By Kittie Lidder
Washington College made headlines this spring by inducting the College’s first full-time ursine president, Sheesa Bere. In addition, Bere is the College’s first female president of any species in the College’s several hundred year history.
The precedent for ursine leadership was set last year by Interim President Bear Gryllswold who was inaugurated after he wandered into the President’s office and established a den. Gryllswold was well loved by colleagues for his ability to deal with reluctant donors and pesky tenured professors by threatening to eat them, as well as his fondness for belly scratches, and his taste in well-tailored suits. His success convinced the WC Board of Visitors and Governors to narrow the Presidential search process to include only bears for Gryllswold’s successor.
Bere comes to the College highly qualified from her habitat in Yellowstone National Park where she gained experience with the national government by interacting with park rangers. “This bear is not afraid of taking down big prey,” said Park Ranger Olly Faithful. “I’ve seen her go after an elk, with no problem. She also has a very stylish taste in suits.” Bere wrote about her experience with the national park in a book titled “Grabbing the Elk by the Antlers” though unfortunately for human academics, it is written mostly in territorial markers and discarded pine nut casings.
Head of the Washington College Animal Wranglers Harry McLarry said the presidential transfer process was “a little gnarly” this year due to the territorial nature and natural aggression of grizzly bears. “After some, well, trial and error, we finally developed a method for presidential transfer that I think we’ll be able to use as long as WC decides it wants to keep hiring bears. You see, what we did was get one of the younger guys to roll around in some salmon juice and then run around Bunting until Gryllswold got the scent. Then he sprinted like hell for the George Washington Statue, which is too slippery for bears to climb, and one of our guys got Gryllswold with a tranquilizer dart. Then, the office was clear for President Bere to move in and claim her territory.
Bere has already begun programs for change at the College in her first few weeks in office including “Dam for the Debt” which involves building a dam in the Chester River and starting a trout fishery there in order to raise funds to combat student debt. The only snafu in the process, according to time-space wizards in the business office, was convincing the president that the fish must be sold to local seafood distributors for human currency, and that students cannot actually pay their tuition in fresh trout.
So far, there have been very few complaints from students about the switch to ursine leadership at the college. “Inauguration sure was short,” said junior Boord Dued. “I dunno how they got a bear to sing the alma matter like that.”
Campus publication, the WC Illiad even published a thinkpiece titled “An Open Letter To My Former Best Friend Who Is Oppressing Bears By Thinking They Don’t Make Great World Leaders.” The writer of the piece, Haeda Idia said that hiring Bere was a great step for femenism in higher education. “And who knows,” she said. “Maybe if Bere is an effective leader, they’ll decide that a female human could even do the job.”