Dooley taped, caught talking about tunnel system to combat fear of students

In a press release following the University of Rhode Island squirrel attack incident, President David Dooley expressed condolences for those injured, and explained that he also had a mild fear of the animals as well.

“I don’t like squirrels much either,” Dooley stated. “They frighten me too. But we just have to buck up and face our fears head on.”

Contradictory to this statement, however, The Vape anonymously obtained a recording that explained an intricate tunnel system that runs beneath the Kingston campus. While it’s clear by the recording that the tunnels were intended to avoid squirrels, Dooley opened up about another fear that the tunnels conveniently help him avoid: the students.

“The teeth are what really get me,” Dooley admitted over the tape. “But the way they move–they scurry all over the place like possessed rodents. I’m worried that they’ll ask me for career advice, or inquire about upping their financial aid package.”

The recording, which goes on for about 45 minutes, is between Dooley and his wife, in which he discusses the tunnel costs and other various details about the project. He described the tunnels as “expansively decorated” and are “homely and becoming of a president of [his] stature.”

Submitted along with the recording was a photo of Dooley showing the tunnels to an unknown party. It’s suggested in the recording that Dooley took a group of elite donors to the tunnels to “show off his new digs,” he said. At one point, he addressed one of the attendees as “G-Munds,” a nickname the Vape assumes belongs to none other than Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.

“G-Munds loved the outcome,” Dooley exclaimed. “She even made me my own sign to commemorate the project–I’m so thankful she decided to invest the toll revenue into the University.”

“That’s nice dear,” his wife said, apathetically, in response. She repeats this phrase several times during the recording.

The photos depict a cave-like tunnel, dimly lit by strips of lights that line the ground. Motivational posters decorate the walls, and encourage Dooley to “be the best version of himself” and live by the phrase “hakuna matata.” The tunnel smelled like freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, a staple in the Dooley household, he said.  

According to the vague descriptions within the recording, the tunnels span “only the most important buildings on campus,” Dooley said, “like the chemistry building, Memorial Union, Green Hall, Chafee Hall and Dunkin Donuts in the Kingston Emporium.”

“Oh, I almost forgot–the Fine Arts Center…SYKE!” Dooley said, followed by raucous laughter.

While it’s unclear where the entrances to the tunnels are exactly, it’s safe to assume they’re below each location and follow major roadways and sidewalks around campus. It’s speculative as to when these tunnels were installed, but thankfully they were finished on time and on budget, as indicated by several signs around the tunnels.

Dooley does mention, however, that if his wife ever needs to find him, she can go into their home bathroom, shut off the lights, and repeat the phrase “Dooley rocks” three times in the mirror. A secret passageway would open up behind the sink, and lead her to Dooley’s exact location.  

Despite spending so much time underground, he still sees all the campus and students through several periscopes disguised as potholes.

In the last part of the recording, Dooley reluctantly admits that squirrels are still a necessary part of the campus life, as well as the students. If anything else, he said, squirrels are good for feeding his pet basilisk, Beaupre, and students are necessary for keeping him employed.   

“Come here, Beau,” Dooley said in the last few minutes of the recording. The rest of the tape consists of content hissing.

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Emma Gauthier
Emma is a senior journalism and English double major with a minor in political science from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has worked for the Cigar since her first semester at URI as a staff reporter, then web editor, news editor and finally Editor in Chief. Emma also edits for the URI research magazine, Momentum, and hopes to find a career in political reporting upon her graduation in May.