The Tator

UWEC’s Flat-Earthers Organization host ‘Change My Mind’ challenge

More stories from Madeline Furstenberg

The Tator

This article is satire and is not meant to be taken seriously. It does not reflect the views of The Spectator or UW-Eau Claire. 

Dozens of spectators flocked to the campus mall on Tuesday to participate in the UW-Eau Claire Flat-Earthers Organization’s “Change My Mind” challenge.

FEO members gathered around their president, Daniel Ruffman, a third-year liberal studies student, as he sat behind a table bearing a sign that read “The Earth is flat. Change my mind.”

“We needed to make a statement,” Ruffman said. “We are a part of a growing movement. There is undeniable proof that the Earth is flat, and I have dedicated my college career to educating those who have been brainwashed into believing otherwise.”Ruffman established the FEO during his first year of college. Since then, his organization has quadrupled in size, bringing the club’s membership to four students.

Tuesday’s event kicked off with a few curious students bringing up issues like gravity, empirical evidence and pure logic, but Ruffman countered every point without a shred of consideration or dignity. Things really began to escalate when debating turned to screaming as the other Flat-Earthers could no longer keep with silence.

“If the Earth is round, then where’s the curve?” Kylie Bowman, an undecided first-year student, asked. “I have absolutely no tolerance for ignorance. If the globe was round, people would fall off of it. The oceans wouldn’t be able to hold water, because liquid would just drip right off of the planet. These are clear, simple, scientific facts.”

Ben Stilinski, a fourth-year environmental geography student, said he and a few other geography students attended FEO’s challenge while enjoying warm popcorn and staring in “utter disbelief.”

“It was almost painful to witness,” Stilinski said. “I think what I found most disturbing was their unwavering confidence. I fear for the American educational system.”

Chancellor James C. Schmidt also attended Tuesday’s event, reiterating the importance of supporting all school organizations.

“I actually think Ruffman and his compatriots made some convincing points,” Schmidt said. “Maybe this university should reconsider its stance on the matter.”

The FEO’s challenge lasted a total of six hours, rather than the planned one hour. According to Ruffman, it was just “too easy” to keep arguing with anyone who gave them attention.

“I sincerely hope we changed some minds today,” Ruffman said. “The Earth looks and feels flat, so it must be. The Round Earth Conspiracy is full of flaws and unanswered questions. I heard all of the usual arguments today, and not a single one changed my mind. In fact, I feel as though my beliefs have only been strengthened.”

Evan Johnson, a third-year creative writing student and self-proclaimed “die hard” FEO member, said the arguments made by spectators at Tuesday’s challenge only served to “fuel (his) power.”

“I am strengthened by their anger and frustration,” Johnson said. “Arguing with Round-Earthers makes me feel alive.”

During the FEO’s challenge, group members also handed out novelty frisbees with the Earth printed on them as a reminder to students of “how the Earth really looks.”

The FEO will be hosting a “Hot Cocoa and Denial” social next month outside of the L.E. Phillips Science Hall.

“We were barred from actually hosting inside Phillips, because we ‘don’t use real science.’ A formal complaint has been made to the Chancellor’s Office,” Ruffman said.

According to Ruffman, all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected].