Tru-Myths: Time to debunk some common myths from the Truman State University community

Myth: Picture this: It’s a cold October night in 1942 and you are reading the paper to see the latest updates on World War II. To your surprise, tunnels have been discovered under Truman State University for soldiers to hide out. You talk to your friends, and they all have heard the same thing. You suppose it’s only a matter of time before the soldiers are walking around campus. Pretty cool, right? 

Truth: Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but there were no soldiers running through them and no hideout spaces being used. They are simply steam tunnels. 

Lori Shook, member of the campus planning department, said, “[the steam tunnels] run to mostly the main buildings around the quad at this point.” 

Shook said those steam lines prevent the snow from accumulating on the path east of the Student Health Center. “I think back in the day, they used to do that on purpose,” Shook said.

While these tunnels might have been on campus during WWII, they unfortunately weren’t used by any soldiers. 


Myth: At some point you may have heard that University President Sue Thomas lives in Columbia over the summer. Students say she commutes an hour and a half to Truman each day from Columbia, and some have even said she lives in St. Louis and commutes three hours each day. The University Residence where each president lives looks deserted, gossipers say, so it’s hard to say if anyone lives there. 

Truth: Thomas said none of the rumors are true. Her husband lives in St. Louis and works as a neuropsychologist in private practice, which may account for why some were led to believe she commuted to St. Louis regularly. When people found out she did her graduate work in Columbia, the rumors may have changed to fit the new information.

“Going back to St. Louis every weekend doesn’t really make any sense, especially given I am doing things on campus most weekends,” Thomas said. “I did my graduate work at the University of Missouri, Columbia, so I’m wondering if that led to [students thinking] I live in Columbia,” Thomas said. Thomas said once people realize she lives in the University Residence and doesn’t live in Columbia, perhaps they assume she has a summer house. 


Myth: Spike’s nose has become a good luck charm. It is said that if you touch Spike’s nose before an exam at Truman, you will ace it, no questions asked. The copper nose is starting to turn green because of the many desperate students wishing for a good grade, but is there any foundation to this myth?  

Truth: If I were you, I would have some doubts about this myth. From personal experience, I can tell you that my freshman-year self did not receive the luck that is promised from the ever-greening nose. I, like many others, touched his nose in hopes of acing a test, and I’ll be the first to tell you, I most definitely did not ace it. It was during the height of COVID-19, so I put on hand sanitizer after I touched it. Maybe I washed off the luck? Either way, I regret to inform you that Spike’s nose is not lucky. It’s probably better to rely on your notes than this myth.