After sprinting across the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and arriving at Burnett Hall three minutes after her philosophy class’s start time, sophomore accounting major Julia Jacobsen was dismayed to see that, once again, the only open seats were those directly behind Lil’ Red, the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ 8-foot inflatable mascot.
Begrudgingly, Jacobsen took her seat at the Friday lecture, in which her visibility of her professor’s whiteboard was completely obscured by the mascot’s massive head and goofy sideways hat.
“This is the third time this has happened this week,” Jacobsen complained to The DailyER after her class ended. “My class before this one is all the way across campus, so I always show up late and get stuck behind Lil’ Red.”
Jacobsen said that, with her view of the board blocked, she spent most of the lecture trying to hear her professor talk over the loud hum of the motor keeping Lil’ Red inflated.
“Sometimes, Lil’ Red would get excited and suck his head into his body, and then I could see for a bit. But he would always pop it back up again, and everyone around him would cheer,” she said. “Honestly, it was pretty distracting to have an award-winning mascot performing wacky sideline antics in the middle of class.”
Other students told The DailyER that while they enjoyed the mascot’s presence, they were unsure of why he was in the class in the first place.
“Is he even, like, a student at this university?” asked freshman golf management major Terrence Bradley. “I mean, I know he loves the Huskers, but I didn’t know he was also pursuing a degree here.”
Upon examining the official UNL enrollment database, The DailyER found a record for “Red, Lil’.” The student was listed as a twenty-second-year senior studying a quadruple major of criminal justice, electrical engineering, communication studies and dance.