Students at Yale University were horrified recently when they returned to campus and didn't see any squirrels. At least one person quickly assumed there was a conspiracy afoot, but the university insisted it did not use any sort of squirrel termination program.

But Yalies aren't the only ones who love their campus squirrels.

Penn State University has its own "squirrel whisperer," Beloit College used squirrels as spokespeople and Princeton University cherishes their beloved black squirrels.

We went through and picked out the dozen or so colleges that are most obsessed with squirrels and listed them below in no particular order.

  • Oberlin College
    Oberlin's squirrels have "rock star sta­tus." One of them, Albus, is pretty big in the blogosphere.
  • Princeton University
    Black squirrels are not common on the East Coast, but for whatever reason, there are a lot of them in Princeton, N.J.. There's a myth that a biology experiment is the reason for so many squirrels, but another legend suggests a devoted town residents, Moses Taylor Pyne, imported black and orange squirrels to match Princeton's colors. Regardless of why they're in Princeton, the community loves 'em.
  • Lehigh University
    Another Pennsylvania school where the squirrels apparently show no fear around humans, and have been known to throw acorns at students.
  • University of Texas - Austin
    Albino Squirrel Preservation Society
    Students were devastated when a beloved white squirrel was killed in a terrible bike accident. Reader writes in that "every Longhorn who ever lived wrote a Facebook status about it. Head coach Mack Brown was seen crying in the street and President Bill Powers couldn't eat for days. We love that squirrel! And all squirrels for that matter!" (We're guessing Brown and Powers didn't go that far, but point taken that everyone was bummed.) Another reader further explained to HuffPost about the love for these little critters:
    The second noteworthy point about the squirrels here is that there is an abundance of large albino squirrels. That's right- they are completely white and have red eyes. Students often refer to these immaculate specimens as "The Albino Squirrel" although there are in fact many that inhabit UT campus. These squirrels are so important to us students that we even created a tradition (or to be more accurate a commonly believed superstition) a number of years back that is directly related to them: If at any time on the day of an exam, prior to the exam, a student catches a glimpse of an albino squirrel on campus, he or she need not worry because they will do well on the exam.
    There's even a campus chapter of the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society. KVUE reports:
    The squirrels are such a UT fixture that the Texas Exes added info about them in the campus tour guide.
    Hook 'em, squirrels!
  • Macalester College
    Students have had squirrels jump on their feet, seen the critters refuse to move away from them and display "big and bold personalities." Some students consider them the unofficial mascot of the college. "I feel like they have more of a conspiracy going on," Alana Horton said. "If you walk across campus, at least five squirrels will be there looking at you, like they're coordinated."
  • Mary Baldwin College
    Any school that adorns the nickname the Fighting Squirrels obviously deserves to be on this list.
  • DePauw University
    Patrick Springer
    DePauw has some huge squirrels. One HuffPost staffer insisted they are "mutants." On top of that, they're known for acting strange and doing flips in the grass.
  • Beloit College
    Beloit's "squirrels" made a video to explain what it's like for them to live at the college. The school said they estimate 200,000 or so squirrels are around campus.
  • Yale University
    Yale students were worried this fall that their campus squirrels were the victims of a mass killing by school officials, but the university insisted they had no squirrel termination program.
  • University Of Chicago
    The University of Chicago community created t-shirts with the slogans "University of Chicago: Where the squirrels are cuter than the girls" and "University of Chicago: Where the squirrels are more aggressive than the guys."
  • Rice University
    http://ricesquirrels.tumblr.com/
    Rice glorifies their squirrel population. Some of them are reportedly pretty fat, maybe because they fill up on breadsticks and waffles.
  • Harvard University
    Harvard squirrels are fine walking right up to you, "sometimes a bit too close," as one Crimson writer put it. The university has documented the strange encounters with the small mammals in the Harvard Squirrel Archive, showing news articles from as far back as 1882 about interactions with the cute little guys.
  • Luther College
    Twitter: LCSquirrels
    The Luther squirrels are also known to be huge, and maybe a little too friendly.
  • Vassar College
    Getty Images
    There is a legend at Vassar that the squirrels on campus are the "returned souls of English majors who couldn't find jobs after graduation." Maybe. But there is definitely a "Vassar Squirrel Association" whose president sometimes writes op-eds about human behavior.
  • Drake University
    Screenshot
    Drake students tried to elect a squirrel to the student senate, multiple times. That squirrel apparently has some anger issues, judging by its Twitter account.
  • Kent State University
    Screenshot
    At Kent State, the black squirrel has been an unofficial mascot for decades. A reader notes that Kent State has:
    Black Squirrel 5K Race - Black Squirrel Festival (already on its 32nd year) Black Squirrel Radio - KSU Black Squirrels Twitter account Black Squirrel statues around campus and downtown Kent.
  • Haverford College
    Another college which not only boasts a squirrel as a mascot, but a black squirrel at that. The school also has a comedy group called Her Majesty’s Black Squirrels.
  • Vanderbilt University
    Vandy has its own squirrel newscast, a "Squirrelcast," if you will. I guess it's needed since they have a 3:1 squirrel to student ratio.
  • Penn State University
    Penn State loves their squirrels. They have a popular Facebook page dedicated to Sneezy the Squirrel, a little critter who allows a student to place silly hats on his head. They have the PSU Squirrel Twitter account sharing his thoughts about campus. The university has used squirrels to remind students to drink responsibly. Apparently these are the most friendly squirrels in all the land. Valley Magazine says they aren't sure "what's in the acorns around here, but seriously, Penn State squirrels are a species all their own."
  • University Of Michigan
    Squirrel Club
    The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has "The Squirrel Club" where students and staff can get together to feed the little critters. "Ready…set…waggle!"
  • Northwestern University
    Shutterstock
    Northwestern students constantly worry about the small mammals jumping on their bike seats and other "squirrel-on-human aggression," the Daily Northwestern reports. Squirrels have apparently lost all fear of humans and view people as "walking vending machines." As one HuffPost editor attested: the squirrels are "pure evil."
  • Washington University in St. Louis
    The Squirrels of Wash U Facebook page documents multiple incidents of squirrels frightening students by doing things such as jumping out of trash cans or stealing their lunch. The university calls their email system "SquirrelMail." One HuffPost editor who attended the university said there was a legend that the squirrels on campus were drunk, because some of the mulch Wash U used came from Anheuser Busch's woodchips. That editor also claimed to have witnessed a squirrel getting carried off by a hawk, squealing the entire time.
  • University of Indianapolis
    UIndy's Wheezy
    UIndy uses squirrels to combat littering and smoking. They have crazy squirrels. They also have @daUINDYsquirrel. One reader shared this testimony:
    We have resident squirrels near Good Hall that regularly block the sidewalk, demanding food in exchange for safe passage. A history professor, who shall remain nameless, once stopped mid-lecture to address the issue. “It won’t be long,” he said, “until we see an article in The Reflector about students dying from violent squirrel attacks.”

HONORABLE MENTION:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Morningside College
University of Indianapolis
University of Louisville
Wartburg College
Cornell University
University of North Carolina
University of Southern California
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Rollins College
University of Illinois
Columbia University
University of California-Berkeley
Middlebury College
University of Notre Dame
Drew University
College of William & Mary
Goshen College
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of Delaware
Brevard College
Fresno State University
Wesleyan University
Western Kentucky University
St. Norbert College
Southwestern University
Agnes Scott College