Disturbance at the Hower House: Live blog of events unfolding at U Akron

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Overnight, reports of strange activity at the University of Akron began filtering in about President Scott Scarborough. Sources say he stormed out of an off-the-books meeting in the Hower House, the large Victorian mansion where university presidents once hosted important guests. Scarborough has allegedly failed to show up for several appointments, going unseen until reports surfaced this morning that the trustees were searching campus for him. 

7:49 am – Eyewitnesses say the Ballet Center, formerly St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which the university wants to demolish despite its spot on the National Register of Historic Places, has been surrounded by the entire complement of the university’s Corps of Cadets. Calls to the university have not yet been returned.

8:27 am – Twitter lights up with claims Scarborough was seen being escorted across campus by the Corps of Cadets in what tweeter @Nubbinz420 described as a “battle formation.” Other sources confirmed the sighting and added the cadets are carrying wooden rifles.

9:38 am – The university releases a statement about the reports: “Everything is okay. President Scarborough is just hosting his book club at the former Ballet Center because he can’t ask people to come to the Presidential Residence while workers are installing tile made from rhino horns and elephant tusks in the new mother-in-law bathroom add-on to the master bathroom. So, you see, it’s really no big deal. Like the trustees having their next meeting at Wayne College. Shit, I wasn’t supposed to mention that. Oh well. Seriously, nothing to see here. Move along!”

10:23 am – One-man advocacy group Friend of the University President, organized and funded by former UA board chair Dick Pogue, buys a full-page ad in the ABJ that urges the community to come together. “Specifically,” he writes, “we need to come around the University of Akron to block off the roads until we find and surround Scott with our warm embrace, comforting and soothing him until he knows he is loved.”

10:24 am – “The ABCs of President Scarborough’s Second Year” appears online at Ohio.com with highlights like “H is for Hair. Even though many men his age have none, that is not true for Scarborough, who has been known to remark, ‘Better to turn gray than to turn loose’,” and “S is for Smiles. He smiles a lot.”  

11:11 am – The Buchtelite’s staff, between classes and assignments, cite sources who say, with the two new members appointed by Gov. Kasich, the majority of trustees are ready to move on from Scarborough and that the president is now actively dodging them, ignoring their phone calls, text messages and Facebook posts, even the ones with amazing videos like that kid at the yo-yo championships — How can you not *like* that video?

12:00 pm – Students are overheard outside EJ Thomas asking when Food Truck Friday starts up again.

12:31 pm – According to hand-drawn reports by the guy who does the comic strips in the West Side Leader, several trustees stood silently as Board Chair Jon Pavloff confronted the Corps of Cadets outside the former Ballet Center, asking politely to be let inside. Only trustee Ralph Palmisano broke rank, yelling at the cadets, “I don’t believe you’re real.”

1:22 pm – Opponents of the administration purchase five full page ads in the Beacon Journal listing the names of all the people who have used the new Facebook emojis to react to web stories about the University of Akron.

1:23 pm – A Beacon Journal article regurgitates two-week-old reporting from The Devil Strip. Publisher Chris Horne can be heard screaming in his office by people who are tired of hearing him talk about the University of Akron. He goes back to planning how to get more bathroom coverage in the magazine.

2:12 pm – University officials release another statement, this time on its website calling reports that President Scarborough has been missing since Thursday evening patently false and a distortion of the facts, noting he only temporarily disappeared but re-established contact 36 hours after missing an appointment with the Board of Trustees and will return to Buchtel Hall once his demands are met. The statement adds, “See, when you know the FACTS, it doesn’t sound nearly as bad, right?”

2:24 pm – Instagram user LeLeNubs posts a photo of a wrecking ball-equipped crane waiting outside the historic former church. The comment attached to the photo makes a bad Miley Cyrus reference.  

2:32 pm – YikYak explodes with complaints about Rob’s.

2:33 pm – Everyone over the age of 25 who’s reading this Googles “YikYak”.

2:49 pm – The Plain Northeast Ohio Media Dealer reports that the state-funded demolition of the Ballet Center is slated for 4 pm today, which they say sources say explains all the heavy equipment that also surrounds the historic former church.

3:15 pm – Scarborough cracks open the doors, releasing dozens of white doves. Attached to one is “The Constitution of the Sovereign Republic of ITT Polytech Institute,” which was drafted in pen on the back of a 48-page set of printed Powerpoint slides quoting leadership books he’s read. The document claims the former St. Paul’s should now be referred to as “Scarboroughborotown,” the capital of his new state.

3:17 pm – University lawyers tell local media that public records requests for “The hand-written constitution originally released in a flock of doves on April 1, 2016 by President Scott Scarborough on the backside of presentation slides” is overly broad and ambiguous.

3:55 pm – As the wrecking ball begins its backwards swing, the crowd of onlookers is stunned by the roar of a bulldozer barreling towards the church. Eyewitnesses say it was driven by VP of Advancement Larry Burns who made a grand entrance after hotwiring the bulldozer from a construction site off of East Exchange Street and plowing a large swath through the field where the former UA baseball team played on his way to the stand-off. As bystanders scattered, Burns, who was unironically wearing a bowtie with bulldozers on it, screamed over the din of chaos and heavy machinery, “I’m coming!” Sources say that’s when Scarborough swung down from the bell tower of the church and landed on the back of the fast-moving dozer, which was last seen on the ramp for Ohio-8, heading towards Texas.

4:20 pm – The ABJ editorial board pens an opinion piece that says Scarborough showed great vision for trying to establish St. Paul’s Episcopal as a sovereign state but questioned his communication and leadership in making it happen, which was the only problem they had with the whole endeavor.

5 pm – By the way, it’s April Fools Day. But you knew that, didn’t you?

(Ballet Center photo by Robbie Schneider – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21922867 )

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