A satirical miracle: Fear not, it’s the Botetourt Squat


Walking through the College of William and Mary’s Sadler Center, an unassuming prospective student picks up a newspaper, anticipating obtaining the latest news on the College. Hoping to understand what the construction around campus suggests for the College’s future, the prospective student is instead met with satire stacked upon satire. Mockery lined the pages, and ridicule embedded within each and every paragraph. This prospective student picked up The Botetourt Squat, the College’s satirical newspaper. 

The Botetourt Squat was founded in 2011 by freshmen of the College, with the name deriving from their meeting point: the Botetourt Complex. Printed monthly and digitally updated biweekly, the newspaper publishes satirical articles about an assortment of topics that are bizarre and outlandish yet still typically relate to the student life at the College. Articles such as “Maze of Fences to be Placed Around Swem for Student Enrichment,” “The Fog is Coming” and “The Fog is Already Here” highlight the publication’s relevance to the student body. Written under comedic pseudonyms, the articles often have fictional figures to help further the author’s storyline; furthermore, the jokes have little parameters aside from bigotry and hate, which the organization strongly stands against. 

“There’s very much a principle about not punching down,” Botetourt Squat member John Riegner ’23 said. “So you can make fun of someone who’s on an equal level to you or an authority over you … but you’re not going to make fun of someone who’s less privileged, less influential, and you’re not going to attack someone random.” 

With staff members taking inspiration from or writing about anything remotely funny, pitching ideas at The Botetourt Squat has no set practice. Oftentimes, individuals unaffiliated with the newspaper write an article on their own and send it in to be published. However, the articles must be thoroughly vetted before publication. 

“If someone submits an article … clearly not ill intentioned but could come off wrong, then we’re not going to publish that. We might say, ‘Hey, we know this isn’t what you meant, but we can publish it if you want to revise it to get rid of that potentially objectionable stuff,’” Riegner said. 

With no standard custom to pitching ideas, the club’s primary communication channel, Discord, is typically used to send in article ideas, pitch potential headlines and communicate generally. Oftentimes headlines are thrown out in the Discord for other staff writers to create an article; when members suggest an article, others will suggest ways to enhance it. For school-wide events, such as Day for Admitted Students, the editor-in-chief typically uses the Discord to encourage members to write on the occasion, taking advantage of the topical opportunity.

Beyond communicating through Discord, the club meets in-person weekly. Meetings range from informative writing workshops on satire and graphics to brainstorm sessions for article ideas. The first half of the semester is heavier with introductions and workshops while the latter end is calmer with many fun brainstorming and bonding opportunities.

Since officially joining the College’s Publications Council, now known as the Media Council, in 2012, The Botetourt Squat has been able to receive official funding for its paper issues. The entirety of their budget goes towards publishing their papers in a presentable and high quality. 

Newly printed issues of The Botetourt Squat are located around campus in places like the first floor of the Integrated Science Center and in Sadler’s Aromas, allowing students the chance to grab a copy for themselves.

“I was in ISC, and there was just a pile there, and I was like ‘Oh, what’s this?” Naomi Teferra ’26, a student who enjoys reading The Botetourt Squat, said. “My friend who was a sophomore told me. Then I was like, ‘Oh that’s cute,’ so I picked it up and started reading it.” 

The satirical newspaper, because of its widespread distribution, often has many people reading it for the first time when they stumble across it. And many of these readers, such as Maya Banerji ’26, turn from first-time readers to long-time supporters.

“I remember I thought it was really funny the first time I read it, and I still think it’s funny when I read it,” Banerji said.

In addition to its printed copies, The Botetourt Squat also has a digital presence across Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. While its TikTok and YouTube pages have been relatively inactive for some time, its Instagram page remains active, with frequent posts of its most recent publications. A link to each social media account can be found on the newspaper’s main website, where all of its articles and publications can be found.

The website houses useful contact information and instructions on how to contribute to the newspaper, regardless of whether a student wants to join the organization as a member or just submit a one-off article to be published. The club is open to reviewing all article submissions and to new members. Moreover, members can be as active as they desire, whether that means just writing without attending meetings or attending all events.  

“People can come to our meetings whenever … If people want to write but can’t come to the meetings, that’s also perfectly accepted. People can join however they want and be as active as they want,” Reigner said. 

The Botetourt Squat has allowed journalists and comedians alike at the College to write about a plethora of content related to both current events and long-standing issues. With no set style guidelines, individuals can explore new writing styles and publish their work anonymously for others to enjoy. Ultimately, The Botetourt Squat allows both its members and readers to share a laugh over inside jokes about the quirks of the College.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here