With furloughed employees recently returning to their jobs now that the shutdown has come to an end, and America struggling to return to a semblance of normality, few would expect a new shutdown to be looming on the horizon. But, in December, our Winter of Discontent, the Swarthmore Board of Directors is reconvening to discuss divestment. Mountain Justice, the student group leading the divestment campaign and the campaign against mountaintop removal, has been putting pressure on the board to divest. If the two cannot reach a compromise, then an emergency order goes into effect: funding will be pulled from different groups and services, especially those deemed non-essential.
Although speculations are running rampant, no one knows for sure what services will be pulled if the shutdown goes into effect. Most students seem to suspect that shuttle funding will be pulled first, leaving residents of Mary Lyon, PPR, and Strath Haven to their own devices. The residents of those dorms had little to say, only that they wouldn’t stand, much less walk, for it. “If the shuttles are cancelled, then it can be fully expected that many of the residents will develop an us-versus-them mentality in respect to non-residents due to a psychological process known as cognitive dissonance,” said a freshman who scored a three on the AP Psych exam. What can be expected with absolute certainty, is that ML and PPR residents are going to get shit about it all week, as though the residents don’t already know that living in those dorms is bad enough.
There is also speculation that the sports programs will be shut down, about which most students seem to be apathetic. This would also close Ware Pool, which would mean and end to the swimming test requirement, making the upcoming freshman classes more susceptible to drowning in their own tears. Proponents of defunding sports teams argue that they are an unnecessary expenditure for a college such as Swarthmore, while opponents argue against defunding on the grounds that it would leave the fencing, rugby, and ultimate Frisbee teams with nothing to do except hook up at Paces. The student radio station, WSRN, is also likely to be affected as they haven’t reported more than a single listener since they instituted their no hotboxing rule.
There is no word as of yet on whether the fraternities and sororities will be defunded, because no one in the administration possesses the tri-co student IDs required to get inside the frats and shut them down. It has been suggested that a student lackey of the administration could go in first to see what mark the frats are using that night, and then meet up with an administrator and copy that mark onto his or her hand. But the last time this plan was attempted Rebecca Chop ended up waiting outside the frat houses all night, only to see the lowly student she had hired leave drunkenly with a Bryn Mawr girl.
Insiders claim that Sharples is also likely to be defunded, although they made it clear that this was not due to the budget problem but to an overall lack of interest. Luckily for truth and journalism, the Phoenix and Daily Gazette are not under threat of being shut down, partially due to the immense distractions they serve to the community at large, but mostly due to the fact that their writers, reporters, photographers, and editors aren’t paid.