Illustration by Alex Nash

A furgotten community emerges on campus

Lewis & Clark College is an institution that promises to foster diversity and acceptance within its community. Students touring the campus find themselves eye to eye with an abundance of pride flags, Black Lives Matter flags and other symbols which promote the ideals of equity, inclusion and belonging. It should come as no surprise to students that the LC’s community is ready to accept even the most marginalized of groups with open arms and paws, especially the furry community. 

Students residing in Stewart, Odell, & Akin (SOA) and Copeland Residence Halls are serenaded weekly to the dulcet tones of the furry community howling outside of the residents’ windows. Seeing neighbors and classmates in animal gear such as, but not limited to, cat ears, cat tails, bunny ears, collars, paws of the rainbow assortment and animal-themed hats are not unusual. If anything, they are encouraged. 

Acceptance of the furry community goes beyond just the student body though, four out of the 27 of LC’s former presidents, including the newly appointed president, Dr. Biron Thrush-Turdidae (whose fursona is a Robin), are active and enthusiastic members of the furry community. 

Other presidents include Remus Mooney serving from 1989 to 2003 whose fursona is a wolf and 2004’s Interim President Smaug Bragdon whose fursona is a dragon. Although, Bragdon’s temporary position did raise concerns from the student body that his role was entirely performative in order to appeal to the “scalies” who are discriminated against even in the fur community. In more recent history, Vim Vievel has a notable fursona which is not a Weevil, but rather a yellow dog loosely bearing resemblance to “Isabelle” in the hit game “Animal Crossing.”

The increasing number of administrators joining the ranks of the furry community has raised campus-wide discussions on ways to better support those identifying as a furry. 

Beter Brake, a well-known goat-identifying furry and the associate professor of computer science and chair of the department of mathematical sciences, has been on the front lines, advocating heavily for the creation of programs to support the furry community.

“1 in 5 Computer Science students identify themselves as a furry,” Brake said. “They are one of the most targeted groups of students on campus as they are statistically more likely to be gamers and incels as well – two other communities which face extreme scrutiny.”

Some proposed initiatives, which have been spearheaded by Brake, include placing gender-neutral litter boxes and pee pads in designated bathrooms across campus, allowing for the creation of the first sorority “Alpha/Beta/Omega,” and mandating rabies vaccines for all students. 

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