First, it was an email. Then a fence. Then war.
When the email came on April 20, 2015, bearing news that construction fencing was going up on Fifth Street, no one gave it much thought. BaylorNewsFlash emails weren’t necessarily common, but they certainly weren’t unusual.
It was on this day, however, that the fencing for the construction was expanded to encase nearly all of Fifth Street, essentially dividing the campus in two. The only way to cross the barrier was to go around it, adding several minutes to the journey, or to take a shortcut in the middle. Journeyers across campus could always attempt to jump the fence, but that is by far one of the deadliest actions to take. Especially now.
Within a day, fighting had broken out between the north and the south sides of campus. Initially, the squabble was on social media outlets like Twitter and Yik Yak.
After four days of the Bearlin Wall, as the fence was affectionately dubbed by students, brawls broke out in the streets. The fights turned physical. The south claimed the color gold and the north claimed green. The longer the fence stood, the easier it was to distinguish who was from what side. For those who lived on campus, they knew their alliances were based on their living quarters. For those who hailed from off campus, many determined their allegiances based on where their major of study was located.
Some attempted to remain neutral, but that decision quickly became difficult to stand by as loved ones fell around them.
Students became soldiers in a matter of days. Why did these soldiers — these Baylor men and women — choose to turn against their own brothers and sisters?
The answer to this question is different for everyone. Maybe it was a matter of pride. For some, it was revenge. For others, it was a chance to defend a place they called home.
It’s uncertain which side fired the first shot. In fact, it almost seemed as though the fighting broke out on both sides simultaneously. At this point, it doesn’t matter.
The Lariat is a staff divided, as are people from different majors and living situations on campus. Brother against brother. Sister against sister. Girlfriend against boyfriend.
The south currently rallies under the leadership of Ryan Richardson, whose nickname “Chapel Ryan” has since changed to “Captain.” His years of leading Chapel make him recognizable to a majority of the campus. Who is it at his side but none other than University Chaplain Burt Burleson, who brings with him the power of the Bobo Spiritual Life Center staff.
Together, the Captain and General Burleson rally the troops inside Waco Hall with Baylor mascots Lady and Joy roaring their approval.
The soldiers from the Honors Residential College come armed with Nerf guns and wearing bandanas from the old days of Human vs. Zombies. The religion and history soldiers contemplate the stories they’ve read of past wars and attempt to construct a battle plan. The leaders in Allen and Dawson organize the soldiers into various sectors, while the girls of Collins stand ready for orders.
The soldiers from Kokernot and Brooks gather in their respective platoons, ready for the chance to show their athleticism in battle. The outdoor adventure soldiers work to train the Baylor squirrels to rise up and take ranks. The English students feverishly construct a mission statement for the south, referring to the textbooks in the Baylor Bookstore for references and guidelines.
For nourishment, the south looks to the staff in ROFC at Memorial. Ms. Mei’s cookies keep the soldiers hyper and prepared for action.
Brooks Great Hall has become the place where the wounded reside.
Pearson Brown, Baylor’s student body president-elect, rallies his future followers in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Common Grounds works overtime to provide caffeine to the strained south, which simply doesn’t have the manpower of the north.
Lead by coaches Art Briles, Kim Mulkey and Scott Drew, the north’s operations are built on sheer power.
With the full force of the football and basketball teams behind them, these three ferociously lead the north. Briles with a menacing composure. Mulkey with terrifying intensity. Drew with silent strategy.
The engineering soldiers construct a catapult to fling books from Moody Library over the fence. The lawyers are in the background, trying to determine liabilities and legalities. The sciences have rallied to strategize with potential chemical and biological warfare.
The equestrian team prepares their mounts to face the foot soldiers from Martin in the south. Soldiers from University Parks and North Village work together to protect the north’s perimeters.
The Truett Seminary students watch the situation unfold with bated breath, the message of Truett ringing ever more true — the night cometh.
Brown’s north student counterpart, Seth Russell, with the help of the Baylor Police Department and ROTC, fortifies the perimeter around President and Chancellor Ken Starr’s house.
Starr looks out his window in silence, hesitant to pick a side and further divide his beloved Baylor. His offices are located to the south in Pat Neff, which was overrun by southerners early in the war. Pat Neff gleamed green with the south’s success.
In the latest battle, Brown, flanked by Lady and Joy, came face to face with Art Briles and Seth Russell to attempt negotiations. They met where a future fountain is to stand. It was here that Briles revealed his secret weapon: LaQuan McGowan.
Little did Briles know Brown was simply a diversion and men of Martin were secretly stealing into northern territory by way of the underground sewers.
The war continues to unfold, even as classes come to an end. The south relies on its ability to pull off covert operations. The north continues to rely on strength.
Small battles take place daily. It’s too close to call. Who will win?
Social media dispatches from the Front Lines
- Next year’s class will never have to endure the pain and agony of this war and separation.
THE SOUTH HAS DISCONNECTED AIRBEAR! There is a line in war and it has been crossed.
Water is low, and food is scarce. The south has blocked off any possible routes towards H-E-B. We attack when the sun sets, they’ll be expecting us at dawn. We are fasted and ready.
“War, war never changes.” The young Tealian thought as he charged the enemy; firing both his nerf guns at will.
Professor: “why didn’t you turn in your essay” me: “I lost my brother to the war last night. I came to class because it was his last wish”
Too bad the SUB bowling alleys are in the South. I guess I’ll have to make do with the basketball courts, swimming pool, racquetball courts, and weight room at the SLC in the North. Woe is me.
The soldiers of Fort Penland are continuing to hold off the rebels of Martin in the battle of the Exxon.
Good thing NCAA isn’t judging the war, they’d just name two champions and give everyone rings.
The south has Common Grounds so who’s the real winner here.
THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN