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Monkey biz: 'Best day ever' at UVa-Wise as Kevin, aka TJ, takes imprompu tour of campus

Stephen Igo • Jun 4, 2013 at 9:34 PM

WISE — It's not every day a monkey scampers across the campus of the University of Virginia's College at Wise. In fact, Tuesday was very likely the only day in the entire history of the college that a monkey had ever scampered across campus.

But it has been described as "the best day ever at UVa-Wise."

Julie Scott, director of the college's C. Bascom Slemp Student Center and Conferences & Events, best summed up the whole escapade in a text message to UVa-Wise employees that was later released by the college's public information office.

"Here is a recap (of) the monkey's visit to campus," Scott wrote her fellow UVa-Wise human counterparts. "Many that came out to see the monkey have described this as 'the best day ever at UVa-Wise.' Kevin (the monkey's real name), we temporarily named him TJ, seemed to have escaped from a student's car."

"The student left the monkey, in a cage, in the car, with the sun roof open. The student was babysitting the monkey for her father's friend and was assured the monkey couldn't escape the cage. Wrong. Kevin unlocked his cage, climbed through the sun roof and began to explore campus."

"My student worker first told me about walking from Darden (Hall) and being 'scared to death' by a monkey on campus."

"The Slemp staff called Campus Police and told Diane Reeves there was a monkey on campus. After several 'are you serious,' 'is this a joke,' 'you are lying,' she finally called it in. By that time, we had met TJ, and I sent out the campus wide email."

Scott then shared "some entertaining responses from my email," including:

"Oh my god. I have never been more delighted by any official UVa-Wise communication."

"Intriguing. I must know the end of the Monkey Caper."

"According to our pet policy he needs to be on a leash. Is he demanding a meeting with the Chancellor? Good luck!"

"It's not my monkey, but we have been considering purchasing an 'Academic Affairs Monkey' for some time now. I really believe it could help with faculty recruiting."

"If the owner doesn't show up, you can send him over. He can have Scott Bevin's office. Does he want a laptop or a desk computer?"

"LOL ... thought you were talking about Josh."

"Heaven help us. This is how Planet of the Apes started."

"Hunker down! Monkey on campus!"


"You can't make this stuff up."

And there was this gem: "It's mine, it's mine! Well, not really, but I want it!" followed by long time Campus Police Officer Ronnie Shortt's observation, "Never in my 25 years ...."

Scott went on to report the monkey "was fed bananas, grapes, cantaloupe, and even tried a piece of Big Red gum before his capture and return to the owners."

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