Academic Probation

The difference between then and NOW!

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It's rare to get an interview with the Dude Himself, his schedule only allowing for the highest profile conversations, taped proclamations and his two annual six-month-long tropical vacations. But when hell broke loose on his home turf, El Hefgarten felt it was a necessary measure to fly somebody out to get his side of the story. This is how I ended up in the Bahamas sippin' on potion, rappin' about the recent university protests.

"I mean, they didn't actually say those awful things to me, but my Provost e-mailed me some of that shit and I just about spat out my Dasani� and Baby Duck!" He chokes out between sips. "So I had my crack team of 101-Jugend put an end to the dissidents. What is a respectable administrator to do?"

The Dictator-in-Chief is talking about the recent efforts of the Office of Accountably Sustainable Accountability in quieting the restless populace of his university. Their unorthodox methods were considered by many to be a testament to the iron resolve of administration in tackling the financial issues plaguing post-secondary today.

"They say if you can't beat them, join them, right?" The Man winks at me, which would be unnerving if it weren't so alluring. "Whoever they are... Point is: once, we would have gotten some really sideways looks for hiring our detractors to write ad copy, but give a guy enough cash and grief and he's going to start believing, and I mean really believing what you have to say."

And that's the key to administration's new method of maintaining campus morale: proclamation of utopia equals utopia. The message is the master now, and it's nowhere more evident than the beach video projectors merrily pontificating behind the Supreme Dictator fo' Life.

"The student experience..." The screenbound bikini-clad babes blare, "Quality money. Take your place. Research orientation. Student life. Making the connection. Diversity. Cultivating global citizens. Experiential Learning. A commitment to education and excellence. Fostering student interest. Digital. Digital. Digital. Research can go a long way!!!! It's a business. Fear the Man. Love the Man."

"We've come a long way," The power of the King's grin is undeniable and soon I'm grinning too, just from being in his presence. "It was so hard to see back in the day when we were still trying to break ground on all those different projects, but it was the 'trying' part we got wrong, not the 'projects' part. Just look at what that little epiphany got us!"

As he throws a hard-packed ball of cash at me, urging-even daring-me to say something bad about him, I realize how easy he is to love, how easy to fear. He bows his head and shakes it. His curly locks form a halo, his beard an unmistakable crown for his sculpted and tanned chin. Finally, he looks up. His eyes have a sage sparkle.

"That was then," he says. "This is Now."

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