An Email Describing Dinner with President Cotton is Misleading

dinner party

Dear Bob,

Please do not share this email. Its contents could get me fired!

As a new hire at the college, I thought I’d take the opportunity to meet President Cotton and his wife Tina Cheryl Fay [sic] Cotton for one of his monthly “Dinner with the President” events. I arrived a few minutes after the other “guest,” an affable faculty member from Economics who is also new to Willard College. The conversation on its surface was light and airy,  but just below, Cotton took opportunities to position himself in a dominate or all knowing position. He attacked and then retreated all night.

After the first hour of talking about the text book he is writing, no food or drink having been served or offered, Cotton went into inquisition mode. In rapid fire, he asked question after question of us concerning not our teaching or scholarship, but about the position of faculty and staff members with respect to him and his office. At times, the questions, which were delivered with great violence, were so specific as to suggest that Cotton is spying on the faculty.

He then was called away by Provost Pillow, who had come in through the back door. They started yelling at each other, with the pitch growing higher and higher until it hurt my ears. Cheryl Tina Faye Cotton also got into the mix and it sounded like she was hitting Provost Pillow. More screams.

When Cotton returned, there was spittle on his shirt and tie. He began to yell at me about the recent resignation of the Tim Wolfe from the presidency of the University of Missouri. He started explaining to me that Wolfe had shown that he had neither “back bone nor balls.” He suggested that Wolfe might have “employed better security, blackmailed the striking football players, thrown an assistant dean under the bus, or even started a god-damn fire in a dorm and blamed it on the f—ing student agitators.”

The mood then turned light again and he fed us cookies, served from a platter. It was the appetizer. Suddenly, Cheryl Tina Faye Cotton emerged and announced that dinner, that she had been preparing for the last 12 hours, was ready and that we must quickly sit down at the dining room table. She is vegan but had agreed to make a chicken dish, “pollo en vinagre.” I asked for her to translate the name of the entrée since my Spanish is pretty poor. “Oh,” she replied, ” you take a whole chicken, stuff it with onions and lemons, and then soak it in vinegar for 12 hours.” It is eaten with a spoon.

After dinner, the conversation turned back to campus politics. President Cotton began to ask me what I thought of Provost Pillow, who was sitting at the table with us. “Can I trust Pillow? Do you think any of the former provosts, like Gauleiter, Videla, Brouxet, Martin, or Baptiste communicate with this little bastard?” He then stood up, came over to my side of the table, took my head between his sweaty hands, kissed me on the forehead, and then whispered “I can trust you, can’t I?”

Sorry for going on so long about the evening. There is more to tell. Perhaps we can grab lunch next week. Would you be willing to write me a letter if I go back on the job market?

Best, Kevin

President Henry Cotton derides President Tim Wolfe over his recent resignation

“This guy need to read his [                  ] history and figure out better strategies to stay in office. I’m disappointed that he flees the presidential palace so quickly. Declare martial law. Denounce the troublemakers. Blame outside agitators. Have some mid-level functionaries publicly shamed. Create a commission to study the problem. But don’t just f-ing give up!”–Henry Cotton in declassified email to Provost Pillow

Provost Pillow and President Cotton Refute Rumors


Dear Willard Community, The following email was intercepted last night:

“I think everyone recognizes that Provost Pillow is Cotton’s slave. At night, he goes to Cotton’s palace and after being strip searched by the president’s new security detail (no one can be trusted) he puts on a sack cloth, enters the palace barefoot, and spends the night polishing the silver and drafting memos. At 5am,Cotton beats him, often at the urging of Cheryl Tina Faye Cotton,  and then he is allowed to put back on his provost costume.  He then spends much of the morning crying in his office.”

Although the sender of the email has been detained for further questioning, we want to assure you that such rumors are completely false. We have a very collegial, open, and honest working relationship, and one in which coercion and intimidation would not be tolerated!

Sincerely, President Cotton and Provost Pillow