Dear Faculty and Administration,
Over the past several years, Willard College has been engaged in a re-visioning of our campus, its mission, and its future. As we take on some of the exciting challenges of 21st century higher education, as outlined in previous notes (see micro-credits, televised classrooms, etc.), the campus community has been asked to come to together to “put the pieces together,” “stretch out and then close the loop,” and to “build a cyber-campus,” that goes beyond the traditional “brick and mortar” learning space.
Of late, however, the president’s office has been receiving troubling reports concerning a precipitous drop in faculty participation in the face-time meetings. Excessive absenteeism led me to take the extreme measure of sending my nine assistant and associate provosts out to find the 20 missing faculty. While five of the faculty were in their offices, the other fifteen could not initially. We knew they were on campus because Parking Services had determined that their vehicles had entered the faculty parking lot. (Our recent improvement in the gating of that facility has allowed us to better monitor who is on campus).
The members of the Provost’s office then called in officers from Public Safety to determine the whereabouts of these faculty members. Within 24 hours, Public Safety had investigated the matter and gave my office a thorough report. What follows are the main highlights of the Public Safety assessment.
“Twenty officers were assigned to the case. Working in teams of two, with sound and heat detection systems, we worked our way through the office buildings where the missing faculty work. Our devices picked up signals from previously searched, and apparently empty, offices. Officers entered the offices of faculty, with permission of department chairs. Our detection equipment continued to register sounds and evidence of live bodies. A summary inspection revealed that said faculty had built a variety of hiding spaces. Several professors in English had rigged hammock like structures under their desks. Six members of Biology and Chemistry had removed ceiling tiles and constructed a network of inter-locking safe-rooms in the crawl-space between the sub-ceiling and the structural ceiling. Finally, two members of Computer Science had built “Committee Shelters” in hollowed out spaces behind book shelves. All of these shelters were provisioned so that the subjects could remain in hiding for long periods of time. In addition to food and water, the ceiling and wall shelters had portable toilet devices, wifi, etc. We also located a faculty blog called committeshelter.com where faculty shared advice on design and construction of the shelters. The blog also contained a clearing center where faculty could provide plausible excuses. This appears to be modeled on websites devoted to helping cheating spouses with alibis and excuses.”
The report runs to 10 pages. A culture of pervasive lawlessness has come to dominate our faculty. The behavior outlined above suggests that faculty may be engaged in other actions that are destructive to the physical plant of the college, to the morale of our employees, and to the ability to focus on the work of the college. My administration pledges to continue to investigate the so-called “committee shelter” practice. We will continue to search, locate, and destroy these shelters and also review committee assignment practices to determine the best mode of controlling attendance and reducing absenteeism.
President Henry Cotton
P.S In the course of the investigation described above, Public Safety determined that the student organization “Willard College Community Support Agriculture Club,” in addition to providing shares of fruits and vegetable , has also been selling “Malverde shares.” We had assumed that ‘malverde’ was in the tomatillo family, but have recently determined that this is in fact cannabis. Several club members are on suspension pending investigation. As of yet, no faculty or staff appear to have been involved.