The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988-- Page 13
BY ROB EARLE
Slowly the line of orientees
shuffles to a stop in front of the
Dental School building. With name
tags on breast and colored folders in
hand, the eager, young Wolverines-
to-be wait anxiously for the perky
and freshly-scrubbed orientation
leader to impart yet another tidbit of
"The dental building was con-
structed to resemble a tooth," the
leader drones knowingly. And, for
the next four years, the students will
cock their heads, squint their eyes,
and go crazy trying to figure out
how anyone could ever think the
building looks like a tooth.
It also doesn't look like a mouth
when lit up at night.
It's just a building.
ORIENTATION leaders are not
the only purveyors of campus myths
and legends, although most students'
'first exposure to the lore of the
-maize and blue comes during their
first few summer days under the
Of course, new students should be
careful to distinguish between
misinformation and just-plain-leg-
A typical gem of misinformation
What they did tell you at orientation
is the so-called suicide clause. Ac-
cording to this myth, roommates of
students who commit suicide receive
an automatic 3.0 grade point average
for the term, presumably to com-
pensate for the emotional stress.
Another version grants the room-
mate a 4.0. Both versions are bunk,
say University officials, although
students are not prohibited from
making individual arrangements with
professors or departments.
surrounds the big "M" in the Diag.
According to the legend, students
who step on the "M" before taking
their first exam at the University are
bound to fail the exam.
Other apocryphal versions of the
story say you will flunk out of the
University entirely if you step on
the "M," and there is an ongoing de-
bate about whether the curse applies
to all exams or only to finals - so
new students are best advised to
dodge the "M" (as well as Diag bik-
ers) for their entire first terms.
And do those lions outside the
exhibit museums really roar when-
ever a virgin passes between them?
Unlikely, or things would really get
loud when the daily platoons of ele-
mentary school students come in for
Or maybe the real version is the
one that says the lions roar whenever
a virgin graduates from the Univer-
sity. The teller of this tale is bound
to smirk and say, "That's why no-
body has ever heard them roar."
SPEAKING OF lions, there
are no cougars roaming around the
Arb, at least according to the safety
officials. Or any kind of big cat, for
But that doesn't mean scary stuff
isn't going on. Campus security
guards will swear up-and-down by
the Story of the Flying Book. A
guard on break in the Rackham
Building said his book was lifted off
a table and dropped to the floor by an
unseen force, presumably one of the
residents of the cemetery that once
occupied the land beneath the build-
The same guards will insist an
entirely different set of ghosts
inhabits the Frieze Building, right
next door. These spooks come from
the morgue located in the building
when it was used for medical re-
search, legend says.
But there really are underground
steam tunnels large enough to run
around in connecting most Univer-
sity buildings. Many have alarm
systems, especially in the areas sur-
rounding the various museums. And
while you probably won't be
"automatically expelled" if you are
caught down there, you will have a
lot of explaining to do. Workers in
the Fleming building had to use
them to get around a blockade by
anti-racist activist groups last year.
THOUGH LEGEND says it,
no University officials could confirm
whether the Fleming Building was
originally designed with a moat. It is
true the windows were constructed to
disguise the offices behind them,
presumably to confuse protesters
throwing objects from the ground.
The one-and-a-half ton spinning
cube in Regents Plaza must - ac-
cording to legend - be spun by the
University president each morning to
start the "University generator." No-
body really knows if former Univer-
sity President Harold Shapiro spun
the cube in front of the Fleming
Building for luck on his way to
work each morning, although the
people who spread this story also
claimed to have seen Shapiro getting
an order to go from Taco Bell the
Whatever the truth to that rumor.
it's almost certain former Interim
President Robben Fleming did not
spin the cube. And will new Presi-
dent James Duderstadt spin it? We'll
probably never know - nobody else
gets up that early.
NOT ONLY is the UniveresiLy
not powered by the cube, it's not
powered by a nuclear reactor on
North Campus, either. There is' a
nuclear reactor on North Campus,
but it's not even powerful enough'to
keep itself going.
True is the legend that the Uni-
versity has an alumni association
chapter on the moon. The three
Apollo 15 astronauts - Jim Irwin,
Dave Scott, and Al Worden
founded the chapter in 1971.
And, of course, Bo Schembechler
is not just a legend; he really exists.
Larger than life perhaps, but no Iess
real for that.
I t~E~i U I
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