Conspiracy Theories about COVID - Tulane Edition


As the second month of the new year continues, I think it is safe to say there is hope. Hope with a new president in office, hope for vaccines, hope for sticking to resolutions, hope for the future. 

My hope, though, has been recently squashed like a cockroach in Sharp (our favorite and most disgusting freshman dormitory) as the plague rats I call peers continue to run rampant through the city, crawling to Red Eye, squeezing into backyards, and piling into party buses. 


Let me preface this article by saying that I am not a perfect person. During the beginning of the pandemic I did not take it as seriously as I do now. Let me also say that I am fed up with the lack of normalcy with which we all currently have to conduct our lives. But my frustration does not give me good moral reason to break pandemic guidelines and party as if there are not people dying, being hospitalized, and being fed disgusting food in Patterson (our dorm where people diagnosed with COVID must stay). So, I have recently been asking myself why this is such an issue on our campus, specifically when we know that we live in a city that is exceptionally vulnerable to this pandemic. The following are conclusions I have come to. 


1. “How many Tulane students does it take to screw in a light bulb” syndrome 

Maybe, despite our low acceptance rate and our historic prestige as a university, we’re all actually just really stupid. Like incredibly stupid. Our numbers have all been faked by our incredibly rich parents who can afford to pay some Russian hacker to alter our tests scores and high school GPA, so we only look good on paper. But in reality, we rely on at least 15 other Tulane students to support whatever endeavor we choose to attack, i.e. screwing in a lightbulb. So maybe that is the reason people continue to gather in masses because we simply cannot function as one whole human without leaning on or using other Tulane students to create one whole brain.


white ceramic mug on white table beside black eyeglasses Unsplash


2. We’re Robotically Controlled by University Officials 

This one might be my favorite theory: Tulane, with our flu shot this year, or the food in the LBC and The Commons, implanted us with microchips and is controlling our every move. We are simply their puppets and they, our masters. They continue forcing us to congregate in masses so they can chastise us about those COVID violations later.  I think Dean Woodley would be in charge of this plan because maybe she just really enjoys sending those aggressive emails. Maybe it is what lets her sleep soundly at night. Or, maybe she feels like without sending those emails she might lose her job. Maybe the emails give her a sort of sense of purpose. Either way, if your limbs start twitching and you somehow wind up at a bar or at a frat kickback and you don't know how you got there, I’d blame Woodley. 


3. Clones from the Tulane Medical Center 

You heard me. I think that slowly, as people are being TEMsed, and as people are being shipped to the Hyatt, or placed in Patterson, when they come back… it is actually a clone that Tulane’s med school has created. Now, you might be wondering, “Why would the med school need to make clones of Tulane undergrads?” My simple answer: cadaver usage. They actually take all of the people who have ever been sent away and use them to study their mad science in the super secret facility beneath the Superdome downtown. These clones then have no common sense or a semblance of human decency so they continue to ignore the pandemic and Tulane guidelines. 


In case some conspiracy theory junkie decides to track me down and ask me about this, no, I do not actually believe any of those. I just would rather come up with these fantastical plots than admit to the fact that I currently attend an institution wherein my peers blatantly disregard the rules – rules set in place to keep people healthy, happy, and ALIVE –  all in the name of drinking and dancing. It’s all fun and games until Tulane is directly linked to the deaths of hundreds, maybe even thousands. It’s all young, dumb, and fun until Greek houses get suspended and people get expelled. It’s all “COVID isn’t that bad” until a friend or family member of yours becomes incredibly sick. Essentially, I have to admit now that I attend an institution where my peers do not care about the weight of a human life until they are forced to care. Until they have something that they value that is on the line. They are acting selfishly and that is what makes me angry. It makes me sick. It makes me feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, attempting to fix whatever wrongdoings my peers have been a part of. The fact that I am surrounded by people at a place of “higher education”–where social movements and the leaders of our next generation are supposed to arise, where authors and artists, scientists and linguists, doctors and lawyers are all supposed to flourish– and the disregard for lawful and good action is rampant, disappoints me so much that my strong moral foundation shakes.  And makes me fear for what generation of people I am growing with. 


I have spoken like all of what I have said applies to every Tulane student. To the reader who has been responsible, who has a heart the size of Yulman stadium, and who is compassionate, kind, and intelligent, I will personally kiss you (with proof of a negative test). I applaud you and your resilience in the matter. I know how hard it can be, I feel the same way. As an extrovert myself, this has all been incredibly trying. I feel like I am shifting into someone I was not before with the weight of this new-found responsibility on my shoulders — and whether healthy growth should come from extended periods of social isolation and deadly pandemics I am not sure, ask your therapist. Regardless, I have changed, as has everyone else, and I appreciate your strength in navigating yourself, your life, and the world around you right now. (If you feel like it’s getting too hard to navigate, I'd recommend some chocolate.)


I opened this article talking about hope, and believe it or not, despite everything I have said, I am still hopeful. Yes, yes, I know I sound like a cynic, and yes I openly criticize my institution and its students (of which, I am one) but my eternal optimism never fails me. So despite the plague rats, despite the selfishness, and despite the rising cases, I chose hope because I truly do think that things will get better. If I believe anything other than, all of the work I have been doing to keep myself and others safe will have been for naught. So, please, don't lose hope, check yourself and your friends, FaceTime loved ones often, eat a Snickers or drink a Red Bull, and may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows (unless you’re going to bars and parties, in which case, I hope you fail all of your exams).