Administrators at the University of Maryland are imploring students not to dump “bulk trash, alcohol, road signs, residence hall property, and other dangerous items” under a statue of the institution’s terrapin mascot, Testudo.
In a long-standing campus tradition, students place flowers and other offerings by the statue during finals week as a way to foster “goodwill and camaraderie in the face of academic stress,” according to an email sent to students by Dean of Students Andrea J. Goodwin. (Some students on social media described the items as “sacrifices” to the turtle, intended to net them good luck and good grades at the end of the semester.)
But offerings this year have increasingly included stolen property—such as multiple electric scooters and streetlamps ripped from the ground—and blocked the sidewalk. In the email, Goodwin said the university’s police department and Office of Student Conduct would be working to identify and penalize students who damaged property or created a hazard. The university will also increase police presence around the Testudo statue.
The email encouraged students to utilize resources like the counseling center as an outlet for their finals-season stress, rather than taking out their feelings on Testudo.
Some students chastised each other on social media for the massive mound of trash and stolen items piled around the statue.
“Empty Starbucks cups aren’t Testudo offerings. Its [sic] literal trash,” one person wrote on Reddit. “If you sacrifice trash, you’ll fail all your finals.”