Something interesting has happened at Enema U. We lost a whole bunch of students. Specifically, somewhere between a gob lot and a shit ton of students have just wandered off. While the university is currently between semesters, as of right now, there are somewhere over....well....thousands and thousands of students who did not bother to enroll for next semester.
Maybe they forgot? They were here last semester, and while they may come back next semester, where are they right now?
If we assume that they are not coming back, I wonder why? I might come up with a few possible reasons....'Course, I'm just a poor dumb ol' country boy, so I'm probably wrong.
Maybe the students have just have given up hope of ever finding a job in a state that has systematically stifled all expansion of the business sector for decades. During a recession, university enrollment frequently increases since students are wary of entering a weak job market. If the recession continues, eventually the students just give up and quit trying. I know of more than one waitress in town with a master's degree.
Could it be that the students are not as happy at Enema U as they might be? Little things might be the problem--like the food. While other universities are attracting students by serving great food at reasonable prices, Enema U has leased out its cafeterias to a corporation that specializes in providing food for prisons, airports, and universities. While I have no direct evidence, I presume that since people at prisons can't leave and the people at airports eventually escape....well, I suppose our food is better than in the prisons and a little worse than at the airports.
Or, maybe, it is the tuition--we keep raising it and raising it, while we give buckets of the money to support an athletic program that does little more than let our administration relive the 1960's. Every week, the steadily declining attendance at the games proves to everyone not yearning for the revival of the sock hop that the world has changed and the center of campus life is no longer located between goalposts.
Then, again, perhaps the students are worried about financing. No one seems to know for certain whether federal funds will continue to finance grants and loans. Even the funding derived from the state lottery seems to be in question. (There is a quick fix for the lottery: since the proceeds go to education, why not let the elementary school kids sell the tickets door-to-door? Lottery tickets would be preferable to the magazines, cookies, and assorted crapola the little rug rats are currently selling.)
Possibly the students are AWOL because we offer fewer weekend college or night classes. Then, couple that with a shortage of classrooms, and it is getting increasingly hard for the students to take the courses they want at the times they want to take them. We have recently built a lot of new buildings on campus, but since no one in Administration ever got hired away by a bigger university for building more classrooms, we have wisely built things like a new abattoir for faculty meetings---and the new set of coaches' offices to replace the previous new set of coaches' offices.
Who knows why the students are missing? There seems to be some kind of an election and the students are voting with their feet. Something has to be done, and soon--I'm too old and lazy to find honest work. I have a suggestion to motivate the administration, but first you get this week's history lesson.
Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Persian king, Xerxes I, decided to invade Greece. He assembled an immense army and and marched them through what today we would call Turkey. When he got to the Hellespont--the strait that separates Asia from Europe--he ordered a bridge built across it. Before his army could cross to the other side, a storm destroyed the bridge.
Enraged, Xerxes ordered the strait to be whipped and that iron restraints to be thrown into the water. Presumably, the 300 lashes and iron chains would both punish and restrain the waves from future mischief. With the unruly water properly humbled, Xerxes ordered the bridge rebuilt.
With this in mind, and to properly motivate the administration, I am announcing the Xerxes Prize for Administrative Excellence. I will be accepting nominations in the weeks to come.