Upstate Consolation University Extends Diversity Recruitment to Triffids

Triffid 01

Triffid in Traditional Costume

Triffids constitute a woefully underrepresented minority in college undergraduate enrollments and are not represented at all in graduate programs such as Screen Studies and Whiteness Studies, research has shown. In order to address this crisis, which has been exacerbated by the dictatorial intransigence of the Trump administration, Upstate Consolation University has fully committed itself to the inclusion of Triffids under the criteria of its Alternative Holistic Recruitment Program.  That program makes eligible for admission to UCU members of historically excluded intersectional groups who might not qualify to attend college when judged solely by their high school grade-point-averages or their SAT scores.  According to Lardner Amitol de Brainepanne, UCU’s newly appointed Interim Quasi Vice Dean for Inclusive Diversification: “It’s all about the transformative experience of diversity, equity, and transgression – that and moving forward.  If you’re not moving forward, you’re not really moving at all, as least not in the way that we here at UCU want you to move.”  In a press briefing, de Brainepanne revealed that UCU had begun Triffid recruitment in marshy and fetid regions of the state last year, with special effort being made to bring to campus those Triffids who identify as trans- or cis-gendered or who can document their refugee or DREAMER status.  Asked to describe the practicalities of Triffid recruitment, de Brainepanne said that UCU’s recruitment officers had been aided by Special Forces of the State National Guard who have trained to operate in swampy and flooded terrain.  “Casualties have been surprisingly light,” de Brainepanne added.

Triffid 05

Triffid Lives Matter!

The Triffid – a highly mobile, predatory, carnivorous plant that grows up to fifteen feet in height and can weigh as much as an adult brown bear – is believed to have come to earth in spore-form on fragments of a comet that exploded in the high stratosphere over Norway in the late 1950s.  In the summer of 1960 in London, several hundred Triffids under cultivation in a large warehouse for the valuable oil that they exude from an organ that in other vegetable species would be the cotyledon escaped during a power outage.  Before the police were able to round them up and destroy them, the Triffids, over a period of several days, killed and ate some twenty-seven people and an unknown but large number of household pets.  Although scientists have been studying Triffids for five decades and more, many aspects of the life and behavior of this anomalous species remain occluded.  For instance, are Triffids intelligent? They possess no discernible nervous system or brain.  Nevertheless, their method of attacking their preferred human prey – slashing the eyes and blinding it before seizing, killing, and eating it – suggests a type of intelligence.  And they are attracted by loud noises.  Are Triffids sexed?  This too remains outside the ken of science.  Triffids breed through propagation of their spores.  In their gametophyte phase, the Triffid prothallus, stimulated by warm wet weather, can release millions of spores. Over the years, Triffids have faced discrimination and xenophobia, becoming a marginalized group.

Responding to questions, de Brainepanne reminded his audience that “there are multiple kinds of intelligence” and that the inability to speak, read, and write cannot be automatically equated with ignorance or bestiality.  “We are forming a dedicated team of tutors to bring our Triffid freshmen up to speed,” de Brainepanne said.  The Interim Quasi Vice Dean added that several Triffids had been admitted on athletic scholarship in the Track and Field Program of the Sports Studies Department.  “Triffids can move forward really fast; they are naturally progressive, which is one of the reasons we believe they will swiftly integrate into and enrich the student population.”  No special arrangements are planned to accommodate UCU’s Triffid freshmen.  In de Brainepanne’s words, “They will be housed with the general student population in the dormitories.”  De Brainepanne added, “Some are here already, about twenty of them, who are participating in summer freshman resident orientation – our version of Head Start.”  Also speaking at the briefing was outgoing Temporary Demi-Provost for Diversified Inclusiveness Vespella Splatt-Gardner.  In casual remarks, Splatt-Gardner said that the lack of a central nervous system and brain might well make Triffids the ideal postmodern, intersectional students.  “They are particularly adept at absorbing the principles of critical thinking and cross-cultural awareness, and they absorb them quite directly,” Splatt-Gardner averred.

