After Merton’s recent decision to adopt a tapir, it looked like the traditional college tortoise had had its day.
However, Wadham has reaffirmed its faith in the old favourite, voting unanimously to acquire a new tortoise.
Wadham’s constitution specifies an integral role for the tortoise: “In the event that Wadham SU owns a living tortoise any tied vote amongst the SU will be resolved by the tortoise having the casting vote.
“The tortoise always votes for the motion due to his radical desire for change.”
However, the college’s tortoise chose to eschew its crucial legislative role several years ago when it escaped from its pen.
The motion put before the Wadham SU argued that “possession of a college tortoise would make the work of Wadham SU more efficient, and hence more effective” and that “possession of a college tortoise would create greater opportunities for community, collegiate glory and camaraderie.”
The motion also proposed that “possession of a college tortoise would be beneficial for the welfare of Wadham students, who we suggest would be able to play with the tortoise at an allocated time every week.”
Jahnavi Emmanuel, the Wadham SU president said the tortoise will “definitely be trained to race and we are looking to buy a medium-sized tortoise as these are supposedly the best racers – the other tortoises should get their game faces on for racing season.”
She was quick to dismiss rumours that Wadham’s famous party lifestyle will mean the tortoise could be too hung over to race.
She added “the tortoise will obviously have to be present at our fortnightly meetings on Sundays, so he won’t be hitting up No.9 on a regular basis, but I would expect to see him at Junction pretty often, though I’m not sure the VIP area of Camera will be his scene…”
However, one second year studying physics denied that Wadham was a party college, saying, ‘we’re not even allowed fireworks at our ball, probably because it’ll wake the tortoise”.
Harriet Soper, a tortoise enthusiast at Corpus Christi said the college’s tortoises don’t feel threatened by the newcomer to the racing scene: “Foxe and Oldham are very much in love and blind to all others of their kind.
“Nonetheless I can imagine this new acquisition could end up being a real SROC (Small Reptile on Campus) and will tear away into the distance like the proverbial hare.”
Former Corpus tortoise keeper Alex Coupe added “I am delighted that Wadham have got the tortoise, the only thing the tortoise has ever ‘taught us’ is the Chinese proverb ‘the wise man and the tortoise travel, but never leave their home’”.