After confusing Saturday’s football game against Tennessee for a paramilitary takeover of campus, a group of graduate students took cover in a fourth floor laboratory in the Biological Sciences Building. A strange smell and jammed office door alerted campus police of the group’s isolation early Monday morning.
“A group of us were working over the weekend when we noticed a lot of activity outside. There was loud chanting and a series of explosions, so we panicked,” said a visibly shaken first-year PhD student. “We are in Texas…what else were we supposed to think?”
The graduate students made feverish preparations to defend themselves against the certainty of armed combatants. After barricading the door with a filing cabinet, the students surrounded the doorway with urine-filled beakers to deter intruders. They had also begun fashioning rudimentary weapons out of lab equipment and were attempting to ration the lab’s supply of fly food, though most of it had been eaten by the time of rescue.
“Given the makeshift nature of their defenses, the students were surprisingly well dug-in,” said University Police Spokesman Steve Oberhaus of the graduate students. “It was impressive.”
It took police a little over two hours to coax the graduate students out of the lab, but they were able to do so largely without incident. One officer was hospitalized after being stabbed with a pipette while attempting to breach the lab. He has since been released and is expected to make a full recovery.
—Wrecking Crew Reba