Campus Conversation

Did you see a chicken running around town last Friday? Or, perhaps, a guy dressed in a chicken suit marching in the town common talking about killing whales? Wait � killing whales? An anti-whale protest? In Amherst?

If you happened to walk into town, you might’ve seen a handful of “protestors” standing across from Subway, chanting, “What do we want? Whale meat! When do we want it? Now!” Joseph Caissie ’05 marched with fliers and signs in his very own chicken suit, trying to convince people that killing whales is actually beneficial.

The argument: whales are big and they deplete the ocean of a lot of fish. So, if you kill one whale, you would be feeding many people and saving both fish and human lives.

“I’ve been at Amherst less than a year and I get tired of people having these causes constantly and yelling stuff and they don’t really do anything,” said Caissie. “It’s kind of annoying, so I was sort of having a little fun with it.”

He and several of his friends from UMass organized this event to satirize protestors and what he described as their “simple-minded ideas.”

“It’s great Joe does these kinds of things,” said Jared Adams, a sophomore at UMass. “Everyone always talks about doing things, but Joe actually does them.”

Reaction to their group was mostly humorous, according to Caissie. “We had a lot of fun seeing who could keep a straight face longer [when debating with curious onlookers],” he said. “It was completely a joke. I’m generally a very liberal person and I wouldn’t want to kill whales or anything like that.”

Then again, there are always the more gullible ones. “A lot of people thought we were serious and we sort of got the last laugh there,” said Adams. “Some people actually thought [killing whales] made sense and that it was right. We showed them our statistics-1200 pigs for one whale, in terms of meat-and they bought it.”

Future protests? Buffalo wings because they kill the entire buffalo and only take the wings and the mistreatment of marshmallow peeps. Hey, they’re cruelly banded together into boxes of five!

A swingin’ party

Admit it. Senior prom sucked. But this weekend’s “Dykes and Dates” prom-like event was nothing like anything your high school ever did. “People took dressing up and getting invited and finding dates very seriously,” said Sarah Warren ’02. “It ended up feeling like a bigger deal than the senior prom. I had the hottest date and we matched our outfits.”

And, with so much more to coordinate than just boutonnieres and corsages, the fashion possibilities were endless.

“There were no false pretenses; no one had anything to prove,” said Mara Tshibaka ’02. “It even got to the point where any time a guy walked through the basement, I wanted him to leave. He was ruining the experience and wasn’t welcome.”

Although you had to be a “dyke or a date” to attend, after 11 p.m. the doors were opened to the entire campus. “Lots of people showed up when the doors opened too, either to show support, visit friends or get free beer,” said Warren. “Everyone on campus who knew about it seemed to be really supportive and thought it was a great idea.”

“I had a great time and a fabulous date,” said Meena Srinivasan ’02. “Everyone looked great and the hostesses deserve a huge thanks for organizing such an unforgettable, unique, well organized, fun and empowering event.”