Baakko N’Telle, Upstate Consolation University’s Ngombian-born Special Assistant Dean for Sensitivity Issues, has introduced a plan to equip all classrooms with “sensitivity airbags.” According to N’Telle, although UCU’s classrooms have been “smart” for almost a decade (according to an in-house survey, they are the “smartest” classrooms by far in the state system) they have not been “sensitivity smart.” Should N’Telle get his way, as it appears he will, this is about to change. What is a “sensitivity smart” classroom? The dean describes it this way: “A ‘sensitivity smart’ classroom is a digitally ‘woke’ classroom. Tiny ‘open microphones’ and video cameras installed all around the classroom or lecture hall are connected to a voice-and-body-language-recognition computer. The computer’s algorithms, which have been offered gratis to UCU by a Silicon Valley software firm eager to gather data from a field evaluation, can detect microaggressions, hate-speech, male toxicity, white privilege, cultural appropriation, lacrosse-affinity, the Pro-Trump mentality, and all skeptical attitudes towards transgenderism and intersectionality. The voice-and-body-language-recognition computer interfaces with a router that communicates with ‘sensitivity airbag’ canisters attached to the backs of the seats in the classroom or lecture-hall space. At any time during the lecture-period, should anyone say or do anything that triggers the algorithm, the computer will tell the router to actuate the airbags, which work as they do in an automobile.” The system qualifies as sustainable and eco-friendly, its computer, dubbed the M5 by the manufacturer, being powered by rechargeable dimbranium-chloride batteries. Dimbranium refers to a rare metallic element of the Woketinide series found mainly in Ngombia, in neighboring West Mumbambu – where N’Telle incidentally received his education degree – and in the bedrock deep under offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles in coastal North American Cities.
“Once the airbags are actuated,” N’Telle explains, “everything comes to a sudden halt, just like when a Prius and an eighteen-wheeler crash into one another at an intersection. The airbag respectfully pins each student firmly to what we call a ‘comfort zone’ in zir own seat. Tiny hypo-sprays buried in the cushions inject students with low dosages of a muscle relaxant and tranquilizer mixture in order to minimize the shock of having been offended. Trained sensitivity counselors dressed in calming Social Justice Warrior uniforms complete with ski-masks, on remotely receiving notification of the event, make their way to the classroom, with their Iraqi-trained comfort-Dobermans in tow. Once present they determine the specific nature of what triggered the system and they issue a broadcast invitation to all victims to participate in further ameliorative therapy. The ‘open microphones’ and video cameras immediately send a record of the perpetrator or perpetrators to the Office of Sensitivity Issues, which invites the party or parties to a voluntarily obligatory video presentation, narrated by Michelle Obama, about the unwritten rules of sensitivity. They are escorted to and from the sessions by sensitivity counselors with their Iraqi-trained comfort-Dobermans.”
The College Republicans have opposed N’Telle’s plan, citing scientific investigations that indicate adverse neurological effects from prolonged dimbranium-exposure. N’Telle pooh-poohs the objection saying that he was exposed to dimbranium throughout his childhood and young adulthood without ever having noticed any debilitating consequences. Indeed he attributes his own “woke” status to that exposure. What might trigger the “sensitivity smart” system, with its “sensitivity airbags”? “A fraternity guy wearing a sombrero and a serape to the lecture on Wordsworth’s Prelude would do it,” N’Telle said, “or a non-Asian sorority girl wearing a kimono or cheongsom dress on the day when she is scheduled to give a presentation about statistical methods in her multicultural childhood pedagogy course. You can never tell when these kinds of incidents are going to happen. We’ve got to be out front – on the cutting edge – to stop them.” N’Telle has also proposed a regular summer-exchange program between UCU and his alma mater, the George Soros-funded Northeast West Mumbambu Teacher Polytechnic, “so that more American college students can be exposed to dimbranium.”
In other UCU news, longtime Associate Professor of Geology Haggard Quatermain III, who ten years ago received scientific accolades for his discovery of hitherto unknown and currently inaccessible dimbranium deposits in the upper mantle under most of California, has been placed on administrative leave after the lodging of a harassment complaint against him by a newly hired female Geology Faculty member. Quatermain, a decorated former Army Ranger who completed three tours of duty in the combat zone during and after the First Gulf War, had politely admonished his younger colleague for having monopolized the Geology Theater well into his scheduled class time and for having left behind on the display table a large sample of schist, which obtruded itself on and hindered his own planned lecture-demonstration. Libidia Dreckspackler, the younger colleague, is in fact not a geologist by training but rather a graduate of the Dworkin-McKinnon Master’s Degree Program in Advanced Intersectional and Wombyns’ Studies at Washoe County Land-Grant College, Nevada. UCU’s president, Large Mahogany Desk, recently appointed Dreckspackler to the Geology Faculty to lecture on feminist and minority viewpoints to the largely male geology undergraduate enrollment. Dreckspackler argued before the Ad Hoc Committee on Microaggressions, Privileging, and Cultural Misappropriations, now chaired by Minky Winceapple of the Studies Studies Program, that Quatermain’s words and actions constituted a hate-speech assault premised on institutionalized power asymmetries that violated her articulation of a rich and nuanced feminist identity across cultures. The Committee agreed and recommended to Large Mahogany Desk that Quatermain be penalized. The complainant declared triumphantly that, “Nobody’s gonna tell a wombyn, much less a Dreckspackler, where she can or cannot leave her schist.”
The same Ad Hoc Committee also issued a recommendation that the words penalty and to penalize be stricken from all University documents. After issuing a warning to those who might experience certain words as “triggers,” Chair Winceapple explained the Committee’s reasoning. He remarked the resemblance between penalty, to penalize, and penis, adding: “Although we know on the basis of many recently published scholarly articles that the penis is not, in fact, real, but is a social construct foisted on women and minorities by the Patriarchy, lots of people, including women and minorities, have not read these articles and still believe the penis to be real.” Winceapple continued, “Those from whom the false reality of the penile construct has not been lifted could well be offended by words that remind them of the word that they think really refers to something that’s real.” Asked whether his own penis was real, Winceapple replied that reality itself is a social construct – so that there was no real way of answering the question.
President of UCU, Large Mahogany Desk, has declared that departmental chairs and faculty committee chairs have not been formulating and implementing policies at a rate commensurate with UCU’s progressive agenda. The president directed this remark especially to what remain of UCU’s once-ample but steadily eroding humanities programs. “We all know,” Large Mahogany Desk said through a spokesman to a meeting of the Faculty Assembly, “that formulating and implementing policies is the highest function of the university.” According to the new Policy on Policy Formulation and Implementation: “Policy, in both its formulation and its implementation, can be a catalyst for change in the university’s deep dive into synergy as it pivots to address the requirements of multiculturalism, diversity, and intersectionality. In order to progress, UCU will need to go forward with fleet dynamism toward the conquesting goals of empowerment, alignment, and disruptive innovation.” Large Mahogany Desk believes that multiplying the number of policies by a factor of ten will “help to realize digital literacy, student engagement, and differentiated instruction in the new flipped classroom.” Other items of the Policy on Policy Formulation and Implementation are: Cross-platforming in the cloud, hyperlocal core-competency, and the holistic datification of entitlements. On hearing the announcement of the new Policy on Policy Formulation and Implementation, the Faculty Assembly rose to its feet as one and broke into robust applause which only concluded at the clangorous sound of a loud and persistent bell.