USA UNIVERSITY TOWN* (API**): This formerly bucolic Midwestern township is in an uproar today, after the University that is the community’s focus tried to change the name of one of its core buildings to reflect current political ideals, only to have that effort result in a general inability to apply any name to the community, or any structure within it.
It all started a week ago, when the university’s President, Dr. Aloysius W. Mitty, announced at a Zoom press conference that the name of a prominent alumnus, with a long record of public service, was to be removed from a campus building. “The attitude of this person towards non-males, towards persons not of European descent, and towards fee-paying students in good standing whose only faults were failure to attend classes or do homework, are not consistent with the modern mi$$ion of this institution”, Mitty stated.
The estate of the alumnus responded promptly. A speaker for the estate announced the withdrawal of the endowment supporting the namesake building and many other campus functions, declaring that the principal duty of a university, that was attempting to survive during a world pandemic that had shut down most of its operations and revenues, and promised to do so for the foreseeable future, was “not to bite the hand that feeds it.”
Meanwhile, attempts to rename the building in question have, to date, proven fruitless. Fierce protests from student groups have prevented the building from being named for any other person, and these groups have also called for all of the other buildings named for, or after, persons to have those names stripped. Student body President Harvey Wiener, also known by his rap persona, The Notorious S.H.T., announced, “They ain’t nobody you can hunt up who ain’t dissed somebody someplace, big time. Just don’t.” The university’s Endowments Director has been missing for four days – it’s been rumored that she committed suicide by jumping into the Grand Canyon.
A proposal to append the university’s name to the building was immediately met by close, and disapproving, scrutiny of the ethics, over the past three centuries, of the family after whom both the university and the town in which it operates was named, leading to a contentious and still-unresolved dispute – and no legally or socially acceptable name for either community or school.
Naming the building after the functions housed therein – international affairs, public policy, waste disposal, and child daycare – was immediately rejected on grounds of length and likelihood of confusion, both on campus and off. Moreover, faculties and departments saddled with aging and/or decrepit buildings complained that they didn’t need their professional images forever linked with the decay of their facilities, while others, convinced that university functions already failed to meet community needs, decried the fossilization of obsolete academic factions by attaching their names permanently to buildings.
A proposal to identify buildings using ordinal numbers was quickly tabled after the Board of Directors heard about a tweet from T. Rex Carborundum, Republican Senator representing the district, saying that any attempt to promote the use of Arabic numerals would result in the immediate and irrevocable withdrawal of Federal monies (including COVID relief funds) from the university. The local Holocaust museum immediately responded with a tweet from curator Tevye Bar Saul rejecting Roman numerals; “No action glorifying those responsible for the final and lasting destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and for initiating the horror of pogroms that persist to the present day, is acceptable to our membership”.
This just in: our campus correspondent writes that the university’s Board of Directors has denied permission for President Mitty’s planned vacation trip to the Grand Canyon.
Meanwhile, in Münster, Germany, an effort to get the names of prominent post-WWII Germans removed from buildings and memorials has been quietly but effectively suppressed. A note received by local sympathizers before it was taken down by Facebook administrators said: “We don’t understand why the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei and its leaders, such a critical part of our mid-20th century history, cannot be commemorated with the same consideration and respect as that given to, say, Bismarck, or Adenauer. Bismarck was not a god, Adenauer not a saint. If we may not be named, why should anybody?” In response to a question about the incident, the Lord Mayor of Münster replied, “The polizei were notified, but were not needed. Local citizens effectively, and without violence, suppressed the unwelcome and inappropriate conduct. We have worked hard over the past 75 years, as a country and a people, to gain a trusted place among the nations of the world, and know what personal and national sacrifices are necessary to win and keep that place. We regret that others have forgotten the lessons we have learned, especially those who most forcefully presumed to be our teachers.”
* The name of the town has been suppressed pending the results of a local referendum and the anticipated, subsequent court proceedings. Assuming survival of the institution, the US Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the case during its 2022 session.
** API: Amoeba Press International. All the News That’s Fit To