The campus co-conspirator

"Serving America's Community Colleges Since 1975"
Volume 28 · Issue 3

Hola, dudes and dudettes. With the 2002-2003 school year coming into the home stretch, college students like yourselves are asking themselves a question that's as old as higher education itself: How can I get my professor fingered as an international terrorist in time for finals?

The answer isn't as complicated as you might think. It's easier than it used to be, that's for sure. But you're going to have to start right away. As the saying goes, "Chance favors the prepared mind." (Relax, we're not going to ask you who said it. We're trying to get you out of exams, remember?)

For a photo op that'll send old Professor Klump straight into federal custody, next weekend's St. Patrick's Day celebrations are practically a corned-beef buffet of opportunities. Scope out the holiday scene at your campus pub, neighborhood wing hut, or anywhere the finest puke-green libations are sold. Sooner or later, your most hated classroom nemesis is bound to stop in for a pint or three. (They're teachers. It's what they do.) From a nearby booth, keep him under surveillance until he reaches the point of maximum suggestibility. Then casually wander over and challenge him to up his ante with a real drink -- like a flaming Sambuca milkshake, or something else good and combustible. When the order is served and the burning bevvy is in his hands, whip out your Konica and say that you want to immortalize the moment in pictures. Voila! You now have hard evidence that Mr. Dead Poets Society is actually a Molotov-hurling member of the IRA. (Note: This ruse will not be quite as effective if your instructor is of Taiwanese descent. To compensate, make sure the brim of his cardboard leprechaun hat is lowered nearly to nose level.)

To a lot of overworked kids, the USF case was a wake-up call that professors who live to shoot off their big fat mouths can be a blessing in disguise. Of course, not every blowhard with tenure is an indictment waiting to happen. Some of them can go their entire careers without saying anything politically inflammatory, the boring old poops. But if you hang around them long enough, sooner or later, they'll give you enough rope to hang them with their own words. Here's an example of an innocent, between-classes comment that's just waiting to be seized on:

"Did you kids see that Alan King special on Comedy Central last night? I just about died!"

Thanks, John Houseman. With just a slight shift of emphasis, that statement easily becomes:

"Death to Israel!"

Don't worry that your version of events is going to be disputed by another undergrad. You think anybody else is even listening to grandpa prattle on about his channel-surfing epiphanies? Please.

Some of you may think that trying to link your prof to Al Qaeda or Hamas is an overworked idea -- a scheme that's, like, so two orange alerts ago. And you may wonder how long the gravy train can roll. There just can't be that many terror cells in this country, you might well reckon. But if Tom Ridge believes it, what do you care? Also, remember that doing what everybody else is doing is practically the golden rule of collegiate life. Without the herd mentality, the American student would never have discovered the joys of downloading music illegally. Or date rape. And then where would your Friday nights be?

Do keep in mind, though, that scholastic character assassination is not a totally fair process. Those of you with at least a semester of geography under your belts will have a definite edge. When the feds ask you to identify the rogue state your prof is working for, you can stride proudly to the nearest globe, stab your finger down and announce, "Here!" (Helpful hint: Some doctoral candidates we know say that Jordan looks a lot like Montana. Point carefully.)

As a last resort, don't forget that insane killers come in domestic varieties, too. Just add a spoonful of Comet to your last financial-aid envelope and stick it in the clueless bastard's latest submission to the Journal of Applied Microbiology. Whammo! You've delivered the wily anthrax mailer into the hands of a grateful nation. Plus, keeping the "intrigue" stateside has another advantage: It's easier to pronounce. You'll sound a lot more confident declaring that your PolySci prof is actually the known fugitive, Henry Wayne Henry, than trying to tag him with one of the those wack-ass foreign names that read like a bad round of Scrabble where it's OK to use the percentage sign as a vowel. What's up with those things, anyway? Can somebody tell us?