about Bazzle, the Warrior King, who pretty much just sits and drools and watches the door while waiting for his owner to reappear, I do understand he’s not supposed to be there at all. I will ask his owner to stop bringing him with her. I will also ask Food Services to stop serving apple pie, and will make the LLC students turn in their Birkenstocks. Just kidding. But come on. He’s just a big old yellow Lab, trying to bring a little happiness to those around him.

***

To: Elise Anderson, student
From: Lee
Date: Sept. 30

Hi again. Well, it seems Bazzle, the Warrior King, has been ratted out, and we’ve been requested to abide by university policy to not have him left unattended while you’re in class. Sorry. He was a nice addition to the community, once students stopped feeding him pizza and he stopped using the lawn as a litterbox.

***

To: Justin, Sam, Jessica, Kate, LLC residents
From: Lee
Date: Oct. 2

While I really do appreciate your concern about Bazzle, the Warrior King’s situation, it’s just not okay to ignore university policy and let his owner leave him unattended. If you want to have her leave him with one of you, and you dog-sit during the class, that would be okay. Or if you want to address the policy itself, we can discuss appropriate ways to do that. Speaking of policies, could you take down the “Free Bazzle” banner that you’ve hung from the roof? It’s very nice, but you’re not supposed to be on the roof. Where’d you find a banner that big, anyway? I can read it from Route 12, and that’s about half a mile away.

***

To: Mary McQueen, Dean of Students
From: Lee
Date: Oct. 4

Hi Mary. No, I didn’t know about the permit for a demonstration that our students requested from your office. The “Free Bazzle” rally and t-shirt sale is not an official LLC event. And no, Bazzle is not the student who was suspended last semester. That was Basil, and he’s now living in an ashram in Asheville. On the brighter side, although this is the third demonstration up here this month, it’s the first one for which the students did seek a permit. Don’t you think that’s progress? Also, I’m sorry about you getting a call from the fire chief. I guess the student who was taking down the banner isn’t quite the Spider Man he thought he was. Please let the chief know I appreciate the rescue. Joe is meeting with Justin today to discuss possible sanctions.

***

To: Bob Thomas, International Student Adviser
From: Lee Williams
Date: Oct. 5
Yes, I think there has been a little confusion. Bazzle, the Warrior King, is not a foreign student-in-exile seeking asylum in the United States. He’s a Labrador retriever with digestive problems. The rally is on Wednesday at noon. I will share your offer to speak at the rally with the students planning it.

***

To: Jason Easter, Reporter, Mountaintop Times
From: Lee Williams
Date: Oct. 5

Yes, the students are planning another demonstration here at the LLC, and I guess I’m glad the students contacted you about media coverage. Perhaps we should just get you an office here. We’re thinking about getting one for the University attorney, whom the students now apparently have on speed-dial. No, I don’t think Bazzle will be speaking. You know he’s a dog, right? Just a dog with a taste for benches. The rally starts at noon, from what I’ve been told, and the Bazzle-Aid concert will begin at 4. I’ve heard they’ve booked fourteen bands and have about 20 vendors.

***

To: Samantha Reed, Fox News
From: Lee Williams
Date: Oct. 6

He’s a dog!! He’s just a dog!! Bazzle, The Warrior King, is not in prison. He is not in exile. He’s a Labrador retriever in a red bandanna with bad breath, actually, and questionable dietary habits. Of course you are more than welcome to bring a film crew here, but isn’t there something more newsworthy than a yellow Lab who is simply canina non grata on our campus?

***

To: Henry Szymanski, Associate Provost
From: Lee Williams
Date: Oct. 6

Hello, Dr. Szymanski. No, I didn’t know about the request our students sent to you to cancel classes during Bazzlepalooza. But if you think it’s a good idea, I’ll trust your judgment on this.

***

To: Elise Anderson, student
From: Lee
Date: Oct 6

Thanks for your note about your plans to take Bazzle to Knoxville. It seems like a good idea to let him live with your parents till you graduate in December. I’m sorry to hear that the stress of the attention has exacerbated his stomach troubles. I think I know how he feels.

***

To: Milton Brown, Sheriff
From: Lee Williams
Date: Oct. 7

Yes, from what I understand from the student planners, it’s very possible that the crowd will number in the thousands, now that the band Phish has announced that they will launch their reunion tour at the Free Bazzle rally. Sorry about this. But hey, you looked great on CNN last night. I like the haircut.

***

To: Dan Wyman, Director of Landscape Services
From: Lee
Date: Oct. 9

Now that things have quieted down after the rally/concert/riot, I’ve been able to take inventory around the LLC. We will definitely need to have the lawn re-seeded and about 30 replacement rhododendrons and azaleas planted. The “dog-friendly area” (boy, was that a bad idea) will probably require a backhoe to fill in the holes dug during the two-day event. And the benches are all gone. I think I saw two of them tied to the top of a VW microbus as it headed west on Route 12. I’m pretty sure they got the ones with the teeth marks.

Bio

In a previous life, Lee Burdette Williams directed a residential college not unlike Four Rivers. She is now vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Wheaton College (Mass.).

 

 

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