“Snowflake” students have sparked outrage after Easter bunnies were banned from UK university campuses following concerns that they might trigger flashbacks to “upsetting” bedtime stories.
As part of plans to repair relations with students after the month-long pensions strike, universities had scheduled a series of “inclusive, stress-busting Easter roadshows” featuring exam-preparation masterclasses, meditation sessions and the chance to pet a collection of Easter bunnies.
The proposals – which have been led by a government task force on student well-being – have, however, been put on hold after objections that the rabbits might reawaken memories of traumatic scenes from the classic children’s book Watership Down, which was deemed “disturbing” and “unnecessarily violent”.
Advisers have also cautioned against using the animals owing to one bunny’s “uncanny similarity” to Beatrix Potter’s beloved character Peter Rabbit, whose “frightening” run-ins with Mr McGregor are described as a “morbid psychological drama in which a rebellious rabbit struggles to come to terms with the death and baking in a pie of his father”.
News that bunnies have been told to “hop it” from campus have, however, sparked a backlash from student campaigners, who have branded the move “yet another pathetic example of the no platforming epidemic sweeping UK universities”.
“First it was Germaine Greer, then it was Jacob Rees-Mogg, and now they’ve shut down the Easter bunny – when will this madness end?” said Lucinda Hopping-Flopsy, president of the Student Libertarian Society, who called the ban “a new low in the free speech crisis blighting UK universities”.
“This is a sad day for democracy – banning defenceless Easter bunnies is yet another example of the absurd mollycoddling that we’ve come to expect from today’s politically correct thought police who run our universities,” she added.
Ms Hopping-Flopsy also revealed that plans to offer undergraduates free bunny-themed “Bobtail Banger” cocktails have also been vetoed amid concerns that the name is too similar to the “Pornstar Martinis” favoured by vice-chancellors.
Plans to replace the Easter bunnies with specially trained llamas flown first-class from Easter Island have also been denounced as a “flagrant waste of money from an out-of-touch managerial elite”.
The no platforming controversy was swiftly condemned by ministers and free speech campaigners, with the Unfettered Speech University Rankings unveiling plans to create a new “maroon” flag rating for any institution that bars Easter bunnies.
However, there are hopes that the ban may be lifted after the US president Donald Trump directly intervened from his Mar-a-Lago golf course, tweeting: “Illegal and unconstitutional ban on Easter bunnies by deep state yet another reason why Crooked Hillary and Dems lost BIG TIME. Fake news media yet again ignores story. SAD.”
On personal instructions from Mr Trump, the Office for Students – which became fully operational on 1 April – is now believed to be starting an inquiry into the ban, which will be personally led by its chair, Sir Michael Barber.
“If the 1921 Marxist Unity Conference on Cottontail Contagion, held in St Petersburg, taught us anything, it is that flagrant attempts to ban Easter bunnies are the first step to totalitarianism,” said Sir Michael.