If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that something might be wrong with you.
But you also know that something might be wrong with the University, too. And you know that I’m a watchdog of the University. You know that if something isn’t right, I will loudly alert others of the problem, in hopes that they will make it go away. This is what being a watchdog is all about.
Well, something isn’t right. In fact, everything is wrong. I am referring to, of course, the tour groups that are all over campus. PLEASE STOP THE TOURS. The Daily will double what you are making to stop, tour guides! E-mail my editor for details!
No, I am kidding. The tours aren’t the problem. They are only part of the problem. A lot of bad things have been happening on campus ever since the weather turned unnaturally warm, and not just smarty professors telling us “We told you so” about climate change.
Actually, one bad thing happened off-campus. Like thousands of other students whose sole reason for existence is Michigan sports, I was shaken beyond measure last Friday when the basketball team lost to Ohio State after a buzzer-beater. Our — and by “our” I mean “the basketball team’s” — last chance to make a miracle run to the NCAA Tournament was shattered, and now we — and by “we” I mean “the basketball team” — are not even in the NIT. This is just an embarrassment. I mean, why do the sports teams think students go to school here in the first place?
It gets worse. If you thought our athletics were a joke, you’ll be pleased to know that our faculty thinks the LAW is a joke. I’m referring to last week’s traffic violation by Vice President of Student Affairs E. Royster Harper and University President Mary Sue Coleman, who were caught speeding to Bursley Hall. According to a report on Daily’s news blog, E. Royster Harper, who was driving, had the nerve to tell the police officer, “Don’t you know who I’m with?” To teach her a lesson, the officer ordered her out of the car, cuffed her and yelled repeatedly, “What does the “E” stand for!? Huh? No one knows! Edith? Eleanor!? What gives!?”
This last exchange hasn’t been verified, but nonetheless the vice president of student affairs thinks joking with an officer of the law is morally acceptable.
So, to recap, tour groups, athletics and administrators — one would hope the embarrassment would end there. One would hope, as a Wolverine, that one could hold one’s head up high and say, without a shred of sarcasm, “At least we’ll always have our student government.” Indeed, in turbid times, the Michigan Student Assembly has always been a last vestige of respectability. No longer. The recent website scandal has torn the very fabric of MSA and its many, many faithful supporters apart.
At first I thought the website scandal stemmed from the fact that when you google “MSA,” the Michigan Student Assembly website doesn’t appear until page two, after such organizations as the Michigan Snowmobile Association and the Mineralogical Society of America. MSA, of course, is way more relevant than these trash organizations, and should really have the top spot in the Google results (currently held by Mine Safety Appliances Company). But THEN I discovered the real scandal: MSA was building a NEW website (presumably to overtake Mine Safety Appliances) and went over its budget by $6,000, for a total of $9,000 on a site that still doesn’t work.
During the outrage that followed, many students experienced intense psychological and physiological reactions: shock, disbelief, disgust, loss of appetite, loss of purpose and rashes. I think I threw up — though I confess I can’t remember exactly what happened. For the first time in MSA history, it failed to accomplish what it had set out to do.
In my previous columns about the moral shortcomings of this institution we all love, I have urged students to not let these types of things get to them and to instead focus on academics. But who comes here for the academics? I realize now that this is a shallow solution at best. I realize now that as I pass those infuriating tour groups, and those infuriating tour guides — with their little yellow jackets on, standing on some bench — I want to stuff a brochure down the guide’s throat and yell to the group, “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see what a failure this place is? How do you think you’ll get a job afterward, with no athletic presence in the Big Ten and a student government who can’t even enact a website?”
I guess this is why I see so many students getting drunk on the weekends. These are dark days.
Will Grundler can be reached at email@example.com.