It all started the fall of my fifth year at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. I had always played by the rules (mostly) and I brought the idea of a prank one night to my friend Nate Saving. Nate (being an upperclassman as well) felt that the need to pull something off of supreme grandeur was necessary…so we began our brainstorming. We had a few groundrules: 1-Nothing would be damaged/destroyed 2-No one’s responsibilities on campus would be compromised 3-None of our friends on staff (i.e. security/janitors) with keys would be involved or know about it so that they could plead innocence later on 4-We would use as small a number of trustworthy people possible so that we can keep it completely secret.
We had many ideas, but one seemed to rise above the rest. We would completely switch all the wooden chairs in the chapel for the old metal/plastic ones in the dining hall (I believe at this writing the chairs there have changed). So, we began our prep work. 1-the day…none other than the night before Homecoming Chapel when all of the Alumni and Board of Regents would be there 2-Who would be involved? 10 guys and 3 girls (we had RAs, pre-sem, senate members, executive board members, athletes, musicians (a quite varied group). 3- How many chairs are there? Around 500 altogether. 4- How long will it take to walk from the dining hall to chapel and how many chairs can you lift? About 38sec and 2 chapel chairs and 4-5 dining hall chairs. 5- How will we get in and where to meet that night…this brings us to our story…
Our first task was to get into these two places. One of our members was an organist and had keys to the chapel, which made that quite easy. (no key cards there yet) The dining hall would be hard…security doesn’t even have keys to it, because Sodexho is in charge there. So, we decided that Ryan Hatch would hide behind the piano one evening as supper was nearing its end. We covered him and he slipped back there unnoticed with his cell phone. He decided to take a nap and Marcus called to wake him up a couple hours later when the workers had gone. He taped the door lock open and came back to Centennial Hall. Our rendezvous point was my room in Centennial at 2 AM. All the members showed up in black and we made our plans. The 3 girls would have cells phones and be placed along the tunnel, outside old switchboard, and in the daycare playground. They would alert us of any activity. We got started and were moving quickly when we realized we needed some of the ladies’ assistance and Alicia helped put the “new” chapel chairs in perfect order with hymnals underneath. The others were in the dining hall doing the same. It seemed we were a little loud and a janitor caught us. We all ran and left everything all over the grounds. I decided to run back and have a chat with him. Ryan came and I talked to him and explained it was a Homecoming prank to liven the spirits of the school body. He ran with it and we were underway again. (he said he would plead innocence later…what a great guy!) We finished the whole job without anything being damaged chairs (of a different make in perfect position)…in 55 minutes!! It was truly amazing.
The next morning brought another story. Christus Chorus was planned to sing for chapel and Andy I planned to witness our success firsthand. Yet, when we walked in…it had been switched back!! We were dumbfounded and a little upset, but we had to act like nothing was wrong, so that we didn’t give it away. Everyone from the classes before chapel had been recruited to put it back by Prof. Steve who ran around yelling “The chapel’s been vandalized!!” Needless to say, we played dumb and listened to all the theories about it for the next couple weeks and months.
About 2 weeks later I received an email requesting a meeting with me by the head of security. I wrote an email to all the players involved, notified them of this and reminded them i would take the fall and they were to say nothing. He threatened harsh punishment if I didn’t give up names, I refused, and finally told him what he wanted to know. (I didn’t know at this time how the rest of the professors/president were taking it) We were all questioned and sentenced to 6 hours of community service walking around with a security guard and checking on things that they could do better. We had become a security risk and we entered places without consent.
Therefore…I have a confidential file with Concordia University and at the bottom of the sheet which explained my disobedient behavior I signed on the line next to the words…
SIGNATURE OF THE ACCUSED.