Students walking to and from parties and other social engagements Saturday evening saw several sad lights on in the upper floors of Van Hise, according to eyewitness accounts.
Somewhere between three and five windows remained lighted on the upper floors of the looming building at 11:45 p.m., prompting witnesses to ruminate on what poor, hapless souls could possibly still be inside.
“I just remember looking up and thinking, oh my god, that’s so sad,” Sarah Gunderson, a UW freshman and passerby, said. “Like, does anyone love these people? Do they have families? Seriously, why are they still there?”
Gunderson added that seeing the lighted windows shining miserably above campus on an otherwise mirthful evening lowered the spirits of her entire group.
Other passersby expressed concern over whether any of the lighted offices belonged to graduate students they knew, and if so, what could have possibly driven them to this.
“I didn’t really give it a second thought until I realized my linguistics T.A. could be up there,” sophomore Evan Kaufmann said. “Robert, if you’re up there, I want you to know that you don’t have to do this and I’m here if you need to talk, ok buddy?”
One student reported seeing a Quasimodo-like figure silhouetted in one of the windows, presumably surveying the world below and lamenting his fate for a moment before returning his attention to his dissertation.
At press time, the languishing lights still loomed over campus like a foreboding constellation, reminding students with graduate-school aspirations of the soul-sucking slog higher education has in store for them all.