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by Lilian Kershaw
Freelance Writer

Students blocked all exits with a giant conga line and demanded name-brand staff shirts and iPads of appreciation.

As the annual University of the Hills Student Staff Appreciation Banquet stretches into its 3rd week, hostage negotiators have been brought in to secure the release of the division’s full-time employees. University spokesperson Alanah Shah expressed hope that the banquet would be brought to an end soon with no further casualties.

The banquet started like any other with popular music, themed table decorations and a dinner of roasted chicken, rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables. However, the proceedings took a turn when Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Melvin Jones quoted a Michael Jackson song during his remarks:

“We value your contribution to our organization and we hope you know just how appreciated you are. In fact, to paraphrase a disco hit from 1979, we won’t stop this banquet until you get enough . . . appreciation!”

The students in the room mistook Dr. Jones’ attempt to relate through pop-culture for a legally-binding oral contract and have refused to let the banquet end.

“I don’t feel appreciated enough,” said Hills Union front desk worker, Jordan Jackson. “I mean, yeah, they’ve paid me and given me free polos and gave me a really great letter of recommendation and stuff. But that doesn’t mean they appreciate me. And, Dr. Jones said the banquet wasn’t going to stop until we feel appreciated enough.”

Early last week, the students allowed an injured career services counselor to leave four days after she suffered a sprained ankle while attempting the Electric Slide. According to witnesses, the unidentified counselor thought that if she joined the students on the dance floor, they would feel like she appreciated their unique contribution to popular culture and she would be released. Unable to execute the dance moves, she fell to the floor after approximately 30 seconds, injuring her ankle.

The university has found a way to put this crisis to good use. According to Shah, “One of the summer session classes in Criminal Justice is on advanced hostage negotiation techniques. This situation provides the precise kind of experiential learning experience we value here at the University of the Hills. The students will serve as the primary hostage negotiators. If they can bring this incident to a peaceful end, each student will earn an ‘A’ for the course.”