Dear Students,

Due to our adjusted schedule this year, certain deadlines may have escaped your notice, so please consider the following changes from last year’s calendar. You have until August 31st to submit your add/drop form. You have until September 1st to request a room reassignment. And you have until September 14th to infect someone who lives in our college town and is unaffiliated with the university with COVID.

These dates have been moved up from previous years, and the deadline for infecting a restaurant server, bartender, or someone walking down the street with COVID is new from earlier terms.

Please do not wait to submit these forms or infect someone with COVID until the last minute. You cannot expect to get the required signatures in the hour before the form is due, nor can you just jog into a grocery store the morning of the deadline, cough a few times near the cashiers, and assume you have infected someone. It doesn’t work like that. Talk to your adviser about whether it is best to infect someone with COVID by going to a house party, getting tested, and then going to a bar before you get the test results back, or if it would be better to join a study group with someone who recently went to a frat party and then refuse to wear a mask in a bakery.

If you want to get this task out of the way early, please sneeze near the community members who do the cooking and cleaning in fraternities and sororities, since they are the most vulnerable. That said, to fulfill this requirement, you need to infect two such individuals because, per most Greek house guidelines, these workers are not considered full people with emotions or rights.

It is a difficult time for all of us, but I trust our university can rise to the challenge and make life in this town as miserable and frightening as possible by overloading the local hospital. It won’t be easy, but if all of us work together, I think we can infect some nurses.

When the actuaries came into the Board of Trustees meeting while university plans were being formed in June and told us that roughly 5-15 people in town would likely die from COVID if students came back, this prediction was based on certain expectations. One, that the university administration would make a series of egregious errors, and two, that teenagers would act like teenagers. We have done our part. Have you done yours?

Many students are practicing social distancing and wearing masks on campus, but I can’t help but wonder if these students are taking their masks off once they cross 3rd St. and enter a regular neighborhood. I sincerely hope all of you are.

The relationship between our college and our college town is a give and take. They provide the roads, sidewalks, parks, water, electricity, firefighters, off-campus housing, movie theaters, grocery stores, bookstores, coffee shops, and student jobs, and we provide a bunch of debit cards that have COVID on them. As a large institution that thinks we get to bully the town because of the jobs we provide, we like to consider ourselves a giant neoliberal corporation before Silicon Valley made such a thing cool.

The fact is, when you consider our school’s innovation and education, what we do is important, so important that I have lost touch with anything resembling perspective. I am scared. You are scared. The community is scared. But I am in charge, and I will not relent from focusing on what matters: making our effect on this community a complete afterthought. As always, my focus is on students’ health and safety in the context of a public institution that, for some reason, is run like a business. With the help of the finance bros who make up our board, in recent months we have come up with a dollar value for human life. (It’s $1,843,220.)

As I said, it’s been a difficult time for many of us. For example, the staff, students, and faculty of this institution have made it clear that they hate me and everything I stand for. But we must persist, because if we don’t, that would be difficult for everyone except the people who are saved from a life-threatening illness.

The communications professional who usually ghost-writes my emails resigned in disgust last week, so I apologize if this email has any errors. I wrote it myself, but, as always, I am sure that I am right about everything.

We look forward to continue contributing to this community with a series of cultural events that our town’s poor and working-class people do not know about and are not invited to. As always, if you see someone from the community walking around on campus, please call campus security.

Despite certain unforeseeable problems that many of you foresaw and told me about, we are determined to go forward and be stronger than ever. If most of our peer institutions cancel in-person classes, then we will cancel them too and then claim we were a leader on this issue. However, it is too late at this point to send most students home, so I am happy to say that this town will live in fear for the remainder of the academic year.

Your University President