Triffid 03

Gametophyte Phase in Warm Wet Weather

In other UCU news, Campus Health and Safety officers say that they are moving forward in their investigation of the disappearance of a group of community college transfer students, a dozen in all, who had come to live in the dormitories for a week while participating in summer freshman resident orientation.  The mystery began when, on the third day of its visit, the group failed to report in the morning to its orientation leader.  The day’s activities were to include a multicultural non-appropriative vegan breakfast in the Andrea Dworkin Memorial Parking Permit Office and Cafetorium, a mid-morning seminar in transgression led by Minky Winceapple of the Studies Studies Program, and a noontime tour of the new bookless library followed by a choral recitation of UCU’s Vision Statement under the statue of Ta-Nehisi Coates in the main quadrangle of the campus.  The orientation leader told Health and Safety officers that he was not too concerned that the visitors missed the first half of the day’s activities.  “There was a lot of loud partying in the dorm until two or three in the morning, so I can see how they might have wanted to stay in bed late, even considering how exciting the tour of the new bookless library can be,” the student employee was quoted as saying.  Other groups checked in, however, including the Triffids, who are housed on the same floor as the missing group.  An attempt to interview the Triffids proved futile, but a number of students from the floor below and the floor above said that the loud festivities had ended abruptly at two forty-five in the morning.

A search of the empty dormitory rooms revealed few clues.  Organic fluids on the carpets and walls were dismissed by investigators as being “not all that unusual for a state college dormitory.”  Lester Spitzmuller, Chief of Health and Safety, speculated that, it having been a night of warm wet weather the missing parties might have walked west along the lake shore to spend the night on the public beach under the cliffs.  As that beach lies outside the jurisdiction of Health and Safety, Spitzmuller has instigated no reconnaissance.  Clothing items of the vanished group were found on the premises.  Spitzmuller adds to his speculation that, “maybe they went skinny dipping.”  Interim Quasi Vice Dean de Brainepanne has asserted that, “UCU will not allow this incident to go forward unnoticed although during the semester most students are missing most of the time.”  Learning that tracking skills belong to the time-honored native tradition of Triffid culture, Spitzmuller and de Brainepanne announced that they will personally be taking a group of Triffid volunteers into the labyrinth of steam tunnels that run underneath the main buildings of UCU campus in case the absconded about-to-be freshmen retired there to participate in some kind of diverse initiation ceremony.  Spitzmuller and de Brainepanne’s goal, in de Brainepanne’s words, “is to provide a proactive, thoughtful and participatory approach to strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our college community.”  UCU President Large Mahogany Desk has announced that, “We will begin by coming together to share our perspectives and experiences, and we will work together to implement best practices using our and others’ expertise.”

23 thoughts on “Upstate Consolation University Extends Diversity Recruitment to Triffids

  1. Pingback: Upstate Consolation University Extends Diversity Recruitment Policy to Triffids | @the_arv

  2. Vegetation is really what the university is all about. It’s long been the place where humans transition into plants, so its a natural place for plants to transition into humans.

    • Well said! Now here’s an important question. Which variety of Triffid do you prefer — greenhouse raised or free range?

      • When I was a boy scout, we would harrow the tenderfoots with stories of gitche gumees. With no apologies to Longfellow, we said the gitche gumees were “trees that walk by night.” If the campfire was low, the night was stormy, and the storyteller was skillful, the old spine would tingle. I don’t know if UCU has shed the prejudice against gitche gumees along with the prejudice against triffids, or it is still evolving. In any case, I believe greenhouses turn out the most promising members of the vegetable kingdom, academics wise. A greenhouse is, after all, the model of a safe space.

  3. In the progressive world, as you know, JM, everything is always evolving. Keep moving — keep moving on! (Call that “moving”? Call that “on”?)

    P.S. I assume that your gitchie gumee and the Triffid are the same thing. Possibly the late-1950s comet that exploded in the high stratosphere over Norway was not the first celestial object to bring Triffid spores to Earth. Undoubtedly there were earlier instances of the same type of transmission. The Swedish cosmologist Svante Arrhenius (1859 – 1927) remarked the presence of organic compounds in meteorites as early as the 1890s, and on his observations built his “Panspermia” theory of the ubiquity of life in the universe. I would guess that Antifa and all Pussy-Hat wearers and all Gay-Pride marchers are sprung from spores or cellular nuclei brought to the terrestrial environment from deep space. (See Don Siegel’s 1956 documentary film, Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.) Some others perhaps come to us from deep state — Comey, Brennan, Mueller, and the Ohrs. The relationship of deep space and deep state is still being investigated by astrophysicists, like the ones on The Big Bang Theory. You can tell that the Ohrs are alien by their name. Anyone named Ohr appearing in a Star Trek: Voyager episode would have a great mass of putty on his upper nose-ridge and forehead. Bertonneau is not an alien name, I assure you. I was born of human (well, marginally human) parents. If, however, I could get promoted by claiming Triffid ancestry on the maternal side, I might give it a try. (I’ll email you a photograph of my cheekbones.)

    P.P.S. I recommend that Trump combine ICE with his new Space Force. Keep space safe! And keep harrowing those tenderfeet!

