My informant is a 21-year-old female MSU student from Southern California. She heard this story from a friend who went to a different university, though she couldn’t remember which one. This story was collected when we were on a phone call and I asked her if she knew any school lore.
JV: “Ok so one story I remember hearing about from a couple years ago. I can’t remember the school, but according to A, at their university there is a place where the school seal is on the ground and some distance away is a statue of the school mascot. The story goes that if any graduating senior steps on the seal, they have to touch the statue within five or ten seconds or they won’t graduate… Apparently, A saw a guy step one foot on the seal. He paused, yelled a curse, then dropped everything he was carrying to sprint for the statue.”
Many schools seem to have superstitions surrounding stepping on school seals prior to graduation. School traditions and lore are one of the ways to build community and are especially important at large schools where students otherwise do not have much in common. Stepping on the deal bringing bad luck might reflect an inherent respect for the school and its official representations, which need to be honored and not metaphorically sullied by people stepping on them. Having a way to “break the curse” provides a fun ritual for students to witness. However, it’s also interesting to note that even students who would probably say they don’t believe in magic will drop everything to participate in the ritual as they don’t want to jinx themselves on the off chance that it might actually be real. For another description of traditions surrounding stepping on school seals, see Laskowski, Amy. “The Myths and Legends Behind the BU Seal.” May 9, 2019. http://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/boston-university-seal/