Friday, April 01, 2011

Student-free campus

Digging around for something else in our hard drive, we stumbled upon this news report, which we think was originally bylined April 1, 2001.

Chancellor Khayat Announces “Student-Free” Campus Plan

Elimination of students to beautify campus, attract alumni

With its pedestrians-only campus near realization, the Office of the Chancellor has revealed the “next step” for Ole Miss: no students.

In what Chancellor Khayat describes as “a bold move to the vanguard of the Great American Public Universities,” the University of Mississippi will adopt a plan to be 100% student-free by the year 2006.

“Having rendered the heart of our campus virtually inaccessible to commuters,” the Chancellor’s Mission Statement said, “we are now ready to take the logical next step: excluding students altogether. Our beautiful new campus, with its majestically renovated buildings, will now become an alumni park, free from student congestion.”

A spokesperson for the Chancellor’s Office emphasized the progressive nature of this step in the school’s Master Plan.

“We’ve been moving towards this for some time,” said Dusty Flack. “The gradual elimination of student parking, the decrepitude of our student housing, the financial abandonment of the library, even the awful slop that Aramark passes off for food—did anybody think these were accidents? I hope everyone appreciates the depth and foresight in Chancellor Khayat’s vision. Glory to his name!”

Business professor Carl Deutschmarx lauded the Chancellor’s plan. “The loss of tuition income will be more than balanced by the increased focus on fundraising. Chancellor Khayat is following good business practice: eliminate the inessential. Efficiency like that is the hallmark of a true genius of managerial science.”

Student reaction was varied. Some students, like Iwauna Parti, a freshman from American Samoa, reacted positively. “I don’t have to go to class any more? That’s super! Not that I was spending much time there anyway.”

Graduate student Deke Onstrukt, who has been working on his Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Ideological Viewpoints (formerly “English”), praised the plan as “a brilliant inversion of conventional educational ideology. The transcendental signified has been deleted from Ole Miss, from which it was always already absent. Frankly, I had no idea Chancellor Khayat had even read Derrida.”

Some students expressed uncertainty as to the effect of the plan on their extracurricular activities. Buffie Blanchefille, a sophomore from Madison, wondered how her parents would react to the new plan. “I don’t know if they’re going to keep paying for my Chevy Behemoth SUV and my $1600-a-month townhouse if I’m not actually taking any classes. Maybe if the sororities stay open, it’ll be okay.”

A faculty spokesperson said that the professors were still studying the proposal. “We’re forming a committee right now,” said Faculty Senate member Pat Drudge. “Basically, while we think this holds a lot of potential for increasing our research opportunities, we’re a little concerned that the administration may use the fact that we’re not teaching any classes as an excuse to reduce our salaries, which are already well below the Southeastern Conference average. And I hope that the failure to consult us on this plan doesn’t imply any further targets for elimination.”

The Chancellor’s report spells out the future role of Ole Miss as a center for alumni gatherings and fundraising. Among other changes, the weekend festivities in the Grove will be extended to nine months out of the year; dormitories will be razed and replaced with alumni retirement villages; a riverboat casino will be built on the puddles in front of Farley Hall; and professional sports teams will be solicited to relocate to Oxford, where the currently renovated Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be demolished and rebuilt twice as large.

On the question of where the school will obtain new alumni once students have been removed, Flack said that several alternatives were being studied. “The Biology Department might get to work on genetically engineering alumni straight from the lab, without the intervening childhood and student life-stages, and with salaries of at least $80,000 a year right out of the test tube. Another possibility is to make alumni status hereditary, which isn’t too far from how we work now.”

Asked whether negative press might focus on the idea that educating students is the central mission of a university, Flack said that criticism had already been anticipated, but the administration expected little trouble. “We’ve been putting the students last for years, and nobody said boo. Why jump up and start complaining at this stage?”


  1. It would make the law school a little more palatable.

  2. Much more entertaining than actually studying law. One of my all- time favorites. Thanks for posting.