When all the whipped cream had fallen and the pudding had settled, the sovereignty of Branford College was still unclear.
At dinner on Sunday, students from Jonathan Edwards College came to Branford’s dining hall to announce that JE had taken over Branford. The JE students renamed it “Hallergrad,” in honor of Gary Haller, the master of Jonathan Edwards College. A small group of Branford students was prepared for the pronouncement of Jonathan Edwards rule and met the foreign intrusion with pies and pudding, starting a food fight.
Sahm Adrangi ’03 led the students from JE. Adrangi is the “Supreme Wizard” of the Men of JE, a faction that began as a choral group but recently has focused on the overthrow of Branford College Master Steven Smith.
“For the past 10 years we’ve seen too many meaningless resolutions by the U.N., too much dilly-dallying by the international community,” Adrangi said. “JE is not going to stand for [Branford's] violations of human rights.”
The dining hall invasion was the latest in a series of pranks that Adrangi said began Nov. 11. On that day, the Men of JE placed alarm clocks around Branford to hint at what Adrangi called “a great awakening.” In following days, the group placed Vaseline on doorknobs, posted pornographic flyers and put up posters of Master Haller. They also hung a cardboard spider in Lawrance Hall and spread candy throughout Branford and Lawrance.
Adrangi is a staff columnist for the Yale Daily News and a former editorials editor.
Peter Walker ’03 lives in the “God Quad” suite of Branford, which he said led the “counter-resistance.” Adrangi and Walker agreed that the Branford students, armed with buckets of water and a broom, were ready for the Men of JE on Wednesday.
Thursday was the last day of pranks before the dining hall invasion. Adrangi said the Men of JE planned a Branford-JE movie night for Thursday and projected “Spider Man” on the walkway between Branford and Jonathan Edwards.
“We thought [movie night] was pretty weak,” Walker said. “If they want to do that, they can go ahead.”
Walker said the small group of Branford students successfully foiled the takeover and also “sacrificed” the spider hung in Lawrence by burning it in JE’s courtyard.
“We had a mole,” Walker said. “That person would forward every e-mail that was sent — so we knew they were coming in the dining hall.”
Walker said various informants kept the God Quad abreast of the Men of JE’s movements during individual pranks.
Smith said the “conquest” was foolishness. He said the Vaseline incident particularly upset him because he feels the prank only punished the custodians. He said, however, that he was flattered by the attention JE has lavished on Branford.
“Let’s put our energies to a more constructive use like beating Harvard,” Smith said.
Danielle Lovell ’06 is the “Tulip Queen” of the Men of JE. She said the group has issued an apology to the maintenance staff about the Vaseline and did not intend to cause them so much trouble.
Haller said that by the time he arrived at the dining hall, all that remained of the prank was the task of cleaning up. He declined comment on the existence of “Hallergrad.”