The three months since October 30th, 2018, when students received an email from Director of Public Safety Michael Hill about a campus security incident, have been filled with apprehensive anxiety. This terrible nervousness was finally ended a few days ago when Interim Dean of Students Jim Terhune made public his reaction to Michael Hill’s email, in a response to the entire student body.
Hill’s October email of “a concern involving a non-Swarthmore individual” elicited a unanimous reaction among the entire student body: namely, how would Dean Terhune respond to this news? Unfortunately this pressing question would go unanswered for the next fifteen weeks, until Dean Terhune finally revealed his long awaited answer a few days ago in reply to the entire school, which read “Thanks, Mike. This looks good to me.”
The weeks of silence that preceded this recent fortunate development were difficult for most students, who wanted nothing more than to know Terhune’s opinion on the matter. “I was jittery all day. On edge. I’d try to take my mind off of it but I just couldn’t,” said Blane Philip ’20. “I spent most of the time since that fateful October day sitting in Kohlberg’s coffee bar, refreshing my inbox every ten seconds just waiting for that email from Dean Terhune.”
Katey Church ’21 had a similarly harrowing experience over these last few months. “It was especially difficult near the end of the semester,” said Katey, “because not only was I stressed for finals, I was also stressed about how Dean Terhune would respond to that email that Mike Hill sent.” Speaking in further detail on how this waiting period affected her significantly, Katy explained, “the worst part was not knowing when it would come. If I knew he’d send the email on a particular date I could at least count down the days, mark my calendar, make a game of it.” Katy said. “But I had no idea when it would come, I didn’t even know for sure if it would come at all.”
“I’ve lost a lot of sleep over this,” said first-year Zane Gallegos. “My sleep schedule is bad enough already between my social life, my extracurriculars, and my schoolwork, but it was even worse because I would consistently stay up in bed for hours wondering how Dean Terhune would respond to Mike’s email, hoping that we’d know soon.” Zane continued, saying, “I kept my phone right next to my bed so I could check my inbox right before I went to sleep and first thing when I’d wake up in the morning.”
Dr. David Ramirez, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, says that CAPS saw an increase in the number of students seeking help for paralyzing worries caused by the uncertainty about Dean Terhune’s response to Michael Hill’s email. “This was a difficult period for us. Existing staffing issues were only further exacerbated by this terrible phenomenon. I’ll admit, we were unprepared to deal with such a situation.” Dr. Ramirez added, “It was unprecedented, both in scale and in severity. I am not saying this as an excuse for our inadequate preparation, I fully believe that we should have done better.” Dr. Ramirez ended on an optimistic note, concluding, “This has been a learning experience for us. I am confident that in the future if, for example, President Valerie Smith neglects to publicly respond to an email from Martin Warner about add/drop period ending, we will be fully equipped to deal with the masses of students that will surely come to Worth Health Center seeking assistance dealing with the situation.”
With Dean Terhune’s response finally known, the mood on campus has abruptly shifted from omnipresent distress to palpable euphoria. Elated students gathered on Parrish Beach, collected in the Amphitheater, reveled in Sci Quad, and came together in Wharton Courtyard to celebrate the arrival of the long awaited email. “It’s just such a relief, such a release!” exclaimed senior Jessica Hills. “This long, dark period of our lives is ending, all uncertainty is dispelled, the future is bright.” In between keg stands in Worth Courtyard, Korey Barron ’20 displayed a similar sentiment, saying, “It’s just so good to finally know, you know. Everything is good. Jim approves. That’s all I ever wanted to know.”
Though Dean Terhune’s words were few, expert analysts have been quick to point out that they are not at all lacking in meaning. “These seven words are actually packed with information, though that might not be visible to the average consumer of this literature,” explained a professor in the English department. “Right from the first words, ‘Thanks, Mike,’ we can understand that Dean Jim Terhune has an incredibly close relationship with Michael Hill. So close in fact that he offers his gratitude with the contracted ‘Thanks’ instead of the more formal ‘Thank you,’ which is then followed by a direct address to him in the vocative case, using Michael Hill’s nickname ‘Mike’ instead of his actual first name. Simply fascinating.” The professor continued the analysis, adding, “The meat and potatoes of this statement is that ‘This’ looks good to Dean Terhune. The meaning of this definite article is not immediately evident from the words themselves. In order to find out what Dean Terhune is referring to, one must look back all the way to October 30th, 2018, when Michael Hill sent out an email to the entire school about a public safety incident. Just absolutely captivating.”
Dean Terhune has yet to respond to a request for comment on this article. It is, however, reasonable to predict that he will in fact offer a valuable and thoughtful reply sometime in April, or at least before the end of the semester.
*Editor’s Note: This piece is satire