Airing of Grievances: Breaking up with Dean Woodley

Gabe Darley, Staff Writer

two hearts crying around a letter with broken hearts on the envelope
It might be heartbreaking, but it’s time to break up with the Dean. (Gabe Darley)

Dear Erica,

Hey, girl! So great to hear from you yet again.

Things sure have been crazy this semester. All these new rules and guidelines can make things pretty confusing, so this email is primarily to say “Thank you!” for the semi-daily messages you’ve been cramming into my inbox. Not sure how I would stay sane without my phone constantly buzzing out yet another of your Outlook notifications!

As much as I absolutely love to be berated and condescended to on a daily basis, I actually write you today with a heavy heart and a rather unfortunate request: I would like to withdraw my name from your subscribers list.

I know that this decision might seem out of left field! Please know, it is the combination of many factors, not the least of which are: eye fatigue, phone-buzz numbness, inability to read your name without passing out, etc.

However, I have taken the liberty of putting together a small “greatest hits” showcase of my favorite memories that we’ve shared throughout the past months. Without further ado, they are as follows:

1. “You have likely seen colleges across the country forced to reverse their opening decisions. In most cases, this can be tracked directly to an off-campus student party/super-spreader event.” — Fall 2020 Updates & Reminders, 08/21/20

Yes, colleges across the country, who have jeopardized entire cities by reopening their doors to ensure their tuition money was paid in full, could own up to that and make the decision to close for the good of their communities. But the optics of that are horrible! It would mean an admission of misjudgment! You very effectively took control of that narrative and reversed the blame from administration to students here. An Oscar-worthy performance.

2. “There is a lot of skepticism and anxiety throughout our campus community about our students’ ability to make decisions focused on the well-being of our community … We are putting a lot of faith in you because we know that you can do this. Please continue to hold yourselves — and each other — accountable.” — Preparing for Fall 2020, 08/14/20

Who else could simultaneously trash-talk and pretend to uplift an entire student body? Were you born between May 21 and June 20? This is some grade-A Gemini behavior! Another victorious moment in the ongoing battle to relieve administration of all agency. I know for a fact this line had students quaking with fear!

3. “People are watching.” — Fall 2020 Updates & Reminders, 08/21/20

I have to say, the social shame tactic is a bold choice for an email sent to the entire student body. Scare us into submission! Who are these spies and what information about me have you given them? Regardless, I’m definitely wearing my mask! Loved this energy.

4. Guest Star Dean Lee Skinner: “Your instructors are expecting to see you in person in their classes and can mark you absent if you don’t show up in person without a documented reason. Your fellow students are also looking forward to seeing you and to engaging with you in the classroom.”  — NTC Class Attendance Policy, 08/27/20

I love the urgency here. Although some have criticized this hot take from Skinner as “wildly out-of-touch” and symptomatic of “delusions of grandeur,” I would like to commend her for this line. As a student absolutely desperate to see my peers physically in class, I think this accurately captures the Christmas Eve-like excitement I feel every time I go to bed knowing that I will wake up able to walk to calculus and feel Jacob’s feet on my chair, Eddie’s hot breath on the back of my neck and the full force of Jessica’s nervous leg shaking as it vibrates the entire classroom floor. There is really nothing else with which to compare it.

5. “Dear Student,”

I have to say, reading this intro at the top of every letter is really the icing on top of the cake. It reminds me of my existence as a statistic on this campus! I think the act of not calling tech support to figure out how to personalize the letter to say my name at the top, like every other adult of the 21st century has done, speaks volumes. Put me in my place! Let me know that I’m disposable!

In fairness, I’d like to address something you might be thinking, Erica: I had the choice to opt for online school! Yes, this was a great option, with only a fraction of the class options available to me and a ban from on-campus employment included free of charge. I only wish I was as clever as you.

Anyway, I’d like you to think of this montage as the epitaph on the grave of our relationship. To put it plainly, we’re over. It’s not me. It’s, completely and 100%, you.

It’s been fun!*


Student / Statistic

*Extremely annoying

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