I write to share with you that I am shocked that our plans for hybrid and in-person classes have not been as successful as initially planned. We had an extraordinary team of teachers, researchers, and make-believers who came together to deny reality and build out a program that would ensure that nothing bad would happen and that all possible tuition dollars were received. While the latter came to fruition (thank you, parents), the former, surprisingly, did not.
For starters, many of you have been attending parties. We told you not to do that! We thought you’d listen to us the same way you always listened to your parents growing up. At the very least, we thought you’d hide it a bit better. Well, you haven’t. Everyone told us that young people, many of whom are leaving home for the first time, would want to meet other students and make friends. And some said that, yes, that would be in the form of attending parties. I am flabbergasted that this turned out to be true.
Additionally, our virus-prevention team prohibited all on-campus club activities except for those pertaining to sports. Many epidemiologists told us that sporting practices and events were the exact type of gatherings that would inevitably lead to Coronavirus spikes. To this, we told them “phooey.” And also that we needed the revenue. Well, wouldn’t you believe it? Undergraduate sports teams have been one of the primary causes for the increase in COVID-19 cases on our campus. Was it the indoor workouts, where athletes pant and sweat on one another? The countless fans cheering without masks and swaying in the bleachers? The fun tradition the football team has of spitting in each other’s mouths for camaraderie before a game? We’ll never know.
We also believed our testing would be enough to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Our university tested nearly 28,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students for the virus that one time on August 25. While we haven’t been able to enforce any follow-up testing, I see no reason to assume that shouldn’t have been enough. I’m no scientist (I’m really just a fundraiser), but if everyone tests negative one time, months ago, and then you all pinky promise to never ever leave campus, you’re not going to leave campus, right? Right? We had no good reason to believe otherwise, but to my astonishment, we were wrong.
People also told us that our university community would infect the areas in which we are located. “Piffle,” I told our health committee. But again, here we are. I’m disappointed to learn that our usually tight-knit and disparity-creating university bubble was not strong enough to separate us from the townies. I wanted to believe our only real relationship with the downtown area is to continuously and quietly purchase land and property to tear down and use for our own needs, like that new squash center that went up where the former YMCA was located. Everyone told us that our students would infect the town, but I told everyone they were wrong based on the information in that one thesis paper a student wrote about the surrounding area and its symbol as a “failing post-industrial American town.” It was a really good essay, and received our university’s median grade of an “A.”
It is with great gravity that I lay out the following guidelines: There will have to be many changes. For example, our university’s online tracker will now include statistics about our campus’s instances of infection with only a one-week delay, rather than the month-delay we were all finding far more comforting. All of you will have to get tested one more time (don’t worry, just once) and then promise not to get COVID-19 before reentering buildings, going to sporting events, and partaking in campus orgies after the holiday break. We will also work to suspend more students based on how much bad publicity they generate for the school (again, no refunds).
See you all after Thanksgiving,
Your University President