Dear University Community,
I write to you today not just as the
Highest paid president of a private
University in the whole goddamned country,
But as a white male human being who is
Deeply and passionately committed
To controlling the image of my university,
And their money.
A number of students have voiced—
Both at a recent forum and
Maybe one or two other times—
Their acute and ongoing hurt,
Frustration, and fatigue surrounding
The underrepresented student experience
On campus and the slow pace of change
In bringing racial equity to our community.
But I want students at this illustrious university
To know at a deep and personal level
That you are valued here, even if
It doesn’t always feel that way—
And even if a review of the university’s
Old yearbooks revealed that
They include lynching references, racial slurs,
And photos of students wearing blackface—
And even if we also have yearbook photos
Of two current Deans of Admissions
Posing in front of the Confederate flag
When they were undergraduates here—
And even if many of you have spoken of
An ongoing legacy of racism at the university
That continues to impact campus culture.
Yes, you are valued.
Whew! That was easy! Because, you see,
I’m not just a university president;
I’m also a magician, which means that
When I say things out loud,
They actually come true. Poof!!!!
It’s a super-great skill, and I also have a wand,
A top hat, and an overworked pet rabbit
The university pledges to continue to
Promise that it will create a more diverse
And inclusive community,
While not actually doing anything at all,
Apart from the occasional email
From yours truly about the
Importance of “dialogues,” where
One side of these dialogues is,
Um, I guess the racists?
I am committed to hearing both sides
Of all issues, especially those issues that
Do not have two sides.
There is work to be done, and
I hope that our underrepresented students
Will do most of this work
As I am busy trying out
Recipes for my new InstaPot.
You wouldn’t believe how great it is;
I don’t know how I have lived without it.
Yes, it is my sincerest wish that
Students, faculty, and staff will participate in
These “campus conversations,”
And then we, the administration,
Can get on with the difficult tasks
Of hoarding resources at the top
And mindlessly repeating platitudes.
I realize that some people have suggested
That the Greek system — and certain fraternities
In particular — might play a significant role in
An idea I have heard spoken of called
“Institutional racism,” but I would ask
Everyone to also remember the
Wonderful things that these organizations
Contribute to the university, including
Not only sexual assault and alcohol abuse,
But also, down the road,
Significant financial donations from alums.
I am grateful to the students,
Faculty and staff who have
Voiced their concerns, and
I remain committed to pursuing
The sense of belonging we want
Everyone in our community to feel,
Even if this is above my pay grade.
Ha! That was just a funny joke
Because nothing is above my pay grade
Except the beautiful blue sky.
This is the end of my email, so
Poof!!!! Please feel a sense of belonging.
I need to go and check on my Instapot.
Your University’s President