Some UC Berkeley students are outraged that a squirrel now occupies one of the university's 20 student senate seats.
After about a month of campaigning, "Furry Boi" was named to the Associated Students of the University of California Senate on April 13, the Daily Californian reported last week.
The squirrel initially took the form of a small critter living among eucalyptus trees on campus, running on platforms like easier acorn access. He was embodied by a human in a squirrel suit.
But the man behind the campaign and allegedly the one in the suit, sophomore Stephen Boyle, posted his real intentions and policy platforms to Facebook on Monday, the Daily Cal reports. And Boyle/Furry Boi says he "ain't resigning."
The campaign's public Facebook page, @SenatorFurryBoi, carries the profile image of a campus squirrel standing on its hind legs, captioned "Furry Boi Fur Senate." On March 16, the squirrel announced its candidacy with the accompanying hashtags #ImWithFur and #whynut. Tongue-in-cheek humor and commentary pervade the account's posts.
Boyle reportedly used Furry Boi to get his foot in the door, and his actual concerns (aside from squirrel rights) are environmentalism, disabilities/mental illness and a better campus community with increased school spirit.
As a result of the successful satiric campaign, Boyle occupies one of 20 spots filled in last week's election tally, for which 37 potential candidates ran, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The campaign upset and disappointed many students and some elected ASUC officers, who saw it as a sign that students weren't taking student government seriously.
The Daily Cal also scolded the student body this week, in an editorial, for electing a squirrel.
"On a campus where roughly 20 percent of undergraduate students are transfers, instead of a single transfer representative in next year’s senate class, there’s a squirrel," the editorial board wrote, also calling the voting in of a joke candidate "a shocking display of privilege."
Other students disagree, seeing Furry Boi as symbolic of the student body's frustration with ASUC.
Days after revealing its human puppet master, the official Furry Boi Facebook posted a status reacting to the Daily Cal's editorial with a "vomit" emoji.
The Los Angeles Times reports that hundreds of fox squirrels live on the UC Berkeley campus and that they carry a "significant presence" there.
College campuses, especially in California, appear to be near-perfect dwellings for squirrels, with or without democratic representation for the critters.