Hazing is a problem that plagues nearly every college campus, and unfortunately, it does not seem to be going anywhere soon. 79% of NCAA athletes have reported to experiencing hazing according to “Prevalence and Profiling: Hazing Among College Students and Points of Intervention.” It has finally come to light that hazing exists even on the Brandeis campus. The hazers are not students but rather the geese, which number over twenty. Students may be familiar with the Canada Goose, or Branta candadensis. They are usually seen flying in a V-shaped formation, talking about how “swole” they are while near bodies of water, or eating worms from the ground. However, on Friday and Saturday nights the Geese gather in their flocks to haze other fowl life on campus.
A Red Breasted Robin, who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety, was hanging around the pond one day and the geese made it clear that if he stayed, he would have to party. “They made us all chug worms and try and land on the Joseph’s Transportation Shuttle, while it was driving,” he said, “I like to party, but those guys are tough. They said we couldn’t hang out in the pond unless we did what they said.”
The President of Brandeis University, who asked to remain anonymous, said that bird hazing is usually fairly light. “It doesn’t usually ruffle too many feathers, you know. We usually have a couple Downy Woodpeckers getting in brawls with an Eastern Phoebe or maybe even a Barn Swallow, but this semester has been a little out of hand.”
The Red Breasted Robin said President Lawrence’s joke about ruffling feathers was tactless and is indicative of “the university’s lack of foresight in preventing such matters.”
When approaching a Canada Goose, one must be careful. According to the Common Birds of New England, an electronic field guide, Canada Geese when, “nesting and raising their young…can be extremely aggressive.” A certain Canada Goose, a senior named Bobby Larson, was standing by the river in a letterman jacket. When asked for his comment on the hazing, the fifteen pound goose replied, “Look, it’s all in good fun, I don’t even know what you’re asking me about, and” Larson took a long drag on his cigarette, “we run this campus, yo.” Larson did not seem concerned that Lawrence was having a committee of Barn Owls meet to try in an attempt to put an end to this bullying.
According to the National Audubon Society, bird inclusive hazing has reached an all time high of 65% on college campuses, and 89% in national parks. Geese appear to be the number one perpetrator of these aggressive actions, followed by the Band-Rumped Storm-Petrel, who is native to the Gulf and Southern Atlantic coast, and has been banned from Bentley University after multiple complaints and a class action lawsuit filed by 143 American Wigeons.
Students are advised to use their knowledge from bystander training if they witness hazing, but are ultimately warned that getting in the way of the Canada Goose could prove harmful, as birds are known to “hiss,” “bite” or corner you in an alley and steal all the money and birdseed you have.