Ripoff College Replaces Passé Grading with Merit Badges

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by I.M. Knott-Tawkin

Countering those who allege that $50,000 a year and “nothing to show for it” makes college a big waste of time and money for many students, Ripoff College has announced its new method for recognizing course completion.

“We ‘borrowed’ the idea from scouting, but that’s ok,” said academic dean Debbie Davis. “There was no patent on it. And it is patently true that today’s students were in the ‘gold star for showing up to class’ and ‘sticker for going to the doctor’ generation. This sash with badges in our school colors is what they respond to best – not arbitrary or even inflated point systems at the end of the term. In addition, our faculty are really happy, too. They will no longer have to give grades of any kind.”

Instead, professors will fill out purchase orders and simply forward them for approval. Twenty five students in History 101? Easy: Just order 25 “H’s.” That’s more fair to all concerned, most students agree, and Ripoff’s faculty average on a popular online rating site is expected to soar.

An under-the-table deal eluding state bidding laws with Alfabed Co., the embroidery firm that puts the Ripoff logo on sports team and maintenance uniforms, has given the college exclusive rights to create a line of stylish badges from A-as-in-anatomy to Z-for-zoology, not that the biology department was getting any special treatment.

Currently, the philosophy and psychology departments are squabbling over who gets to use “P.” With the expected tortuous rate of consensus at most academic meetings rivaling the lifespan of the oldest tortoise at the Ripoff Zoo, the winner may not be declared for quite some time.

“Philosophy sounds like it begins with an ‘F’ anyway, and we have more psychology majors than philosophy majors,” said psychology department chair Fern Jenkins. “It’s only fair that the majority rules.”

“Psychology is a word that can’t even be spelled right by its own majors,” countered Wilbert Adams of the Philosophy Department. “It was even misspelled on the c.v.’s of some of our recent candidates for a teaching position. A simple ‘S’ for those psychos – or shall I say ‘sickos’ — would be good enough.”

Relieved that Ripoff does not have an engineering school, Jan Jones of the English Department gloated over its sole possession of the letter “E,” which represents her department and its dreaded required courses, even if no one actually majors in English anymore.

“Two goldens E’s will be on most students’ sashes,” Jones predicted, “even if they put forth minimum effort in our classes.” She then paused to smile at her inadvertent rhyme. “It’s been so long since we had a poem in our curriculum. I didn’t know I had that in me,” she beamed.

Full-time student and junior Joseph Jones [whose mother heads the English department] says this new way of demonstrating his academic achievement is giving him the final push to finish his degree in a streamlined ten years instead of the twelve he intended.

“I’m like full-steam ahead now,” Jones said. “None of my buddies who already graduated have anything like this. I’ll wear my sash to my job interviews and that will save me the cost of ordering transcripts for every place I want to work. I can just look down and say: ‘C’ for calculus – yep, I did take that class at one time.”