Written by Olivia Sothoron.
On Wednesday, April 1, a St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student was walking back to their dorm in Prince George’s Hall when they were struck on the head by a shoe falling from the Shoe Tree. The student was knocked unconscious by the falling shoe and was immediately rushed to the St. Mary’s County Hospital where he remains in critical condition.
The shoe tree, one of SMCM’s seven wonders, was first reported in a 1992 article featured in The Point News. In the early 1990s, the tree was considered an installation of student art. However, by 1997, it came to be known as a marker for memorable “firsts” on campus, whether it be your first A on a college exam, your first meal in the Great Room, or, you know what I mean.
Some members of the SMCM community do not support the Shoe Tree, arguing that it is a tacky feature of the campus which tarnishes the appearance of the College. “I have never liked that tree,” remarked an SMCM groundskeeper who specializes in the South Campus area. “It just looks trashy and it was only a matter of time until someone was hurt by the careless actions of the students who wasted good shoes on that tree.”
The tree definitely captures the attention of prospective students and their parents when they first tour the school. One touring prospective student stated, “My mother and I were a bit confused when we first saw the tree with all of the hanging shoes, but then we passed someone on campus who informed us that pretty much everything that goes on around Dorchester Hall is strange and confusing.”
While the Shoe Tree is a memorable feature of SMCM, it is definitely a safety hazard, as demonstrated by recent events. The injured student, who wishes to remain anonymous, recounted the events of that day, stating, “I was just walking back to my room to do some homework when I heard a branch snap. I looked up at the Shoe Tree and saw an old, weathered high-top Converse hurtling downwards from the tree straight for my face. Everything went black, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital.”
President Tuajuanda Jordan did not wish to comment on the recent event; however, another member of the Executive Board of SMCM released the following statement: “We offer our deepest sympathy to the student who was recently harmed by the falling shoe from the Shoe Tree. As St. Mary’s faculty, it is our job to protect the students. We are working on establishing deeper precautions to prevent any similar occurrences from happening in the future.”
While the Shoe Tree is dangerous to the students walking underneath it, it is still a prime example of the mantra “Keep St. Mary’s Weird” (there are few things more weird than a tree draped with people’s shoes). There have been protest posters posted throughout the campus, arguing against the removal of the tree. One student remarked, “[the Shoe Tree] is a part of the St. Mary’s tradition. We simply cannot get rid of it. I’m sorry for the student who was injured, but if we need to institute college-funded helmets to protect the students, I am all for it.”
Everyone at The Point News wishes the injured student a speedy recovery. Hopefully the concussion will not impact their ability to look at their computer screen to join their class meetings on Zoom.
Disclaimer: This article was published as a part of our April Fools Edition.