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Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024
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Satire: AU launches 'Spy School' program within new School of Covert Affairs

“We’re already graduating plenty of spies, but from now on we’re going to actually know about it"

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

After the arrest of Maria Butina, recent graduate of American University and alleged Russian spy, AU announced its launch of an International Espionage major in the new School of Covert Affairs.

“We want to give students the opportunity to learn about all aspects of international service as possible,” said Andrew Jones, the key program coordinator. “This happens to include spying and somewhat illegal undercover surveillance.”

Butina, who was arrested in July for charges of acting as a foreign agent and conspiracy, graduated from AU in the spring. Her story inspired AU officials to begin work on a new program, one that would allow students to have a similar experience to Butina — without the time in a federal prison.

“It’s opportunities like this that make me proud to be an AU student,” said freshman Caleb Gardner. “No other school would have given me this opportunity, and I’m thrilled that I get these kinds of educational experiences at this school.”

“I mean, if Russian students are going to spy on us, then we should be trained to spy on them,” said junior Allison Smith. “It’s only fair.”

The administration said that AU decided to add the major to give students an edge in international affairs after graduation. Like the reasoning for most decisions at the University, the location of the new school is unknown.

“These are the skills they will need to know to succeed. With the state of foreign politics right now, we thought it best to give AU students a competitive edge in the job world,” said Tina Miller, a professor in the School of International Service. “We’re already graduating plenty of spies, but from now on we’re going to actually know about it.”

The new major, said Jones, will consist of 54 required credit hours with classes like “Introduction to Infiltration,” “Surveillance and Intelligence Collection,” “Evading Capture” and “What to do in case of Arrest” available to the students in the program.

This is the first statement AU has made regarding Butina, who, despite being arrested in July, has gone fairly unacknowledged by AU’s administration, just as ex-Trump lawyer and graduate of AU Michael Cohen has since admitting to financial crimes in court. Butina’s lawyers even subpoenaed AU recently for her school records and class rosters, but only Butina’s past classmates and professors are actively speaking out about it.

Lauren Patetta is a sophomore in the School of Communication and a satire columnist for The Eagle.

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