Following spring break I decided to interview one of the William Jewell College’s most well known figures to attain insight into the innermost functions of the campus’s community. Horse Skeleton can be found seven days a week on the first floor of the White Science Center and is known for being a good listener and having a reassuring presence. This skeleton has even been described by students to be “reliable” and “always there” when needed. It’s popularity is exemplified in the annual tradition of incoming first-year students having to find Skeleton during orientation. These factors make Horse Skeleton an ideal figure to turn to when pursuing answers. Not only has it been at Jewell for an extended period of time but, it is well liked, knows everyone and is always where it is expected to be.
Easing into the interview I asked Horse Skeleton “Could you please introduce yourself? Your name, a bit about yourself and your role at Jewell?”
Shyly, Horse Skeleton declined to answer, obviously aware of its status as a well-known campus figure.
Undeterred I pressed on with my questions, asking: “How do you feel about Dr. MacLeod Walls’ branding mission initiative? Do you agree with the sentiment that a single, pre-determined Jewell mission statement will be a positive asset to this community, or do you think that such a statement is only useful for admissions and could actually restrict campus development?”
Again, Horse Skeleton did not answer, but instead gave a look indicating that the answer to that question should be obvious to all.
Persisting I shifted my line of questioning; “How do you feel the changing political climate in the United States has affected the dynamic of the Jewell campus community?”
But, before Horse Skeleton could answer, I blurted out with another question: “Do you think changing social pressures, from the government and other extreme influencers will reduce acceptance and diversity on the Jewell campus? Do you think that, perhaps implicitly, these attitudes are already repressed?”
Perhaps reluctant to offer its honest and, excuse the pun, unbridled opinion, Horse Skeleton again declined to answer.
Once more shifting my line of questioning I decided to ask Horse Skeleton some questions of a more personal nature, “How do you feel knowing that the majority of buildings at Jewell are not wheelchair, nor horse accessible?”
Seemingly disgruntled, Horse Skeleton remained silent.
Relentlessly I pressed harder, “Do you think this reality detracts from Jewell’s status as an inclusive campus? Do you believe it is possible to create a welcoming community that is structurally and intrinsically exclusionary?”
Remaining silent, Horse Skeleton stared off into the distance and refused to meet my gaze.
Recognizing the discomfort of Horse Skeleton and not willing to increase this, I decided to end the interview there. Despite its stoic silence, I was fortunate to be able to spend time with one of Jewell’s most known figures.