January 07, 2006

The Vulture and the University

What is it with universities and vultures? Texas State University in San Marcos has learned to co-exist with its vultures, although they do at times interfere with administrative social functions:

The vultures — specifically turkey and black vultures — used to roost on electric wires around campus and in the trees near Aquarena Center, an environmental attraction close to the university. But a few years ago, the birds moved closer to the main campus, settling on Strahan Coliseum and the J.C. Kellam Administration Building, where they startle people and have left excrement on the balcony of the 11th-floor room where campus officials often host parties.

New Mexico Tech in Socorro also has its resident flock of turkey vultures nesting in the large campus trees.

The poet Gary Snyder provides the answer, I think. In one of his essays--which I will cite if I can find it--he suggests that artists and writers are scavengers at the top of the intellectual food chain. But then, he continues, "we are eaten by our students."

With all that scaveging going on, you would expect to see some vultures. Can you say "objective correlative"?

(Via University Diaries.)

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