Magdalen students suffering at the hands of an anonymous prankster have appointed a member of the JCR to protect them.
Matthew Shribman, a third-year Chemist, has been appointed as the college Sheriff, in order to catch the person behind the mystery persona of ‘John the Porter’.
The JCR motion granting him this position passed unanimously last Sunday.
The JCR was also mandated to provide the Sheriff with a badge, and to ask Dr Ralph Walker, Vice-President of the college, to present it to him.
The motion notes, “Someone in the college has created the fictional character of ‘John the Porter’ and has pulled stunts such as: (a) Calling numerous room phones, and telling undergraduates that they have to urgently report to the Porters Lodge to see John the Porter. The undergraduates in question arrived to find that John the Porter does not exist. (b) Turning furniture upside down in undergraduate rooms and leaving ominous notes such as ‘John the Porter is watching you’.”
Speaking to Cherwell, Shribman outlined the situation. “John the Porter is prolific. People have been affected in Magdalen, New College and Christ Church; he is growing ever more existentially portly and, though I’m doing my best, I cannot keep up.”
He further noted, “I am an experienced solver of idealistic college-based mysteries and a prolific vigilante.”
The motion noted that Shribman “would make an excellent Sheriff in solving this mystery.”
Shribman said, “The JCR voted unanimously in my favour, throwing all of their weight behind my bid to become Sheriff. This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. I believe that the title of Sheriff will help me to speed up my investigations, especially at the more administrative end of things.
“Everybody takes Sheriffs seriously. There’s no namby-pamby with the Sheriff,” he said.
Confusion reigns over the identity of John the Porter. A number of members of college apparently believe that Shribman himself is the mysterious joker. However, the sheriff insists that those who know the culprit’s true identity are working to keep it under wraps.
“Not everyone is happy about my new appointment,” he said. “On Tuesday, just before noon, Hattie Huston, Lincoln College, attempted to crush me between the moving stacks in the Magdalen College library, stalling my investigation… of the stacks.”
Harry Maltby, a second year PPEist at Magdalen, confirmed that there was real fear surrounding this episode. “This John the Porter is no myth. Every time the phone rings I am terrified that it might be him. I am glad that college is talking the threat seriously in the appointment of the Sheriff. We students can now rest assured that something is being done.”
One Magdalen student however, who asked to be described as “a friend of John the Porter” said that Shribman would be ineffective, claiming that “John don’t fear no Sheriff.”
Tom Meakin, JCR President, was happy to see the motion pass, commenting, “I think it’s great that every once and a while colleges can take a step back and not take themselves too seriously. I wish Matthew every luck in his quest to pin down this elusive villain.”
Shribman declared that he “will retain the title of Sheriff until The Land Before Time is brought out on DVD.”