Satire: AU announces plan to welcome 7,500 revenue streams back to campus
University to welcome students’ payments this fall, some instruction may occur
The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.
On the morning of Tuesday, June 16, American University announced its plan to welcome back nearly 7,500 sources of fiscal income. According to the announcement, AU will encourage students to pay for tuition, room and board. The logistics of classes, dining and housing remain to be sorted out.
“We want to make sure we’re bringing in enough money to support the University’s operations,” Keith Henderson, AU spokesperson, said. “It’s imperative for AU’s financial health that we bring back our sources of income.”
When asked about the physical health of students in the midst of a global pandemic, Henderson deferred to the Student Health Center.
“We’re exploring ways to keep students safe, like buying thousands of giant garbage bags for students to wear in class,” said Sirena Alba, Director of the Student Health Center. “We’ve also been devising ways to keep students six feet apart, like attaching six-foot PVC pipe rings around their waists.”
“Historically, we know that college students are a low-risk demographic,” Alba said. “We know our students would never break the rules. That’s why I trust everyone to follow all of the tedious social distancing guidelines and wear a mask at all times.”
Henderson added that AU will be taking additional precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “We’re discouraging fraternities from throwing parties with alcohol — the thought of underage students being so intoxicated that they vomit on each other poses a clear risk of transmitting the virus. We want to take this public health hazard seriously this year.”
Meanwhile, some students saw it differently.
“I just don’t understand how AU will enforce social distancing,” said rising sophomore Gerald Clark. “I mean, do they expect us to hold each other accountable? That strategy works so great for pulling the fire alarm, we only had ten midnight evacuations last semester.”
Another student was even less optimistic. “They’re going to bring everyone back to campus so we can sit around in our rooms alone and Zoom into classes,” said rising junior Tasha Abraham. “How will we be able to judge social status without comparing the number of jobs, internships and clubs we’re involved in?”
AU officials have countered students’ concerns by pointing to their top priority: financial stability.
“Think about it from our perspective,” said Henderson. “If we held all classes online and didn’t let anyone return to campus, we’d see half our revenue stream dry up just like that. Face it, to maintain financial solvency, we have to welcome back our revenue sources.”
The ambiguity of the University’s plan has generated concern among some faculty members. “So far, AU has given little guidance on how much face-to-face time I’ll have with students,” said Dr. Donna Li, a professor of film in the School of Communication. “When I asked my department chair about it, she said if I wanted to see my students every week I’d have to conduct class on the roof of SOC.”
“I heard that I may only see my students in person a handful of times throughout the semester,” said Dr. Archibald Langmeier, a professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. “University administrators told me that having classes online will make students more invested in their academics and require less hand-holding by faculty. This leads me to believe they haven’t worked with undergraduates recently.”
Housing and dining have also been primary areas of concern, given the lack of details about what AU plans to do.
“At this point, we’re planning to ship in crates of unwanted food from Tenleytown businesses,” said Luther Mendez, director of Dining. “We’ll just unload truckloads of raw food supplies into the first floor of MGC — that’ll be the best way to prevent the spread of the virus at mealtime.”
“If we don’t have enough housing arranged by move-in day, we can always pitch some tents on the quad,” said Blanche Paxton, director of Housing and Residence Life. “This semester, we’re also renaming one of our residence halls Covid Hall, where we will be housing anyone who comes down with the virus. We’ve made arrangements to hang a pirate flag out the window to remind people to steer clear, like they did with bubonic plague.”
In response to student outcry about the University’s plans for the fall, Henderson asked for patience from the AU community.
“We’re doing the best that we can,” Henderson said. “It’s not like anyone on staff was the former Secretary of Health and Human Services — am I right?”
Owen Boice is a rising sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a satire columnist at The Eagle.