Last week, the Vassar administration announced that it would start cracking down on the notorious “WiFi cults” after groups of students in hooded black robes marched around campus holding candles and carrying signs that read “RIP Internet” and “Eduroam Does Not Forgive. Eduroam Does Not Forget.”
Vassar College has always been infamous for its issues with Internet connectivity, as well as its bizarre grudge against computers in general. In 1983, the college banned students from bringing personal computers onto campus despite marketing itself as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy institution (I’m not joking, this really happened).
But last year, after the drop in the already questionable quality of the WiFi connection on Vassar’s campus, countless students became so desperate that they started praying to Student Secure in an attempt to appease the ethereal being that so ruthlessly held their GPAs in the palm of its hand.
“We’ve tried everything—meeting with CIS, talking to administrators, turning our devices on and off—none of it worked. All we can do now is beg for mercy,” stated one cult member who wished to remain anonymous.
Members of this new creed call their group “The Holy Church of Student Secure.” It largely consists of students who have been badly traumatized by the shaky Internet connection on campus and have multiple horror stories to tell.
One hooded member recounted her tale in shudders: “It was the week of midterm exams. I had a paper in history class that was due, but I rarely had the chance to work on it because I was drowning in exams. Then, on the night before the paper was due, I finally decided to pull an all-nighter to get it done. But…but as I turned on my laptop, I saw that dreaded icon on the bottom-right corner. That yellow exclamation mark…I…I panicked. My links, my bibliography, everything that I had started writing, it was all online…No matter how many times I entered my password, nothing worked. That night, I learned that there is no God. Only…only Student Secure.”
Other members had similar stories—their iPhones never connecting to the server when they needed to look something up, losing connection randomly in the dorms, the countless hours of frustration as a deadline neared. For these students, it was truly hell on Earth.
For many of the cult members, turning to CIS was a pointless endeavor. One solemnly stated, “They’re just as clueless as we are. Humans cannot possibly understand the cruel whims of a God.”
Instead, the Church of Student Secure relies on “dark magic” rituals, which they claim will probably be more helpful in the long run. According to the cult members, these ceremonies take place in incredibly sketchy areas, such as the dark catacombs of the Noyes and Main basements, in order to lure out the ghost of Matthew Vassar from the darkness and revive Internet connectivity from the dead.
One of these rituals includes the Liturgy of the Loading Screen, where members draw the WiFi logo on the ground with their tears before holding hands and spinning in circles to emulate the rotating icon they frequently see on their computers and phones.
Another is the Rite of Screeching Fire, where they congregate specifically in the Jewett basement and burn pages of their textbooks in a sacrificial fire in hopes that the ear-piercing cries of the fire alarm might “awaken” the ever-dormant WiFi from its slumber.
One cult member said, “We believe that true devotion will be rewarded with eternal salvation—a land of free WiFi and fast Internet. We await the day when our holy saint, the Chrome dinosaur, reaches the end of its endless desert pilgrimage, and our eternal suffering can finally come to an end.”
Despite how exclusive the group initially appeared, members of the cult asserted that they will always welcome new devotees. One anonymous cult member promised to accept anyone who also felt victimized by the poor quality of WiFi on campus: “We are all brothers and sisters under the same network, united in cause against poor connectivity. If you feel frustrated or upset about constantly losing Internet access and how the College is doing jack shit about it, join us, and together we’ll reach salvation. To find us, simply listen for the fire alarm. If it’s ringing, it means we’re there.”
However, when confronted with this issue, the administration firmly stated that they disapproved of these disruptive Satanists on their campus. Dean of the College Christopher Roellke commented, “As bad as the WiFi may be, we simply cannot have groups of students in hooded black robes roaming around campus at night chanting in Latin and setting dorms on fire.”
In one of their recent attempts to break up these cult groups, the administration replaced the infamous Student Secure network with a new system called Eduroam. However, that plan backfired when the network change made it impossible for students all across campus to log in to the system no matter how many times they typed in their username and password, a cataclysmic event that the newly formed United Congregation of Our Lord Eduroam branded as “The First Sign of Judgment Day.”
According to the Congregation, “Our Lord has sent us a message from the Ethernet. We must prepare for the day when network connectivity is lost from our campus entirely, and the bridge between students and the Internet is torn asunder for eternity.” One of the cult prophets, a senior History major from Raymond, chanted “Eduroam does not forgive. Eduroam does not forget.”
It is unknown whether the Church of Student Secure will react positively to the newly formed doctrine or denounce it outright. At the moment,, neither group has made any statements regarding the other, although both congregations have unilaterally condemned users of Vassar Public WiFi as “heretics.After its latest fiasco, the Vassar administration announced that they will work together with CIS to remove these “radical elements” from campus. Former interim president Jonathan Chenette stated, “We are doing all we can to handle the current situation. CIS already has plans set in mind to improve the WiFi here on campus. By going through proper administrative protocol and meeting with our Board of Trustees about the issue, we hope we can come up with a solution that will appeal to everyone.”
In response, one cult member commented, “Lol, we’re doomed.”