This story appears as part of the Daily Nexus’ 2007 April Fools’ issue.
After serving nearly 40 years as Santa Barbara County’s largest tribute to male fertility, Storke Tower’s phallic status was called into question yesterday when two local experts determined that the structure more readily resembles an enlarged clitoris.
The controversy surrounding the 175-foot campanile erupted at approximately 1:50 p.m. yesterday when the two experts approached UCSB’s Storke Plaza to hear the clock tower bells chime the University of California motto, “Let There Be Light.” The experts, San Marcos High School students Tommy Floyd and Bobby Herschenmeyer, said they made their discovery during a guided campus tour.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Herschenmeyer said. “I was listening to my iPod when all of a sudden Tommy [Floyd] just kind of taps me on the shoulder and yells, ‘Dude, that thing totally looks like a giant clit.’ So I looked up at it and right away I knew he was right.”
UCSB tour guide and third-year global studies major Mary O’Connell said the discovery caused an immediate disruption on campus.
“I was trying to inform the visiting students and their families about the school’s history but I couldn’t finish due to all the commotion,” she said. “[Floyd and Herschenmeyer] kept making weird noises and forming oval shapes with their hands.”
The structure, named after former Santa Barbara News Press publisher and U.S. Senator Thomas Storke, towers over the student media offices of the La Cumbre yearbook, campus radio station 91.9 FM KCSB and the Daily Nexus newspaper. Since its opening on Sept. 28, 1969, locals and university community members alike have traditionally referred to the 61-bell tower as “Storke’s last erection.”
However, Floyd said the public should reconsider the title.
“I saw some pictures on the Internet once and I found out that sometimes people look like they have wieners, but really, they don’t,” he said. “I mean, come on, do you see any balls under there? I sure as hell don’t.”
Other characteristics that indicate the UCSB tower is not a phallic symbol include the inability of pizza delivery boys to find its location, its vicinity to the original location of the Women’s Center and the fear of God it instills in men across campus, Floyd said.
San Marcos High School biology teacher Greg Summit said he was not surprised by Herschenmeyer and Floyd’s claim and said the two students had previously proven their vast knowledge of human genitalia in one of his earlier courses.
“I can recall at least nine occasions in which I found the boys drawing penises or vaginas on their binders and desks,” Summit said. “They were generally ‘C’ students, but when it came to chapter seven, these two knew a whole a lot, and I mean that. In my 30 years of teaching, I have never seen anyone score as high on a sexual reproduction exam as these two did.
“Their diagrams looked like they had come straight from a medical school text book. The boys finished half an hour early and were begging me for bonus questions. Herschenmeyer looked like he was going to cry. It was pretty weird.”
Student reactions regarding Storke Tower vary in degree. Fourth-year environmental studies major Aaron Jefferson said he was in a state of shock.
“I feel like Charlton Heston at the end of “Soylent Green,” except for the fact that, you know, Storke Tower isn’t made out of people,” Jefferson said. “Oh God, I hope it isn’t made of people.”
Yet, second-year English major Stacey Hansen said she was not at all dismayed by the findings.
“Um, hello?” Hansen said. “It’s a freaking bell tower.”
Meanwhile, other experts from around the county, such as historian Frank Paris, are disputing Herschenmeyer and Floyd’s claim.
“This is outrageous,” Paris said. “Why are we listening to two seventeen-year-old boys?”
In response, Herschenmeyer said Paris was not a credible source on the subject and dismissed the historian’s rebuttal.
“You know what I think?” Herschenmeyer said. “I think he’s a dick.”