Fun Star: West Ridge declares independence

This article is a work of satire, and is not intended to be taken seriously in any way. Any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental, and any quotes should not be regarded with any degree of seriousness.

West Ridge- Reichardt Wall .jpg

Soon after talk of secession with West Ridge started, supporters began construction on a rudimentary wall between the “official” territory of West Ridge and the rest of the campus. Supporters also began to fly the “West Ridge Standard” on their buildings. Josh Hartman / Staff Writer Photo credit: Josh Hartman

The cluster of science and administration buildings known as West Ridge will officially secede from the UA System and the United States effective April 1. Separatists began raising flags and building a wall around their claimed territory as of the last week of March.

The move was spurred by dissatisfaction among students, faculty and staff at recent events, such as the U.S. government’s new stance on climate change, decreases in funding from the state government and school administration’s lack of interest in building a large particle accelerator for use by the physics department.

“We discussed a number of different solutions such as protesting or holding events,” said Ashlyn Prier, academician of the West Ridge Autonomous Zone. “Ultimately, the best decision was to just form our own country.”

Prier has been advocating for West Ridge to secede for the past 15 years, but had not gained much support for her idea until now.

West Ridge - Campus Battleground.jpg

Within a week, West Ridge supporters have been able to secure the border between themselves and the rest of the university. They are still attempting to gain more of the land to the west and north of the wall, as well as the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and the Chapman Building. Josh Hartman / Staff Writer Photo credit: Josh Hartman

“We just want to do science and not deal with other people,” Prier said. “Now there are scientists saying that we need our own rule of law and I’ve always said that.”

The budget situation at UAF has been a point of contention for the Autonomous Zone, but supporters are optimistic about the economy of their fledgling country.

“We actually can make enough money through various projects, businesses and international research grants,” said Jimsmith Connelly, secretary of state for the Zone. “In fact, we’re making more money now … this is really a benefit for the research that we’re doing.”

Connelly explained that West Ridge has a number of revenue sources including Arctic research and disease cures derived from blueberries. The country will also experiment with using the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, commonly called HAARP, to pull energy straight out of the sun.

The Autonomous Zone has received grants from a number of interested entities including IBM, BP and the government of Canada.

West Ridge supporters have been pushing for other groups to join their cause including the Mathematics Department in Chapman, the Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.

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