Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Dean of Admissions, Jim Bach, known to brag to reporters who visit his office that he has “the sickest effing job in the world” has been working on pretending like he’s just a regular guy. Bach, who until recently referred to himself as “the Decider,” is known for swaggering around campus pointing out students and saying “I’m the only reason you got into this place,” before pounding fists and shouting, “Bam!”
Jim Bach acknowledges that this swagger gets in the way of his work. “Sometimes I’m so eager to show what a bamf I am, that I let in students who really don’t deserve to get in, just to flex my massive institutional biceps.” After saying this he flexed his impressively toned, if not massive, actual biceps.
Jim Bach’s wife, Mrs. Bach, says that Jim’s arrogance has taken a toll on their marriage.
“For a while,” Mrs. Bach said, “He would go around the house saying things like, ‘I’m the decider and we’re having pasta for dinner. If I can let in a unicyclist with a 2.8 GPA, I can decide we’re not eating that shitty pseudo-Thai tofu dish with the gloppy peanut sauce tonight.’ I would just be like, chill, baby.”
Bach says these are problems he is working on for the sake of his career and his marriage. He attributes the “meteoric success” he has experienced in his career “from a kid who barely made it into Swarthmore, to the effing Decider himself” to a hard work ethic and humility that he is struggling to rediscover. Students and faculty have begun to notice Dean Bach’s increasing ineffectiveness.
“Every freshman class gets dumber and parties harder than the last one,” said Swarthmore student Heidi Ger ’12. Bach acknowledges that he could do a better job focusing on his job and ensuring that only qualified students are admitted, but argues that his unique “take-no-prisoners” approach to admissions had led to the most diverse student body Swarthmore has had on record.
“Swarthmore admitted its first porn star into the class of 2017,” Bach said. “And she does it all — gay, straight, you name it. Lots of schools have bullshit admissions directors who pay lip service to the idea of diversity. But me? I breathe diversity.”
President Rebecca Chop is struggling to deal with the “Bach situation” especially after his high-profile fight at an academic luncheon with Dean Braun, where he rapped that she was “a nothing a nobody / a chick filled with perfidy.” Chop said, “Bach, when he’s on, is the best we’ve got. There’s not another admissions director in the nation who would have seen the potential of that kid from New Mexico who wrote an entire admissions essay about wanting to study biology after getting stoned and watching platypus rut. But now that kid is on a Fulbright in Australia getting stoned and watching platypus rut.”
The trade-off for the Board is determining whether Bach’s occasional brilliance is sufficient to make up for how impossible it is to work with him. “Sometimes I dream of having a steadier Dean of Admissions,” allowed Chop, after recounting a story of the time when Bach told her that last year had more applicants than any other year by peeing “FUCK YEAH BACH BOMB!!!” on Swarthmore stationary and hand-delivering it to her office.
When told of the President’s concerns, Bach agreed, again, that he had work to do. “I know, I know. I’m tamping down on being me. I’m keeping my cool, just working on being a regular guy with an admittedly neat job.” He has pledged to no longer refer to himself as “The Decider.”