Compendium | Campus conversations

Overheard: faculty and administration conversations

A discussion in the administration building, as imagined by faculty:

Senior administrator: It was nice visiting the moon.

Junior administrator: I imagine it was. I will need to wait for my guaranteed end-of-year bonus before I can go to the moon. I am bored of visiting New Zealand.

Senior: I was also bored of New Zealand at your age. Once I was so bored in New Zealand I tipped a bag of money into a volcano in New Zealand.

Junior: You must have been so bored. To get through the day I sometimes throw money out the window. But sometimes the wind isn’t fast enough, so it just accumulates on the ground. I don’t like seeing piles of money outside my windows because I see piles of money too much each day. I don’t know where to put this money.

Academic administrator: The faculty are upset again.

Junior: Shall I go and tear up the contracts?

Senior: Yes. They never complain about that so it must be fair. Also, go and get more adjuncts from the pit.

Academic: The pit is overflowing with adjuncts. How many shall I take?

Senior: Take ten. We can put them back in the pit if they are bad adjuncts.

Junior: Bad adjuncts? I thought all adjuncts had a natural respect of authority?

Senior: Yes, in general most do. But some enjoy reading too much and then tell me about their reading. It makes me puke.

Junior: Reading does not make money, but faculty seem to think so. I think it is because they are all Marxists.

Senior: I think so, too. Marxism has been proved wrong by facts. They should read the facts more.

Academic: Some of the adjuncts at the bottom of the pit are suffocating.

Senior: That it because they are at the bottom of the pit: they should try and climb to the top of the pit where there is air. That is the rational thing to do.

Junior: Faculty are so irrational. I think it is all the money they make for doing reading.

Senior: I hadn’t thought of that before. We should deny them tenure.

All: Yes. Tenure is a job for life and that is stupid because Marxism was proven wrong by facts.

***

A discussion in the faculty club lounge, as imagined by the administration:

Assistant professor: Don’t you just love sitting and reading?

Full Professor: Yes, I do. It is all I do in fact, which is nice.

Assistant: How many books have you read?

Full: All of them.

Assistant: I, too, have read all of the books.

Full: I enjoy leisurely re-reading all the books that have ever been written in my oak-panelled office while smoking my pipe.

Assistant: If we didn’t have the time to leisurely re-read all the books then we wouldn’t be able to notice subtle variations or find ambiguous points that we can debate the meaning of for the next tax-year.

Full: Exactly, that is why we need money: to write more books. Because we have read all the books that exist. We are providing the world with a very valuable service by writing more books.

Assistant: But we must not write too fast. If we did that then the books would be read too fast, and then there would still be nothing left to read.

Full: Yes.

Assistant: That is why we also invent new words and terms: to fill up the new books.

Full: Reusing old words is boring.

Adjunct professor: It is fun sitting at the big table.

Full: Another way of inventing new words is simply redefining old words. Did you know that ‘a public’ is a group of no more than 100 people gathered together to light fires?

Assistant: No, I did not.

Full: Yes, I defined the public as such in my latest academic paper. Writing that paper gave me a sense of well being and fulfillment and a deep satisfaction at having contributed to society’s knowledge.

Assistant: Yes, this job is satisfying but, more than that, seeing your name in an academic journal is why I started this job: publishing is what I live for.

Full: I would publish for free, but I also like my wage because I use it to buy more vintage oak panelling.

Assistant: I just oak-panelled my bathroom.

Full: I just oak-panelled my leg.

Adjunct: I am very young and just have fun being here. Being young I do not need to eat; the money the administration gives me allows me to buy extra popsicles for fun.

Full: Well, I best go home now. It is the end of the working day.

Assistant: Yes, 1 p.m. is time for tennis and golf.

Full: But first we should finish this vintage single-malt whiskey and think about the way things are.

Assistant: The way things are is complex and requires thought.

Adjunct: Thinking is fun. I think I can do it!

Other professors: Shh booboo. Sleepytime for you.

Adjunct: Yes, I must get a minimum of eleven hours sleep a day. Thankfully that is tolerated by the institution and society at large.

Thinking happening

Full: Well, that was a good session of thinking. Maybe we should write some of those thoughts down.

Assistant: Tomorrow. First we need to go and be respected members of our community that are influential and regarded as sexually attractive because we combine brains with a good dress sense because we only buy designer clothes because everyone buys our books.

Full: Yes. Also I need to oak-panel my windows.


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