Perhaps it’s just the endorphin high they’re experiencing from qualifying for the NCAA College Football Playoff this year, but yesterday the Board of Regents at the University of Michigan took one of the boldest moves to increase institutional productivity that higher education has seen in over a generation.
Beginning on January 15, 2022, every dean at the University will be authorized to summarily fire up to five tenured faculty members in their school, with no justification required. “In essence,” says Michigan President Mark Schlissel, “we’re implementing a version of the peremptory challenge process that is employed in jury selection, where an attorney can remove a prospective juror without having to give a reason. We strongly believe that contemporary public universities desperately need such a policy if they are to survive.”
For their part, Michigan deans are beside themselves with eager anticipation. As one dean put it, “The amount of time I spend dealing with a few annoying faculty members is soul-killing. I usually dread returning to work after the holiday break, but this year I can’t wait to get back. I haven’t been this excited since Pamela Turnstile agreed to have sex with me in 9th grade. Oops, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned her name.”
Experts predict that over 90% of all terminated faculty will fall into one of five categories:
Scribes: Professors who send emails of interminable length to campus administrators, protesting anything and everything, and demanding that corrective action be taken. No issue is too large, too small, or too inane. (“Once again, I have been assigned a classroom for my Fractals Seminar that does not have moveable desks. [See attached course schedule from the Registrar, along with a photograph of the desks.] This makes it impossible for me to explore in depth the Mandelbrot Set with my students, and will result in disastrous learning consequences. If you refer to my email of April 8, 2017, you will find that….”)
Annual Report Blowfish: Faculty who document in writing, and in maddening detail, every conceivable activity they have engaged in that, in their fevered little brain, strengthens their case for a merit raise. (“Please note, in the ‘Service to the University’ category, that I attended 5 men’s basketball games this fall. I stayed to the end of every game, even though 3 of the games were lopsided and 2 went into double-overtime on nights that I had papers to grade. Attached are photocopies of my ticket stubs.”)
RBFs: Despite the sexist label (“Resting B***h Face”), this category can represent any gender. At department and committee meetings, as well as town-hall sessions, these individuals constantly display the pained, disgusted facial expression of someone who’s had a small cactus permanently shoved up their rectum. Their sour demeanor depresses everyone in the immediate vicinity. Even colleagues who are typically happy and optimistic start to cry. RBFs can say “that plan will never work” in 12 languages.
The Passionately Confused: At public meetings on campus, when the time comes for brief questions from the audience, the Passionately Confused introduce their query with a full-blown speech that is unrelated to the topic at hand. They ignore polite requests (“sit down, Harold”) to wrap things up. Indeed, such requests only solidify their resolve to continue. (“I will NOT be silenced. The failure to provide a vegan dessert option in the faculty dining room only serves to underscore the Administration’s indifference to the sanctity of all life. This is not a University; it’s a cesspool of animal carcasses and saturated fat ruled by a tyrant!”)
The Profsplainers: Relentlessly defending the abysmal student evaluations they receive year after year, these faculty claim that students will not recognize the value and brilliance of the pedagogy they have experienced until after they graduate. (“I only publicly humiliate students now so they won’t make the same mistakes later on the job. The bitter tears they shed today are a down payment on a successful tomorrow.”)
The University of Michigan Faculty Senate has threatened to sue the school’s President and Board of Regents on the day the new policy goes into effect.
“Go ahead,” says Schlissel, glancing at the Clint Eastwood poster on his office wall.
“Make my day.”