Breathe a sigh of relief, University of Oklahoma grads, et al. The Norman U still exists. But for a while, said school's officials seemed to be in doubt, after a slew of disconcerting messages in chalk and on fliers blanketed the campus.
"On April 21, all operations at OU Norman will cease," fliers reportedly distributed on March 7 stated, followed by chalked comments April 2. "As of this date, the free university known as the Happy Nihilist University will begin."
Chalkings also referenced topics ranging from a "Fear Week" and Virginia Tech, the Oke reported, to, we're not kidding: "Liberty or Death " Hamburgers."
For those thinking this could've been a stunt " albeit a twisted one " nihilism can refer to the view that conditions are so bad destruction is preferable.
Well, after Norman resident and former OU philosophy student Robert Lein Anderson, 38, allegedly e-mailed OU police "we would like your cooperation in the transfer of power," said officers opted out, and Anderson was arrested in connection with the messages. Charged with a felony count of "advocating unlawfulness on school grounds," per the Oke, he remained in Cleveland County Jail on $1,000 bail after the fateful day had passed.
So, what's the deal with April 21? It is Anderson's (and OU Prez David Boren's) birthday, according to reports. On the date in 1994, per stories in The Oklahoman at the time, Anderson, then 24, "burst past OU President Richard Van Horn "¦ told him his life was in danger and then spray-painted the president's office wall."
"He told us we had to evacuate the office because it would be dangerous to our health to remain there," Van Horn told the paper. "He was not violent in any way."
A suspected "bomb" Anderson was carting turned out to be the can of blue paint, which he tried to apply after jumping on a couch.
Also that year, Anderson " who initiated a student organization, the OU Society of the Absurd " reportedly vied for Van Horn's job (which went to Boren). "I know I am not being considered "¦ because I read in The Oklahoman that the search committee is only interviewing serious candidates," he said to the paper then. "I have not been interviewed."