NIU: You’ve been punk’d

By Casey Toner, Matt Knutson, Alice Webb, and

Since the dawn of man, or at least “Animal House,” pranking has been as synonymous with college as Carrot Top has been with not being funny.

For the last two weeks, the Weekender has been speaking to students and investigating various pranks. Some are simple and light-hearted, while others are a step away from robbing a bank.

In addition, we spoke to Terry Jones, associate director of the Student Judicial Office, to see what kind of trouble can ensue from a prank.

All pleasantries aside, wet your palate with these:

The Flood Gates

Senior OMIS major Elektra Thompson recalls her floormates having some fun with a little H2O.

“Some residents have laid buckets of water against people’s doors, so when they open them the water will spill onto their floor.”

No way out

Imagine being trapped in a dark, smelly pit … junior art major Mike Freske recalled one prank pulled on a former floormate on Neptune North’s first floor. Someone acquired a very large piece of cardboard from the Art Building, placed it over the door of an occupied room and duct-taped the edges to the wall.

“The door had to be busted open with some force,” Freske said.

Penny Pinching

If you’re running late for class, this next one is sure to give you a panic attack.

“I’m a [community adviser] and I know some of the other CAs have been known to put pennies in the cracks of their residents’ doors so they can’t get out,” Thompson said.

“Pennying people in their room is one of the oldest pranks in the book. Push the door forward, put pennies in the jam. Let’s say the person that you penny in the room has a roommate. You don’t know if the roommate is, let’s say, diabetic or epileptic. [After] pinning the person in, he gets nervous, has an epileptic seizure. Nine out of 10 times, it’s not going to be that big a deal. It’s that one time that could make or break you, and you don’t know, right?”

One step too far

There’s always that kid that crosses the line and takes things a little too far. John Ugolini recalled his floormates and how they thought it would be funny to fool an individual on their floor. So when she was gone, some kids stole her car keys. They then preceded to move the car to the gravel lot and put the vehicle on blocks. They then removed the hub caps and placed them over the toilets in the women’s bathroom.

Terry Jones says: “Stealing someone’s car is stealing someone’s car. If you treated it as you thought it weren’t a serious offense, all you would have to say is, ‘hey, I was just pranking them.'”

It’s Poop Again

Senior hospitality administration major Shaunta Butler no longer lives in the residence halls. But when she did, she and her roommate shaped a brownie like a turd and put it in the girls’ shower. Residents began screaming and complaining to the CA about how “the turd” permeated the hallway with a wretched stench.

My Room or Yours?

Ever walk into someone else’s room by accident? Well, this time it was on purpose. Nitin Goil, Douglas Hall’s A/B residence hall director, recalls the time when some people switched around the bolted door numbers, causing mass confusion.

The number changing occurred during the first week of school before the freshmen knew the location of their rooms.

Lavatory Debauchery

We all know how much fun the bathroom can be. Senior geography major Justin Barnett recalls what he and his floormates did while they were shacked up in the residence halls.

“People take other people’s clothes while they’re in the shower, so they have to run back to their rooms naked. We also would throw buckets of cold water over the stalls to cool off [people in] the showers.”

Senior media studies major John Ugolini, also a Northern Star cartoonist, recalls the battle he had with his roommate: “My roommate thought it would be funny to take all my belongings and put them in the bathroom. I came home and my whole room was recreated in the bathroom, all the way to the posters hanging on the walls. To get back at him, I stole all of his CDs and his cell phone and held them for ransom.”

‘Ouch, that burns’

Have you ever had that burning sensation in your pants? Goli said, “This year, on the fifth floor of the D-wing in Douglas, someone smeared an ointment on the toilet seats in the bathrooms. Unfortunately for some, the ointment caused a burning sensation.”

“Again, this is something I would consider a serious prank, considering the health concerns. You’ve got an ointment on the toilet seat that the person doesn’t know what’s there — Lord knows what was on the toilet seat that could be transmitted. The fact that one would have to go seek medical attention … is serious and disruptive. In terms of speculating on sanctions, we don’t have serious sanctions, so we’d have to examine the facts of the matter and sanction appropriately. You could get expelled or suspended, notwithstanding the fact that there can be criminal charges as well.”

The Ol’ Switcheroo

Sophomore English major Carlene Truitt played interior decorator on one of her pals.

“One time, my friend Davey and I switched his neighbor’s room around while both of them went home for the weekend, so all of Karma’s stuff was on Katie’s side and Katie’s stuff was on Karma’s side. We placed it perfectly. It was great. They shouldn’t have left their door unlocked.”

“The charge would be unauthorized use of another person’s facilities; or authorized entry into the other person’s room. A $50 fine, minimum. A period of judicial probation, minimum. And community service. Generally, if you are going to disrupt someone, you would do community service working for the grounds crew. We give community service in three-hour groups and you’d be doing something like picking up cigarette butts off the porch.”

Come and Knock On Our Door

Junior marketing major Ryan Goodale recalls tampering with an entryway.

“I took a whole bunch of newspaper, taped it over the door and filled it with newspaper, and then when she opened the door in the morning, all the newspaper flowed into her room.”

Junior pre-elementary education major Peggy Keiner recalls some religious fun her and a pal had with another friend.

“A friend of mine is Mormon, and we have some other Mormon friends that lived in the residence halls, so we thought it would be funny to tape Jesus pictures on her door. We then taped a plastic bag over the door and filled it full of packing peanuts, so when she opened the door, her room was flooded with peanuts.”

Terry Jones says:”You are crossing the line with harassment in addition to pranking. One could easily argue that that’s a form of harassment, and we don’t tolerate harassment, particularly in the climate where the moral climate in our country and the religious differences and intolerance are more serious than they’ve ever been.”