The Tomato

Little wall of horrors. Photo: Rame Abdulkader.
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Students aren’t the only ones stress snacking

The living wall in the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) building has become the topic of much scrutiny on campus, following reports of several student disappearances in its vicinity. Since the beginning of September, 17 students have been reported missing—the majority of whom belong to the Faculties of Social Sciences and Arts.

“It’s terrifying,” said second-year psychology student Mark Beauchamp in an interview with the Tomato. “One minute, you’re studying with your friend, and the next minute, they’re gone.”

Further inquiry into these incidents has led to an alarming conclusion: the wall appears to be eating students. The Tomato spoke to Gilbert Lalonde, a biology professor at the University of Ottawa. His research is focused in the area of botanical metacognition.

“At this time of year, many species of plant are in the midst of preparation for hibernation,” explained Lalonde. “It is only natural that the living wall would feel the need to increase its nutritional intake in anticipation of the coming season.”

Lalonde added that plants are highly susceptible to the same type of emotional stress that humans experience when faced with extreme change.

“The recent increase of the student population in FSS likely caused the living wall to undergo significant mental turbulence,” he explained. “It is likely that this compulsive consumption of students is a kind of coping mechanism for the wall.”

So essentially, the wall is stress eating.

Students have noticed the wall’s seeming preference for arts and social sciences students, noting its significant distaste for engineers.

“My friend was annoying me the other day,” Third-year civil engineering student Arianne Jacobs told the Tomato. “I tried to feed him to the wall, but it wouldn’t take him—it spat him right back out!”

This intriguing dietary trend is likely due to the high level of cortisol, the “stress hormone” found in engineering students’ bodies.

“Engineering students experience elevated stress levels due to their often-hectic schedules,” stated a U of O student-therapist. “It is unclear as to whether these students ever even get the chance to sleep.” The cortisol gives the engineers a more bitter taste, which is likely why the wall is less fond of them.

The Social Science Task Force (SSTF) is making arrangements to stage a rescue for the students who have been eaten by the wall; however, rescue attempts are still in the planning stages, as teams struggle to determine the most effective rescue strategy.

“We have been carefully monitoring the living wall’s behavioural patterns, and have noted several intriguing tendencies,” wrote SSTF director Alan Lee in an email to the Tomato. “Most importantly, it appears to have had its sleep schedule severely disrupted by the recent onset of the academic year. We are hoping to exploit its insomnia, but we have yet to formulate a precise plan of action.”

Lee’s caution is not shared by most students, many of whom are simply desperate to get their friends back from the wall.

“Stop wasting time planning,” exclaimed a fourth-year student whose roommate disappeared last Friday. “Just chuck a bunch of engineers at it—that’ll stun it!”

Students are being cautioned by the SSTF to never study alone, and to keep their distance from the wall. People with suggestions for suppressing the wall’s behavioural issues should contact the SSTF immediately.