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The fact that the squirrel statues are missing is hardly surprising, but the amount of attention that the thefts have sparked is. The case of the missing squirrels has made its way onto the front page of the DP, it has launched Facebook group search parties and it has even inspired a painfully cheesy report on Fox news.

In an effort to resolve this unseemly situation before the madness goes any further (and the UN has to step in), I’ve written an open letter to both parties. Call it my attempt at mediation in the Thanksgiving spirit.

Dear Penn Art Club:

Seriously guys, you didn’t need Miss Cleo to see this one coming. This is Penn, people will steal anything they can get their hands on. Don’t you read the crime log?

If you’re going to spend $300 on giant squirrels, the least you could do is invest in some real chains to keep them safe. And if you’re not willing to go all Alcatraz, then put them indoors. Rather than concentrating all of the statues on Locust Walk, you could disperse them among the atria of major campus buildings.

And while I appreciate your glass-is-half-full attitude, the thieves aren’t stealing the squirrels because they like them. The project suffers from the fact that anyone willing to pony up the bucks can live out their artistic fantasies.

Exhibit A: The green Wharton squirrel. You should have known better than to give a bunch of business students an art project. Next time, have participants submit designs for review, or pair them up with an artist.

As a weary Architecture student who routinely walks up Locust at 4 a.m., I can tell you that many of the squirrels can be a bit frightening. They have a look of demonic possession — especially in the eye region. By having Art Club members serve as art directors, you could regulate this kind of thing.

Don’t get me wrong — I think you guys are doing a great service to the community. I don’t write about art every week because I think it’s trite. And if you ever want an annoying-DP-columnist squirrel, let me know.

Dear Locust Larcenists:

Giant squirrels are funny; stealing giant squirrels is funnier. I get it. You tapped into the inner fourth-grader in all of us. And I can appreciate that the thefts have put Penn Art Club in the spotlight, and press for art is always a good thing in my book.

I also understand that at this point, surrendering doesn’t seem like an option. What started out as a benign prank has escalated as people throw around terms like vandalism, larceny and incarceration (ok, maybe not incarceration).

But it’s time to end this war. And by returning the squirrels, you would have the opportunity to take the Art Club’s philosophy of participatory art a step further. Return the statues in fun and creative ways. Don’t harm them, of course; but perhaps the statues could turn up in some funny places.

Maybe take some inspiration from the French film Amelie — the protagonist steals a lawn gnome and takes pictures of it in front of major word landmarks, sending the photos to the owner. Take the sculptures on your holiday travels. Pose the Class of ’09 squirrel in front of an unemployment office or take the Irish squirrel to Blarney’s. Talk about collaborative art.

I know you’ll all do the right thing.

Love always,


P.S. — And if all else fails, shoot a couple of wild turkeys, sit down and be thankful that your major squabble is over squirrels.

Ashley Takacs is a College senior from Buffalo, N.Y. Her e-mail address is

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