Illustration by Sofia Reeves

Palatine Hill debuts new name; sparks space-based controversy

As many Lewis & Clark students know, the school has long been the center of the Star Wars fandom, a sort of sci-fi mecca to which all fans must journey to at least once in their lifetimes. 

In the past couple of years, Disney has seen great success with their Star Wars projects, and there is great anticipation for those releasing in the near future. In a recent meeting of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a member brought forward a motion to rename our beloved Palatine Hill to Palpatine Hill in honor of the Dark Lord of the Sith. 

The motion drew opposition from those on the right not just within the student body, but also at the national level. 

Right-wing political commentator Tucker Carlson took to Twitter to announce his displeasure with this proposition, tweeting: “This is just another blatant attempt to push the liberal agenda. #NotMySith #StarWaronChristianity.” 

When pressed for explanation, Carlson responded: “My job is to make claims, not explain my claims.” He has been unavailable for further questioning.

Fox News commentator and well known ‘Trekkie’ Laura Ingram tweeted last night: “If we allow them to change Palatine Hill to Palpatine Hill, where does it end? Will Tryon become Tatooine? Will Alder Residence Hall become Alderaan Residence Hall?” She later added: “Trekkies are being pushed out of every space we occupy by the Star Wars fandom. This is just another example of forced inclusivity and I’m taking a stand against it.”

Ingram alleged, in a press conference she held, that LC’s administration was taking under-the-table payouts from Disney to support the name change and promote their new shows. Ingram even calls the renovation of Templeton Campus Center into question. 

“Where exactly did they get the money?” Ingram said. “We don’t know for sure and I find that highly suspicious.”

The reaction from students was mixed. 

“I’m concerned about the special interests of our senators on this,” Sharon Lucas ’22 said. “How do we know it’ll be a fair election? After all, it’s common knowledge that the Sith control the senate, both U.S. and ASB.” 

Many students turned out to protest in favor of the name change, taking to the parking lots and streets around campus with signs showing their support. One sign in particular stated, “Stand with the Sith,” while others were just photos of Adam Driver shirtless and in those crazy high-waisted pants, referred to within the fandom as ‘Ben Swolo.’

“Changing the name is the only thing that makes sense,” Ben Armitage ’23 said. “Who’s more culturally relevant? Chancellor Palpatine, Dark Lord of the Sith and Master to Darth Vader or a name that probably got chosen in like the 1700s or something?”

Eventually, a counter-protest emerged consisting of students opposed to the name change. We spoke to Claire Kumar ’25 who held a sign that said “Trekkies against tyranny.”

“I no longer feel safe as a Star Trek fan on campus; not with those Luke and Leia incest-loving freaks roaming around,” Kumar said. “It sickens me. I don’t understand how the college could be affiliated with an organization like this.”

Dozens have already canceled their Disney+ accounts, announcing a boycott of all Star Wars-related media. Even more are expected to terminate their subscriptions in the coming days. 

Although there have been no reports of physical clashes between rival groups as of yet, we have received word that vandalized toy lightsabers and inflammatory graffiti have been left outside dormitories and buildings considered Star Wars fandom territory, possibly as a threat. 

Campus police have also found broken phazers outside “Trekkie” territory. Concerns about physical damage pale in comparison to fears about emotional damage. 

We spoke to a self-identified “Trekkie” who requested to remain anonymous. They assured us they did not take part in the destruction.

“I’ll tell you what those broken lightsabers are,” the student said. “They are not a threat, they are a promise.”

The vote is set to be held on Feb 29. While much is to be decided, one thing is for sure: No matter what the result of the vote, LC will have a war of galactic proportions on its hands.

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