Satire: New University-wide participation policy requires students to deliver impromptu State of the Union speech in front of the entire United States citizenry
'I just don’t see how I can make a State of the Union speech and interrupt a peer in the same class period'
From the Newsstands: This story appeared in The Eagle's November 2022 print edition. You can find the digital version here.
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 Tuesday, the Amalgamated Political Science Teachers’ Union of American University ratified a participation policy requiring students to deliver an impromptu State of the Union speech in front of the entire United States citizenry in order to receive class credit.
The new policy has been well received by students of all backgrounds.
Janine Botero, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, has a fear of public speaking. While she initially expressed concern about the extemporaneous speaking requirement, she ultimately embraced the spirit of the policy.
“I expect that this requirement will crush my soul profoundly and repeatedly,” she said. “But I completely understand why it’s necessary. Unless I can adequately deliver a televised speech to the entire population of the country with no preparation, I don’t deserve participation credit. In fact, I don’t even deserve attendance credit at all.”
Edmond Wellington Mellington Clinton Koch Rockefeller VII, a freshman in SPA, embraced the policy from the start.
“I love public speaking more than anything. I prefer to speak every word as if it were being spoken in front of a live televised audience of my compatriots,” he said. “I’m blending in perfectly here at AU. When I was in the bathroom yesterday, one of my floormates started debating the ethics of robotizing the pharmaceutical industry through the stalls. When the debate got heated, each of us just screamed our position louder. I was quite proud of my performance.”
He even suggested the union take the policy a step further. “I actually think speaking loudly and out of turn should be a participation requirement too. Passionately voicing one’s opinion at incredibly inappropriate times is a super important skill for every SPA student to develop.”
The union agreed.
On Wednesday, they added the “loud and untimely interruption clause” to the participation policy. Incidentally, some students reacted poorly at the prospect of this clause going into effect.
“I just don’t see how I can make a State of the Union speech and interrupt a peer in the same class,” said Chinyere Musa, a senior in SPA.
“What if I don’t interrupt my peers loud enough?” asked Mae McClain, a sophomore in SPA.
Another student expressed concerns about how professors will measure the forcefulness of her interjection, fearing she may fall short of “interruption.” Yet another feared her interruption may be perceived as too “timely” by a grouchy Ph.D. in need of a lunch break.
Given the unyielding influx of questions regarding the policy, the union expects to assemble a working group to ensure that administrators are supported and given adequate punitive authority as confusion increases.
While the Amalgamated Political Science Teachers’ Union declined a request to comment on the matter, rumors are circulating the school regarding the organization’s next steps. Sources indicate that the union intends to encourage complete expulsion of all students who do not flawlessly deliver their impromptu speech in front of a nationwide audience and interrupt their peers (who will not be present during the speech) while doing so.
Luckily, in a small pilot run of the policy, students exceeded expectations. Even if the rumors are true, The Seagle expects very few, if any, punitive measures will need to be taken at all.
Nora Sullivan is a senior in the School of International Service and The Eagle’s satire editor.