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Downgrading at the U of G

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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  • "Primo Executive Summerlee"

    "Primo Executive Summerlee"

Written by Marty Williams

News that the University of Guelph Police have been downgraded to “Special Constables” has left the rest of the campus in shock.

“Nobody saw this one coming,” declared one long-time observer of the Post-Secondary Police community. “But the Ontario Government declared it and so it must be so: the Campus Cops can’t be Cops no more. They can’t even pretend. I am so bummed out.”
But wait. Do I smell a silver lining in this tale of woe? Yes, yes I do. And that smell is the campus standing foursquare with the officers and voluntarily lowering their rank. As soon as the news broke, self-deprecation and demotions from across all job categories and in every corner of the institution began. The solidarity with the newly Special Constables has been nothing short of awe inspiring.

First to downgrade was President Alistair Summerlee. Shoeless Al popped his own balloon only moments after hearing the news of the defrocked cops, announcing that he would renounce his title and henceforth answer to Primo Executive Summerlee instead.
“I couldn’t just sit by and let the cops take one in the goolies without giving my boys a good smack too,” he said. In keeping with the downshift, all of the Vice Presidents will now be called Secondo Executives – except for VP Administration Nancy Sullivan whose title will be Sultan of Stuff.

“We had some trouble convincing Nancy,” Summerlee told this reporter, “at first she wanted something more celestial, something like, Archangel, something that could, in her words “smite your ass.” But after a couple of cocktails and a neck massage, she was totally cool with Sultan. And hey, that’s no slouch of a title. I mean, those Sultan Mo-Fo’s play hardball.”

Hearing the news of the sacrifice made by the President formerly known as the President, the rest of the campus hurried to fall back in line. Department Chairs quickly downgraded themselves to Stools. Deans declared that they would now be known as Head Boy or Head Girl – depending on personal preference. Tenured Professors took a self-demotion to Pashas, Tenure-track Professors will be called The Duchess of Kent, and sessional instructors will be called “the Lumpen Proletariat.”

But it’s not just them with the good jobs that have taken themselves down a peg. The non-Academic staff have responded in kind. Directors will now be known as Key Grips, Administrative Assistants become Secretaries, and Foremen will become Threemen.
Chefs drop to cooks, cooks will be called shoemakers, and Marine Ceramic Technologists will once again be known as Dishwashers.

In the City of Guelph, the Mayor heard about what was going on up the hill and issued this statement:
“This outpouring of love, of sacrifice in this time of tragedy, really reminds us what’s important in this life, and that’s status. Sometimes it takes a slap in the collective chops to really show what a place is made of and I think you are seeing what those of us who have watched and wondered expected when the news came down . . . although, to be honest we really didn’t – and actually don’t – have a clue.”

At the U of G Senate there was much debate over how to downgrade Students after they realized that the Students on Senate weren’t going to agree to a downgrade without some arm-twisting and threats of pop quizzes. Some suggested calling them Gnats; some said Sloths was the way to go; others said that naming them Leeches was more appropriate. The Student reps countered with well thought out responses such as “as if,” and “no way,” and “whatever.” The main theme to their objection was that they were already on the low rung of the ladder and that they could support the cops without a drop in status – a plan the other senators laughed out of the chamber. (One elderly scholar laughed so hard he actually shot Bourbon through his nose.) The meeting lasted longer than many Hollywood marriages, and after much beard pulling, double dealing, spouse swapping, and exchange of at least one salsa recipe, it was finally agreed to call Students “The Kids.”

“It’s demeaning, but in a friendly, I-don’t-mean-nothing-by-it, sort of way,” said one Professor/Pasha. “And to tell the truth, it’s what we’ve been calling ‘em for years.”
Meanwhile, in a move that has mirrored the drops in status across the campus, the Registrar (now known as the Scorekeeper-in-chief) announced across-the-board changes in academic programs. Vets have been downgraded and will now be called Aggies; Aggies have been reduced to Artisies; and Artsies will now be known as Engineers. The actual Engineers, however, will stay with the same name.

“Oh listen, I know it’s confusing,” lamented the S-I-C when asked what the hell was going on. “I mean, people won’t know who to avoid at parties or who to invite. We tried and tried, we consulted a dictionary even, but nobody could think of anything shoddier than Engineers to call them,” the lowered Registrar said in a deep, sad, voice.
But the biggest news of all, in what I can declare to you without a whiff of hyperbole is the most moving bit of solidarity with the (former) Guelph Campus Cops in the history of humankind, the University’s Board of Governors has met in an emergency session and have emerged with the following simple statement:

The institution that heretofore has been know as the University of Guelph (at least when nobody was calling it something else, like Cowpie U, or Moo U or something else unflattering and not reflecting our new groovy – do the kids still say groovy? – image) will from this day forward be known as the Puslinch School for the Moderately Endowed.

But wait, I was wrong – sweetheart, get me re-write, there’s more: across the Province people have been watching the news from Guelph and downgrading themselves to show support.

From this day forward, Women will be known as Men, Men will be referred to as pond-scum, and pond-scum will henceforth be called Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty – in honour of the algae-brain who thought this whole thing up.

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