Reactions to the Bear Prank Punishment

Marvin Williams and Mathew Williams, the perpetrators of the now infamous “Bear Prank” at WCU, were recently sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation and 72 hours of community service. They have to pay court costs and, after being kicked out of Western, they are no longer allowed on Western’s campus unless given permission.

The Williams brothers’ punishment has been received with mixed feelings.

Some feel that the punishment is not severe enough. Several students commented that the brothers received what they should have. They did not feel the brothers deserved to come back to Western after humiliating the campus. Others feel the incident was blown out of proportion and the punishment too harsh.

One student remarked, “It was all a prank and a stupid decision on both of the brothers’ part, but I don’t think they should have been kicked out of Western. I think the community service and probation would have been enough for the boys to learn their lessons. The university has done more harm to the boys than necessary.”

Another student commented, “We’re all college students – sometimes immature students. We often do crazy things without thinking of what could happen as a result. I agree that the brothers shouldn’t have dumped a dead bear on the campus, but I don’t think they should have been kicked out of Western for it.”

Dr. Laura Wright, an English professor who previously published a letter in the Western Carolinian regarding the incident, doesn’t really know what kind of punishment would have been appropriate for the boys.

She commented, “Regardless of what the boys intended when they dropped the dead baby bear on campus, it read like a text. Just looking at the situation it appeared to be a racial and political statement. The incident wouldn’t have caused so much controversy if it had not been done when it had. I am teaching an American Literature class, and some of the students in there talked about how it is a southern tradition to show dead animals. I now believe the incident to be a bad prank at the worst time imaginable.”

Dr. Wright hoped that the boys were not kicked out of Western because they would not be allowed to attend any college or university in North Carolina.

It has been reported that both the Williams brothers are attending a community college.