If the College at Brockport were to have a mascot other than Ellsworth the Golden Eagle, it would most likely be a squirrel. Any student that spends more than 5 minutes wandering campus knows that the school boasts a rich squirrel population.
However, our precious little bushy-tailed counterparts are the center of controversy.
Every year our neighboring town of Holley holds a squirrel hunt on the last Saturday of February to raise money for their fire department. The hunt, known as the “Squirrel Slam,” is cruel, according to some locals on Twitter, and even features the cold-hearted murder of pregnant squirrels.
To participate in the hunt, contestants must purchase tickets. Whoever bags the heaviest squirrel wins the event.
Cue the worry of danger for pregnant squirrels.
Lauren Sheive is an activist levying a legal battle against the event and had this to say in her interview in a New York Times article.
“Since it is baby time, the moms will be fatter and larger,” Sheive said. “So if, as could happen, there is an over-killing of females who are potentially leaving young to die in their nests, what does that do to the balance of nature?”
Sheive complains that the coordinators of the event have not considered all the potential environmental impacts the hunt could have.
The controversy surrounding “Squirrel Slam” is not new. In 2013 the slam was exposed to its highest level of “fame”, receiving attention from international newspapers and online petitions. The event drew its highest numbers of both protesters and hunters as well.
Participants of the event have defended the fundraiser and called the protesters misinformed.
According to an article by Orleans Hub.com, many ticket buyers don’t even participate in the hunt and not all squirrels hunted are from the Holley area. The article covers how participants in the event feel that it is beneficial to the community by raising money for the fire department and bringing friends and family together.
Of course, the squirrels inhabiting the Brockport campus are very dear to students’ hearts. It seems only appropriate to get both the Brockport student and squirrel outlook on the events that transpire so close to their home. In a special edition of Cordell’s Corner, The Brockport Beat sent Cordell to go undercover to infiltrate the squirrel population to get their take on the situation.