By Riley Stovka, June 30 2022—
It all started with a cough.
An assistant in the Registrar’s office responsible for drafting the convocation lists compiling the names of every student graduating from the University of Calgary this semester to be read out by the Deans of their respective faculties, came down with a terrible cough and subsequent cold. The assistant drafter, who could not be reached for comment, had to pass their handwritten notes off to another employee in the Registrar for them to finish the convocation lists. The drafter, who couldn’t possibly parse through the cursive notes, proceeded to butcher the names of the students scheduled to cross the stage.
When the president, chancellor, provost, deans and distinguished guests took their places at the centre of the stage in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, they could not possibly comprehend the chaos they were about to witness.
Packed into the gym, the few hundred graduates were squished together on cheap plastic chairs. The concrete and cinder block walls encased the thick June heat and trapped the grads in a vault of sweat, humidity and the lingering stench of the gym.
The first few names went by without issue. When called on, students would hear their name and then stride towards the stage to greet the assembled witnesses before they had a degree shoved into their hands. Rinse and repeat.
It was not until the first page of names was flipped over to the second that things started to get dicey.
When a finance student crossed the stage and looked down at their degree, the name on the sheet did not, in any way, match up with their actual name. The young man proceeded to convene with the other new graduates. Upon further inspection, they too realized the names on their degrees were also incorrectly spelled. The group grew and grew, exceeding close to 50 before the gaggle of newly graduates pent up with fatigue, frustration and the occasional study drug, decided that enough was enough.
Adorned in their black caps and flowy gowns, graduates pushed to the stage in a frenzied attack. They yelled and cursed at the stage, degrees went flying, with one smacking the vice-provost on the side of the head. Graduates pushed and throttled one another, practically foaming at the mouth while clawing and kicking at the stage.
Soon the fever spread, infecting any student riddled with years-long frustration and annoyance with anything university related, turning them into active participants of a wild mob. They tore at their gowns, flipped chairs and tossed their caps to the hardwood floor before trampling them. Science graduates grabbed and kicked at the legs of the stage while Fine Arts graduates swatted at the legs of the collected university administration.
It was the Kinesiology graduates who made it up on the stage first. They hurdled the stage and bond over the president’s lectern before toppling it and throwing it into the crowd. Business graduates followed their lead and tried to dismantle the stage all together. Professors fended off graduates with the blunted tips of the university standards and rolled up degrees, swatting and swiping at the graduates as they encroached upon them.
Many professors and university administration staff made a run for it, dashing towards the exits with many bearing visible wounds, scrapes and bruises.
“They’re crazy!” said a professor of economics as he sprinted past several witnesses. Calgary police were called and along with a squad of patrol cars. A riot control van also made an appearance.
The riot officers entered the gym, which at that point had been completely conquered by the graduates who had barricaded the doors and armed themselves with anything they could find, but mostly folding chairs. The police blew through the barricades and quelled the angry uprising in no time, though they did sustain some injuries — mainly bite marks.
The mob was suppressed somewhere around 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon and a dozen graduates were arrested on various charges. Others were fined and many were given a stern talking to. Damage to the gym was substantial and it is believed that the university plans to undertake a complete renovation, which would involve a complete closure and subsequent transformation of the gym into an ‘Admin Only’ section of the campus.
When asked why they would partake in such rapped violence, one arts graduate expressed her fury.
“All I wanted was my stupid degree with my name spelt correctly. Is that so much to ask for?” she said.
More information from the police is set to be released shortly.
This article is part of our humour section.