Carleton’s tunnels are a much-discussed aspect of the campus experience, and there’s more to them than painted concrete. Herewith a guide to underground legends and lore
The Cart Before the Hoarse
The annoying beep-beep of maintenance carts has startled anyone who has spent part of a groggy morning in the tunnels. Tales of victims practically run over by a cart are a whispered warning to first-year students. But despite the widespread view that maintenance workers behind the wheel have unrealistic Formula One aspirations, the university actually has a strict policy for staff piloting the 57 carts.
While personal safety above ground got all the press in 2008 when the university allocated $1.6 million for lighting, pathways and security cameras, physical plant’s golf-cart policy also got a revamp. New regulations included “stricter speed rules” and “large identification numbers to report poor driving,” according to a 2008 news release. Mandatory golf-cart education includes a full-stop rule at all yellow stop lines and signs. Unfortunately for those with a hangover, that dreaded horn was maintained as a safety feature.
Blight at the End of the Tunnel
Forget Rodney the Raven. Tunnel Ninja has earned his place as Carleton’s unofficial mascot. It’s hard to say when his mysterious identity cropped up in The Charlatan’s Voicebox column, followed by rumours across campus.
According to a Facebook page (“The Tunnel Ninja is my homeboy”) dedicated to the masked man, Ninja’s office space is described as “wherever there is injustice and unsafe tunnel-cart driving.” There is also a Youtube mockumentary devoted to uncovering the Tunnel Ninja’s identity.
But it’s a toss-up whether the ninja’s true calling is chivalry or chaos. Some say he’s the artist of the graffiti tags on the tunnel wall murals. When it comes to his intentions, former Charlatan features editor Chris Hannay wrote, “We may never know.”
Ultimate Pit Stop
For students whose goal is the most anticipated party of the year, almost anything is a reason to celebrate. Architecture students take a break from studio life to throw Kosmic, a huge annual arts bash, or host impromptu parties in “The Pit”—a hole in the concrete floor of the architecture building. In the hollowed-out space, a Converse-clad band blasts jazz-rock infusions, while drinks are spiked in broom closets or elsewhere. The Pit becomes a temporary dance floor for visitors from architecture and beyond to let loose well into the night. Who said engineers are the only ones who know how to party?