Watching Where You Step….

College presidents around the country are soiling their undergarments as they endeavor to issue solemn, noncontroversial pronouncements about the Israel-Hamas conflict.  Imagine walking blindfolded through a minefield while wearing clown shoes.  

University Life is here to help.  Choose any one of the following quotes as your official statement on the current crisis, and you won’t have to worry about being spat upon (or worse) at the upcoming holiday party on your campus.

“Uh-oh.  Things are bad right now.” Brief, pithy, and you can’t be accused of taking sides.  This is the gold standard for presidential utterances during tough times. 

“Noisy, gasoline-powered leaf blowers have no place in a civilized society.” — Can be used with or without an exclamation point.  The fact that this assertion has nothing to do with the hostilities in the Middle East is its primary virtue.  It draws the reader’s attention away from the contentious matter that’s getting everybody riled up these days.  The only constituencies that might object to this sentence are the Buildings and Grounds folks at your institution who hate raking.  Solution:  don’t send the message to them.  

“All we are saying….is give pizza a chance.” — Who doesn’t love John Lennon or a slice from Domino’s?  This exhortation will serve you well as long as you don’t recommend a topping or mention Yoko Ono. 

“Human suffering upsets me.” — Most people share this sentiment, and the few who don’t will respect you for “speaking your truth.”

“Et tu, Brute?” — You can never go wrong with a quote from Shakespeare.  This selection will do just fine.  

“One state, two states, three states, more?  How many states are worth fighting for?” — No one can resist an old-fashioned short poem that actually rhymes.  The advantage of this one is that you aren’t taking a stand.  You’re just asking a question, and in doing so you empower the reader.

Okay, college presidents.  It’s time to take off those clown shoes and stride with confidence across your domain.