My dear students, faculty, and members of the Fordham community:
Everybody stop what you’re doing right now. Put down your books, cease your lectures, halt whatever it is that miscellaneous community members do. It’s time for us to all come together and grieve.
This morning, as I am sure you are all aware, the US News and World Report released their 2019 college rankings. While last year, Fordham experienced the unfortunate decline from #60 to #61, nothing could have prepared our delicate Jesuit hearts for today’s bombshell. Our dear mother Fordham, the bosom of learning from whose teets we all lovingly suckle, is in a six-way tie at the abysmal ranking of #70. Take a moment to step away from your digital devices and cry, if you need to. I will understand.
I know that this news must come as a shock to all of you. But this is beyond shocking. This is downright nauseating. Seeing our beloved university ranked alongside the lackluster institutions of Florida State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Pittsburgh is an insult to both the hallowed halls of Fordham University at Rose Hill, and the adequately dry-walled singular hall of Fordham University at Lincoln Center.
There must have been some mistake. Fordham will not stand for this level of disrespect. We are so much better than that.
So we at Fordham University are releasing a rebuttal to the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Let’s go through the list of forgettable schools with which we were so unrighteously paired, and explain how the rankers misjudged.
2. University of California at Santa Cruz
In a similar case to Florida State, the rankers were simply confused by the similar sounding names of UC Santa Cruz’s provost, Marlene Tromp, and the highly unpopular president who may or may not have briefly attended our university, Donald Trump. Tromp, Trump, Tromp, Trump, they’re basically the same, it’s no wonder there was a mixup!
While I am justly disappointed at the rankers’ mixing up Tromp and Trump, I can understand how that error occurred. But what I do not understand, my fellow rams, is how the rankers can look themselves in the eye this morning knowing that they ranked sumptuous Fordham on the same level as those slugs. Don’t think I’m being insulting, fellow rams. I’m serious. Their official mascot is “Sammy the Slug.” Disgusting. We are most regal and dignified Rams. We have lovingly killed over 21 real Ramses the Rams in our impressive 177 years as an educational institution; how do such impressive stats still put us on the same level as slugs?
Are slugs the answer? Do slugs determine the rankings? Should we incorporate more slugs into the core curriculum? Into the very fabric of our school culture and society? More slug students? More slug athletes? More slug speakers! MORE SLUG… ME!!!
WE MUST BECOME THE SLUGHAM SLUGIVERSITY SLUGS, AND ONE YEAR FROM THIS VERY DAY, WE WILL RANK HIGHER ON THE CHARTS!!! YOU WILL ALL SEE!!!
3. University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Now this one was quite the hilarious “Switcheroo,” as the kids say. I cannot stop laughing. Surely this is all a joke, one big joke, and none of this is real.
The good youth of the U.S. News and World Report were surely exhausted after poring over the endless data sets and statistics of seemingly endless universities. As a result, their tired eyes were suddenly blinded by the sheer, overwhelming whiteness of both the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and our dearest, most beloved Fordham University, in both the racial makeup of our student bodies and the literal whiteness of our mascots -- the Minutemen and Ram, respectively -- that they could simply not see straight and mistakenly assigned us a ranking 20, no, 30, no, 69 spots below what we would have originally been assigned. It is a shame, but alas, this is a problem that we just are not equipped to ever solve.
4. Stevens Institute of Technology
The rankers were simply confused by the male to female ratios of our respective institutions, because their ratio -- about 70% students are male and 30% are female -- is exactly the same as Lincoln Center’s except reversed! As we all know, the rankers only see numbers but can’t discern between women and men (because they are, as well all know, 100% equal in rights and earnings and power and everything but the Church), so they saw our similar numbers and thusly assumed that we were in fact the same institution! MEN AND WOMEN ARE THE SAME. GENITALIA IS A LIE -- at least, I think that’s the case for slugs. Can you tell a female slug apart from a male? Slugs are the answer, they are the future, they are… everything.