  4. UCU President Large Mahogany Desk has announced that, “We will begin by coming together to share our perspectives and experiences, and we will work together to implement best practices using our and others’ expertise.”

    Far be it from me to offer correction, but I believe you may have mis-spelt ‘Deputy Director John Wither.’

    • These days the free-floating hackneyed phrases make many a man. (Just open your mouth and they will speak themselves.)

  5. Pingback: Upstate Consolation University Extends Diversity Recruitment to Triffids | Reaction Times

      • As Jeremy Taylor wrote:
        “Don’t think you can picnic on the grass.
        Public amenity my *ss!
        An’ if you want fresh air, you’ll find some over there,
        but I don’t feel inclined to let you pass
        (without a backhander…)”

  6. I hereby declare that all American institutions of higher learning now extant, and which shall hereafter be established, shall henceforth and for always adhere to the principles which govern the Higher (admittance) Law of Upstate Consolation University.

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

  7. I think Dr. Bertonneau you will appreciate this anecdote. My father and his childhood friend went to see Day of the Triffids in the theater. His friend got sick because the special effects were disgusting – can you imagine compared to what’s shown today or even in the 1980s movies?

    • The film is tame by today’s anti-standards. But the elements of the scenario are shocking: Ninety per cent of the world’s population gone blind; the cities in ruins; the omnipresent helplessness of the survivors.

  8. Dr. Bertonneau,

    The New York Times has endorsed for New York State Attorney General a candidate by the name of Zephyr Rain Teachout. Zephyr is married to someone named Nick Juliusburger. Mrs. Teachout, age 46, is apparently pregnant with her first child and will be expecting a healthy delivery about 1 month after the election.

    Parody is nearly impossible. I do not believe the above mentioned persons are aliens, much less triffids. But I do think that if aliens, after studying modernity on earth, were trying to assign one of their body snatchers a rather mundane moniker in order to better sneak upon New Yorkers, something like “Zephyr Rain Juliusburger” sounds about right.

    • In the academy she would call herself Zephyr Rain Teachout-Juliusburger. I recall eating a Juliusburger once. I think it was the Double Juliusburger with mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese.

      There’s a way of figuring these things out. Ask her whether she is a space alien. Should she answer, “I am not a space alien; I am a human being, just like you,” then she is definitely a space alien.

      Back to the Juliusburger. I am reminded of a quip that was current at Malibu Park Junior High School among Mrs. Farmer’s eighth graders when we studied the historical plays of Shakespeare. —

      “Have an orange, Julius?” — “No thanks. I just et tu Brute!”

    • Sometimes I wonder if we may be entering into an era where the total inversion of moral values will lead to news being so non-sensical that we will not know whether we are reading the front page of the Newspaper or the comedy section.

      If that spreads to the rest of society, that can be a serious issue. Imagine going to a Hospital for appendix-removal surgery to have the operation being done by a clown and the entertainment offered by the surgeon general.

  9. This is truly a progressive university that keeps itself ahead of time.

    While major victories and conquests are obtained in the field of animal rights by the new left, UCU takes things to the next level by embracing our forgotten sisters: the plants.

    No plant left behind!

  10. Professor Emeritus Sir Roland Winston Chadwick Milton Edwards Bernstein III, BSc, MSc, MPhil, PhD - Center For Research in Anthropological Sciences, and Human Intercultural Topics (CRAPSHiT) |

    Dear Prof. Bertonneau,

    For some reason, every time I hear of a Doctorate Thesis in the Liberal Arts being awarded with a “Magna Cum Laude”, what comes to my mind is the large amount of disposable hand tissues provided to the audience and the Awarding Committee during the defense.

    Enough of solitary conversations on the solitary vice.

    As one of the founding members in the Center For Research in Anthropological Sciences, and Human Intercultural Topics (CRAPSHIT), it would be my deep interest to establish an academic collaboration. May I kindly ask you to provide me with the details of the pertaining authority of the Upstate Consolation University?

    Most respectfully,

    Professor Emeritus Sir Roland Winston Chadwick Milton Edwards Bernstein III, BSc, MSc, MPhil, PhD

    • Dear Professor Bernstein:

      Having progressed beyond the Internet, UCU faculty members and administrators communicate telepathically through the medium of an aluminum foil “resistance” hat. I am sure that Technical Services at your present institution will be able to fabricate such a hat for you. Your Center for Research in Anthropological Sciences and Human Intercultural Topics seems like a natural fit for UCU collaboration. You will know that you have established communication with UCU when you feel a wave of blissful self-regard wash over you accompanied by the electric tingle of perfect conviction.

      I am most sincerely yours,

      Thomas F. Bertonneau


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