A Modest Reflection on the Dampened Impulses of a Sometime-Revolutionary
An armed shooter drill interrupts the first class of the morning. After some confusion, we all file into the safe-room and then file out. Someone asks, “what if the shooter is right outside the classroom door? What if they catch us moving from one room to another? What if they come in through the back door?”
“Well, you die,” responds our head of security.
Later that day someone grabs my backpack and runs directly past the Library de Montessuey. After stealing all my cash he drops the bag on the street and runs away. I recover it and walk back to the library, panting.
“Whoa, did that guy just steal your bag?” asks the security guard from his seat outside the doors.
“Yup,” I respond. “Thanks for asking.”
I check my phone and see twenty unopened emails from the SGA in my inbox, all sweaty with good intentions. I assume that the SGA is a valuable resource to the student body. Every Fall they organize extensive welcoming events for the new students, they decide how to use the student budget, and most importantly they represent the students. I’m not sure what exactly my representatives are doing in my interests. Honestly, I’m not sure who they are, but I am made aware of each gala and event we have on campus.
Each event will inevitably benefit a charity, which is admirable. Even in a university, where the majority of attendees have to budget carefully to buy groceries, students are still asked to give. I hope extensive critical thought was put into the causes they promote because it’s easy to achieve a veneer of worthiness by allying with a random charitable organization. Suddenly the sloppiest, most hastily put together events are respectable and safe from criticism. That being said, I’m certain our representatives aren’t just throwing together events at the last minute to pad out the calendar and make us look appealing to the parents of future applicants and donors. Of course, that would be a useful outcome for the administration of the school. People usually have to pay for that kind of publicity, and here they are, doing it for free.
Many people believe a university campus is a place of strongly held, fiery opinion and debate. While our school’s most well-funded clubs don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, they certainly can put together a fun party. Tonight they’re throwing some kind of charitable event. That’s nice. You carefully bring it up to a friend. They inform you that all charities are an arm of the capitalist system that simply papers over injustice, and supporting them is an act of moral and intellectual cowardice. You quickly nod while privately thinking to yourself that if anyone is a charity case it’s you goddammit. Someone else mentions cognitive dissonance. You nod. Another person you hadn’t even noticed before mentions Marxism. You nod again. You may be nodding too much. You mix it up with an “hmm.” You’d better start to have strong opinions about something, soon, or you won’t fit in with your friend group.
The events and media that our student-journalists so diligently create is a glossy magazine-photoshopped image of AUP that any of us would be proud to show our parents, our pastors, any figure of traditional authority. The administration of our school, who are so deeply involved in the running of the SGA, must be proud that the message and politics of their closely supervised pet projects so tightly align with the marketing message of the school. Each article with an entirely uncontroversial title, a capsule of Buzzfeed-lite infotainment. In fact, the content made by SGA is so inoffensive that they would be perfect for a PR campaign designed to sell AUP as a school full of Gucci wearing, Perrier-drinking, woke models of boyhood and girlhood who drop a few hundred each semester on charitable causes. For God’s sake, even our drugs are boring. We’re all taking study-enhancing steroids while eating brunch, funding fashion shows and sucking dick. Metaphorically of course.
Or is there nothing interesting to say anyway? Nothing to criticize, no suspect hiring policies, no predatory staff members, no misuse of school funds. Maybe there are no weirdos to stare at or angry revolutionaries to argue with. Maybe we are the perfect school.