Pleased to Meet You, Hope You Guess My Name

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that “professors at Eastern Michigan University are objecting to its partnership with a private company to market and support online programs, making it the latest institution to grapple with questions about the quality of online instruction.”

While faculty are fighting these battles around the country, as universities increasingly contract with for-profit institutions to develop academically “iffy” enterprises, a small school in Lubbock, Texas has raised the stakes to the next level.  Meerkat University announced last week that it had signed an agreement with Satan in an effort to more aggressively market its online offerings.

Meerkat’s President, Dr. Fenton Swig, noted the risk inherent in such a venture: “Cutting a deal with Satan is not something we do lightly.  We’ve worked with evil online companies before, and yes, their vision statements often amount to, ‘We’d have rhesus monkeys teaching online if we could get them to stop pooping on the keyboard.’  But Satan represents a whole new ballgame of indifference to quality.  Partnering with an entity whose slogan is “By Any Means Necessary” gives us pause.  

“That being said, our tuition-driven business model requires that we cultivate new markets for online education — toddlers, the recently deceased, and ISIS, for example.  Satan has a negative reputation, to be sure, but how much of that reputation is truly deserved?  His biggest sin was to challenge the patriarchal hegemony of God the Father.  In today’s political climate that happens every week in the New York Times Book Review.  Who gets to decide what is evil, anyway?  In a world where the Kardashian family and the creators of Jersey Shore and The Bachelorette have not been sentenced to life imprisonment for committing genocide against popular culture, what’s so bad about enrolling a dozen dementia patients from an assisted living facility in a 3-credit graduate course on The History of Etch-A-Sketch Art Since 1960taught by a bottlenose dolphin with an associate’s degree from Sea World?  I guarantee you, if we don’t do this, someone else will.”

PS:  For those not familiar with the title of this post, please borrow your parents’ vinyl copy of Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones.