Michelangelo Beals is a peacock that graced Vanguard University with his presence on Tuesday, October 4. He was the honorary Vanguard mascot for the two days he was on campus until his removal at the end of the day Wednesday, October 5. Our honorary mascot was named, Michelangelo Beals, after the famous artist Michelangelo, and our very own President Michael Beals.
On Tuesday morning, at 9:35 AM, Kent Ferrin, the Director of Campus Safety emailed faculty, staff, and students to inform them of a new mascot on campus. In the email he included some safety tips, such as not approaching the peacock and not to feed the peacock.
When Ferrin was asked about the original plan to tackle the new, sudden appearance of the peacock, he said, “We made multiple phone calls to locations near us that raised or possessed peacocks, but the bird did not belong to them. We asked them if they would be interested in taking the bird and no one was interested.”
Their next step was to contact a trapper and pay to have it removed, but once the students responsible for the prank were found they agreed to remove it by the end of the day Wednesday.
Ferrin said, “The peacock was purchased through an unknown vendor that delivered the bird to students, who then brought the bird to campus.” It is rumored that the students had to remove the bird by Wednesday in order to avoid a $1000 fine. With over 2,000 students on campus, other rumors arose. Students rumored that the peacock was kidnapped, an SFD alumni bought it off of Craigslist, and some students put the blame on the baseball players.
While Kent Ferrin had all the facts, many students on campus had a lot to say about the supposed “Senior Prank” that came on this random Tuesday. With an anonymous survey being sent out, some of the most prominent student testimonies were focused on animal abuse. “The peacock was not safe here on campus with all the animals competing for resources. We have coyotes, and campus is on a busy road.” Others pointed out how obviously distressed the bird looked and how people should not normalize abuse of an animal through neglect. “I think that it was unfair to the peacock to be placed out of its normal environment. I do not think it represented ‘unity’ at all. It just promoted animal cruelty,” a student commented.
Having any animal requires a high level of maintenance, but it was easy for most students to neglect that fact. For many, Michealangelo Beals was a welcomed visitor, and to others he was much more. Some students said, “The peacock helped with the roaches and morale on campus. Michelangelo made everybody’s day just by walking around campus and he is something everyone can connect over.”
One student even humorously said, “I am glad he did not try to mate with people. Ring by spring is an issue in itself here.” Another student made the comment that, “campus has been rather dreary the last couple weeks due to high workload. Michaelangelo brought some life back into campus life for a time and it provided joy to everyone.”
Michelangelo Beals, the peacock, had a very short stay on campus. Although some students feel that it is a good thing he is gone and others disagree, the peacock ignited a second wind for students. Vanguard hopes that he will be happy and cared for properly in his new home.
If you want to see some of Michalangelo Beals’ journey on campus, you can check out his Instagram: @michelangelo_the_peacock