College Denies Allegations of Teaching

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by Diana Senechal

Professor Blankenship will no doubt face harsh criticism for his antiquated use of written formulas and engaging lectures.

Pebble Heights, IL—In response to recent rumors, Pustoy College has sent out a flurry of press releases vehemently denying that its faculty engage in instruction. “Pustoy College is a 21st century institution,” one of them reads, “and as such, it would never besmirch its reputation by having a professor stand in front of the students and deliver an antiquated lesson.”

Besmirch, ha!” a bystander snorted. “No one in the 21st century says ‘besmirch.’”

As a progressive, forward-looking institution of higher learning, we have removed all vestiges of tradition,” the press release continues. (“Vestiges!” the bystander jeered.) “Our faculty know that their mission is not to teach, but to empower. Their place is not at the front of the room; in fact, they have no place at all. They move hither and thither in the spirit of circulation.” Here the press release pauses for air. (“Hither and thither? Oh please!” the bystander guffawed.)

Clearing its throat with a new paragraph, the press release resumes its apology (in the old sense of the word). “In the past, we may have had a faculty member who clung passionately to old ways; however, our recent classroom renovations render such clinging obsolete. There is no blackboard or whiteboard whatsoever; instead, projectors and screens adorn the four corners of the room, and the students face all four directions. A teacher who stands still for more than five seconds receives a mild electric shock and an automated email reprimand. In addition, we have video cameras in all rooms so that we may judge instructional minutiae at our pleasure. In over a thousand snapshots, we have not seen a trace of teaching. The so-called ‘teaching scandal,’ concocted, no doubt, by competitor colleges, has no foundation in reality.”

An anonymous professor told us that she had started holding classes in a nearby park so that she could teach them her subject, which actually did require coherent exposition. “My students appreciate this so much that they don’t even mind getting rained on,” she said. “When the weather gets cold, we’ll have to take it somewhere else. Maybe the local diner.”

Whoever this professor is, she’s just fighting the current,” a college spokesman responded. “You can run from your boss. You can even run from yourself. But you can’t run from the times, especially these times.”

Students have been circulating an underground petition to restore instruction. “We do not disparage innovative teaching,” the petition reads, “but innovation is folly when it rejects the good of the past and present. There is much good in listening to a professor. It does not impede thought. To the contrary; it can stimulate it.”

We’ll get those kids literally singing to a different tune,” responded President Ahora Teper. “We plan to hold daily pep rallies. Also, once the RFID-enhanced badges arrive, we’ll be able to put a stop to all covert activity. We’re branding ourselves as a school of the future, and we’re not going to let a fabricated scandal harm our brand. Just to satisfy reporters like you, we’ll conduct a full-scale investigation, and then we’ll put this all to rest. We just have one problem.” She fell silent and sank into a sigh.

We asked what that might be. “Well, our press writer happens to love Victorian literature,” she confessed. “We really need a modern-minded writer, but a lot of the modern-minded people can’t write. So, in the meantime, until we find that perfect candidate, we’ll have to put up with words like ‘besmirch.’ It’s a small concession, though, when you consider the whole picture.”