A University of Florida manager posted a plan to deal with zombies on the school's Web site.
By Nathan Crabbe
Forget swine flu: The University of Florida's latest plan of attack concerns the off chance its employees become flesh-eating zombies.
A plan to deal with a campus zombie attack was posted among disaster preparation exercises on the university's e-Learning Web site before being removed late Thursday afternoon.
The plan included medical information on "zombieism" and a form allowing UF employees to explain why they killed infected co-workers, such as those workers making "references to wanting to eat brains."
"Obviously it was meant to be humorous," Doug Johnson, manager of UF's e-Learning Support Services and author of the plan, said Thursday before it was removed.
He said the plan was meant to reduce stress in the office as well as inspire thinking about how to handle a campus closure. With swine flu raising the possibility of such a scenario, he said, the office is making plans including holding a test run by operating its e-Learning services from off campus.
After word of the zombie plan broke Thursday morning, it received national media attention before it was ordered pulled later in the day. No disciplinary action will be taken against Johnson because he wrote the plan on his own time, UF spokesman Steve Orlando said.
Johnson said he has insomnia and that the idea for the plan came to him as he lay awake around 1 a.m. He said he wrote until about 4 a.m., mining Wikipedia for zombie information and using knowledge culled from his own reading of the novel "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War" and previous viewing of movies such as the zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead."
Zombies are a longtime horror-movie staple that have exploded into a pop culture phenomenon, from the Jane Austen parody "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" to the new movie "Zombieland." The UF zombie plan included footnotes referring to previous zombie movies such as "Night of the Living Dead" and "28 Days Later" as documentaries.
The six-page document listed "tentative action items" such as equipping offices with easily barricaded doors and giving employees weapons to defend themselves.
"Some employees may prefer weapons such as chain saws, baseball bats and explosives that have been shown to be effective against zombies," the plan said. "Given the stress on staff to be anticipated during a zombie outbreak, employees should be given the flexibility to choose their own weaponry thereby diminishing anxiety."
The plan concluded with an "infected co-worker dispatch form" that included a place to list the co-worker's symptoms such as "lack of rational thought (this can cause problems confusing zombies with managers)." At the end, employees were to note whether housekeeping had been notified to clean up the dead zombie and whether human resources had been told to stop salary payments to the zombie and its victims.
Johnson said his office has actual disaster plans to deal with a hurricane and disease pandemic and is working on one to address a campus closure. Workers will do their jobs from home in the next several weeks as a test run, he said.
His office also puts course materials online for about 3,000 instructors teaching about half of UF's classes.
"Sometimes that can be stressful," he said. "One of my goals was to give the group a laugh."
To read the zombie attack plan, check Nate's blog @ http://chalkboard.blogs.gainesville.com/11334/uf-site-has-emergency-plan-for-zombie-attack/
Key Documents: Zombie Attack: Disaster Preparedness Simulation Exercise ( http://www.gainesville.com/assets/pdf/GS18357102.PDF - 36kb)