5. University of Pittsburgh
The explanation for this mistake, like the cavernous womb of our slugging, I mean, loving mother, Fordham, is goo, excuse me, two-fold. The first fold is of course that the rankers were confused that both of our institutions have inslugnificant branch campuses that no one seems to care about -- for Pitt there’s Pitt Bradford, Greensburg, Johnslug, and Titusville, and for our dearest Fordham there is of course Westslugster and Lincoln Center.
The labia minora of this explanation is, of course, that both of our mascots, the Pittsburgh Panther and the Fordham Ram, are both animals, and not slugs.
There is only one thing we can do, Fordham, to solve today’s issues. We must infiltrate our supposed equal universities. We must become the slugs we fear. It is the only way. The transformation begins: now.
The process has begun. I wish you all the best in your metamorphoses. Ad mayorum Dei slugoriam, Rams. Until we meet again.
Joseph M. McShane, Jr.
Rather than go home to spend time with his friends and family who love him unconditionally, Tony Popper (FCLC ’21) decided to stay in the city for the summer.
“Sure, I would’ve liked to go home,” said Popper, “but I had a sick job offer for the summer, and I just couldn’t say ‘No,’ you know? Like, it’s New York City—I’m living in the place of my dreams.”
Popper worked as a Wag! dog walker, and lived in the McMahon dorm building with his three roommates: Michelangelo the theatre major, Miguel the theatre minor, and Marvin the musical theatre enthusiast. They were up all hours of the day and night in order to perfect their “craft.”
“I’m living my dream… I chose this life,” Popper continued, with a faraway glint in his eyes.
When asked what he did with his spare time, Popper explained that he liked to travel deep into the wilderness of Central Park where he “can sob in as close to solitude as one can get in New York City.” Then, the excited Popper exclaimed, he spent hours thinking about how he “never went on any Wag! walks, because if I’m being honest, I am kind of intimidated by dogs. Also, all of my friends were home in Westchester for the summer. Also, the Gilmore Girls reboot was such a letdown.”
“I’m good, I’m fine! Forreal, my dudes!” Popper exclaimed, even though no one asked.
Before publication, Popper checked with us multiple times to make sure that we had only read one dog-eared page of his journal that he sent us. It talks about how much he loved staying at Fordham for summer session. Each time Wag! is mention, more exclamation points follow. There are also small smears on the page that Popper insists are from “excitement tears.”
While Frederick J. Wertz, Ph.D. leads Fordham College at Lincoln Center into the 2018-2019 academic year, the Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J., Ph.D., will spend more time with his model train collection.
“As a passionate collector of model trains, I’ve rarely gotten the opportunity to enjoy my hobby in the past two decades,” Grimes told The Bystander in a recent interview, while he tinkered with his new Atlas HO Scale GE B30-7 CSX locomotive.
Grimes is the longest-serving dean at Fordham, having led FCLC since 1997. During that time, he strove to instill students with a love for model railroading, a goal which he hopes to continue in his time as dean emeritus.
“Model railroading is not just a hobby,” Grimes said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
While Grimes said that he was “happy” with the new majors and minors launched during his tenure and “impressed” by the dramatic increase in student enrollment he oversaw, he was disappointed that some of his more ambitious projects were never implemented. They included a sprawling model railroad layout to occupy the location of the old Quinn library, and founding the Department of Model Railroad Studies.
“I’ve loved my time as a dean, but how am I supposed to be satisfied with overseeing the successful transformation of an entire campus if my students still don’t appreciate the royal hum of a shiny HO model speeding through the hallowed halls?” Grimes lamented as he fiddled with his Walthers model of Alaska Railroad engine #1202.
While the longtime dean of FCLC still has a year ahead to plan, he has already begun to prepare for his research sabbatical in 2019-2020. He intends to spend it touring the roundhouses and short lines of rural Ohio to find inspiration for his next layout. “It’s been my dream to see the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek,” Grimes said, wiping a tear from his eye as he packed up boxes of Athearn catalogs and back issues of Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman.
As an avid model railroader himself, the newly appointed Dean Wertz agreed with Grimes’ goals for the years ahead of him.
“We’re just looking out for what’s best for the trains,” Wertz said, sporting a shirt from the 2012 Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive anniversary event in Spencer, North Carolina. “Whatever helps the trains, helps Fordham.”