The Amherst Hamster:
Letter from the Dean

From: lbshartem@amherst.edu

Sent: Thu 4/25/2002 6:58 PM

To: all-students@amherst.edu

Subject: Letter from the Dean

Dear Students,

My name is Dean Shartem and I am in charge of Student Health Affairs (SHA) here at Amherst. I am new to Amherst this semester and I just wanted to touch base with all of you before finals are upon us.

The primary purpose of my contacting you is to officially dispel the strange rumors that my colleagues and I have heard from numerous sources around campus. Again, I repeat that these reports are NOT true. Apparently a few students have posted flyers around campus about an alleged hamster outbreak. While this may sound silly, many students, faculty members, and parents have shown genuine concern about this situation. You may recall the aforementioned flyers to imitate official warnings and claim connection with Campus Police and the Biology Dept. While one copy was displayed in yesterday's Amherst Student, many others warned of dangerous health risks that these hamsters allegedly posed.

The truth is, the flyers are the result of a few pranksters looking to get a scare out of their fellow students. We have reason to believe these same students, who have since been identified by Campus Police, also scattered mouse traps and cedar bedding in various locations around campus. Campus Police are currently dealing with the recent infractions and I assure you that there will be no further violations. At this point the student body is much less aware of the actual incident that took place last week, than they are of the fictitious version created by these few students. Last Friday, April 19th, there was an incident involving the disappearance of several small rodents from the Life Sciences Building. I must stress, however, that the number of rodents was quite small and many of them have already been retrieved. At no point have these rodents in any way posed a threat to students or faculty.

As we expect, you might have already assumed this. In any case, please help us put these silly rumors to rest. They certainly do not reflect the stable learning environment that we work so hard to achieve at Amherst. Also, we would not want to project any fallacies about our prestigious learning community. It is imperative that we do not dwell on these puerile stunts, so we can move forth as a cohesive academic community.

Thank you for your time, and I wish you all good luck during finals. I have been thoroughly impressed with the small number of you that I've met this semester, and I am ecstatic to meet even more of you in semesters to come!

Sincerely yours,

Dean Linda Shartem

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Linda B. Shartem, M.D., Ph.D

Dean of Student Health Affairs

Amherst College Converse 105E

(413) 542-2163