March 31, 2014
Can you believe another semester is over already? Here’s a handy recap.
January: The year started off with favorable omens, as per Carbondale tradition, Chancellor Rita Cheng ritually slaughtered a bull on the steps of Shryock Auditorium. After reading the entrails and pronouncing them favorable, Cheng addressed the audience, stating that the sacrifice’s spotless liver augured well for the school’s new distance learning initiative. All did not go well for everyone, however, when after the ceremony, Graduate Assistant Sheila Pottsworth slipped on the slick surface and struck her head on the pavement. Pottsworth, assigned from the School of Agriculture to clean up after the sacrificial bull, is said to be responding well to treatment.
February: In the depths of winter, added stress was placed on the student body when it was revealed that Faner Hall was actually the result of Cold War efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency and other interested parties in the field of behavior modification. Calling it an “abomination,” and “a complete failure of vision,” the CIA later sold the building to the State of Illinois for one dollar. When asked to comment on the situation, Chancellor Cheng said, “the weird energy among the people who work in Faner is better than no energy, I guess.”
March: Many among the campus community were aghast when large sections of Thompson Woods were donated to the federal government to be used to house inmates from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The facility’s closing and subsequent reopening on the SIUC campus is particularly challenging for residents because, in the words of Chancellor Rita Cheng, “while we’re all thrilled that the United States is closing Guantanamo, perhaps the middle of a university isn’t the best place to put those folks. On the other hand, it’s jobs, right?” Rumors of graduate assistantships at the new facility, Camp Saluki, continue to circulate.
April: Spring came in full force to Carbondale this year, with several fronts of existential fear moving through the area with gale force psychic turbulence. Particularly affected by the storms of dread and uncertainty were Graduate Assistants in their last semester of funding. Marked by the rank smell of fear and the outline of adult diapers in their pants, they find out the awful truth that the faculty of their departments don’t, in the words of SIUC Provost Dr. John Nicklow, “really give that much of a crap about their graduate students.” Nicklow elaborated on the theme, stating at one point, “the key thing to is to make sure they’ve joined the Alumni Association before we throw them out.”
May: The SIUC community was certainly gratified when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was this year’s commencement speaker. His speech, “Pay Us or We’ll Sure Enough Ruin Your Life,” really brought to life the consequences of defaulting on student loan debt. Duncan inspired the audience with his first-hand experiences of dealing with student loan defaulters. “Believe me,” Duncan declared, “once they’ve gone through a few waterboarding sessions, those deadbeats really get the message about the importance of timely loan payments.”