In mid-December 2020, senior leadership announced that the University of Colorado Boulder campus would have “reduced services and operations Dec. 24-Jan. 3rd,” awarding staff four days of administrative leave during this period. Senior leadership presented this not-quite-campus-closure as “thanks and recognition,” as one dean put it, “for all that [staff have] done to serve our students, faculty, and staff this year.”
A source close to the Chancellor revealed in an interview this week that the additional administrative leave was actually part of an effort to remove as many people as possible from campus in order to safely complete a clean-up project in Woodbury that started over four years prior. Since our source wishes to remain anonymous, we will refer to him here as “Bark Merge.”
Merge explained that Dr. Peter Freitag, Senior Director of Retention in the College of Arts & Sciences, retired in May of 2016 after 12 years with CU Boulder. “There were stacks of papers everywhere,” said Merge. “I’m pretty sure ‘Hoarders’ dedicated a two-part episode just to him.” Although the campus had been planning for Freitag’s retirement for some time, officials were unprepared for the extreme state of Freitag’s office. According to Merge, campus officials were forced to use the entirety of the Project Woodbury 114 budget to hermetically seal Freitag’s office while they devised a new plan.
After securing funds through the monetary front, Financial Futures, senior leadership could finally move forward with the clean-up. “Project Woodbury 114 required years of overnight crews. The Chancellor was clear that we couldn’t do this during the day. Too hazardous. Plus, we didn’t need campus tours seeing this,” Merge explained. “It seemed like there was no end in sight, then the Chancellor received a piece of advice from a colleague who urged him not to waste a good pandemic.”
With campus having just shifted to remote instruction for the remainder of the fall semester, university officials put together round-the-clock crews that included Facilities Management, Boulder County HazMat personnel, and unpaid graduate students from the Anthropology Department, all with oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency. After several weeks of this, it became clear that drastic measures were needed and more people had to be removed from campus in order to avoid any incidents during the final stages. Scott Crowley of Facilities Management was reportedly taken from the building on a stretcher while repeatedly moaning, “The horror! The horror!”
“There were rumors that Freitag was still in there. That he had survived on old Yoplait containers, presumably left by Dan Turner,” said Merge. Dr. Daniel Turner, former Associate Director of Academic Advising, could not be reached for comment.
While it is unclear exactly what happened during those additional administrative leave days, one thing is for certain: Woodbury 114 now sits open and empty. “I still work on campus from time to time,” said Dawn Fettig, Associate Director of Advising for Biologies and Special Populations, “and I stopped by Woodbury one day in early January and saw an office that I had never noticed before. It took several minutes for me to realize that that was Peter’s old office. It had been sealed for so long that I forgot that that door went anywhere.”
When asked for an account of the final days of the clean-up, Merge said, “I can’t speak to the specific events surrounding that time. All I have are the financial documents – and this.” Merge handed this reporter the final issue of The Egg, Freitag’s AAC newsletter, explaining that any relation between the newsletter’s name and that of former Director and Assistant Dean, Elizabeth Guertin, was purely coincidental.
After reading the newsletter, it became clear to this reporter that the work of The Egg was still needed, perhaps now more than ever. Please accept The Bacon as the continuation of this work.