Cas Sweeney ’19 | Associate Editor
On March 19, at 8:53 p.m., the sound of Neilson construction came to an abrupt stop, and all was silent. At 9:57 p.m., Campus Police was seen arriving on the scene to escort a Smith student out of the construction zone. However, when they approached the student, she vanished.
Over the course of the next week, the student, who others started referring to as “Caroline, the Neilson Ghost,” appeared and disappeared at random intervals. Whenever she arrived, she wailed about her midterms and finals. The first night, she was heard shouting, “Done is better than good!” but then quickly changing her mind and screaming, “But grad school!”
Whenever construction workers or campus police approach her, she becomes increasingly agitated, and declares that she “just needs a few more hours to finish her essay. [She’s] really almost done this time.” Counseling services were sent over to discuss her workload with her, but the ghostly flood of stress tears constrained them to beat a hasty retreat.
Eventually the disruptions became too frequent for the construction to continue on schedule, and the Board of Trustees decided to have the ghost removed by magical means. However, when the magical consultants arrived to force the ghost off the property, she became enraged and began destroying the historic portions of Neilson. The consultants were then forced to flee when she knocked the back roof off of the building.
An all-campus meeting was called in John M. Greene Hall, on March 23, to come to a decision regarding the ghost. Students were split nearly evenly between supporting and condemning the ghost.
Amelia Knox ’18 said, “I really relate to Caroline. Like, I don’t want to do my finals either, and if I could break things over it, I totally would.”
Knox was part of a casual sit-in, protesting the College’s treatment of the ghost. The group had signs that said “Knock s*** over!” and “No Poor Treatment Of Ghosts At Smith College Now Or Ever.”
Maria Smith ’21 felt differently about the ghost’s presence and said, “I .get being stressed out but really? Really? I had seven midterms yesterday and you don’t see me getting upset and pushing things over.” When asked about the potential of construction halting because of the ghost, she said, “I really hope the college decides not to stop construction. All the older students talk about missing Neilson Library, and I would like to see it someday, so that I can tell them they are wrong and that it’s not that great.”
After the all-campus meeting and sit-in, the administration announced that they are officially halting construction of Neilson until the ghost can be removed from the construction zone. There are currently plans in place to host de-stressing workshops on the edge of the construction zone, in hopes of calming the ghost down enough to continue work on the building.
President McCartney said, in an email about the decision, “At Smith, we are committed to making things happen, while also being aware of the situation around events choices, and making sure that things that ought not to happen are watched over. We, as a community, will recommit to this goal while moving forward, together.”