Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Oy, my job. Have you ever had the feeling that you would enjoy working in a university environment? Well, then I recommend that you lie down until that feeling goes away. If symptoms persist, then consult the following rants for relief every four hours:

Rant the first:

September 25, 2006 was the first day of classes for the 2006-2007 academic year here at the university where I work. We operate on a quarter system, rather than a semester system. It's dumb. Anyway, I work as the program coordinator in a humanities department, which basically means that I do freakin' everything. I got this e-mail from my boss, the department head, in the afternoon of September 25th:

Oh and I have removed all names, except mine, in order to protect my ass, I mean the moronic, er, I mean the innocent....

Hi Gina,

Have you seen the Math Department’s newsletter?

http://www.university name.edu/aands/math/pdf/2006newsletter.pdf

Can we do something like this?


I just about went ape-shit in my office. There were so many things that sent me into a rage that I have to actually make a list about them:
  1. First of all, trying to open that pdf made my computer tell me to go fuck myself like 4 times. Seriously, I think an Apple IIe would have fewer difficulties with pdf files than my hunk-o-junk Dell work computer.
  2. When I managed to finally open it, I was greeted with the FUGLIEST newsletter ever created. My eyes have still not fully recovered. It was one of those tri-fold brochure kind. It had about 24 words on the entire thing. The rest of the newsletter was comprised of about 6894 pictures of random math-type people, being all old, eating bean dip while flanked by some highly embarrassed students awkwardly posing and weakly smiling.
  3. Isn't this what our departmental webpages are for? I try to update ours as much as possible (yes, yet another thing for which I am in charge) but really, that's where people should go to find out what's happening. Not wait around for some lame-ass newsletter.
  4. We don't have the correct equipment to make this happen. We have no digital camera to take pictures of our own illustrious (cough, cough) faculty eating artichoke dip and stuffed mushrooms at some random party. And I'll be damned if I'm going to bring in mine to use here. We don't have a scanner either, even though I've begged for one for the last 4 years.
  5. Of all the unmitigated gaul, does my boss not understand that I have like 50 other things to do? Apparently.
So I considered writing back one of the following responses:
  1. If by "we" you mean "me," then the answer is no.
  2. So in between working on the course schedule for us, the Evening college, and the African-American studies program; managing the budget; managing the work-study students; dealing with faculty issues; academic advising; purchasing and billing; updating the webpage; implementing the Web project for the graduate program's symposium; devising the travel money spreadsheet for you, updating our minor brochure; organizing final exam requests; compiling last year's teaching information for each faculty individually; and planning a "welcome back" wine & cheese party, I suppose I can CREATE A NEWSLETTER.
However, I thought the better of it, and chose to ignore my boss. But I mean, WTF?

Rant the second:

I was a good, personally motivated, responsible college student. Maybe I should stop right here and not even post the rest because I'm sure you all know where I am going. Well...what the hell....

As I mentioned in "Rant the First," the start of the quarter was on September 25. Some of our courses are much more popular than other courses, as one might expect. Well one course in particular is both very popular
and it's a requirement for several programs of study university-wide. This is problematic because we have only 3 faculty who teach that particular course. Therefore, we can only offer a limited number of sections, and some of them we have to restrict to certain majors. The insanity goes on and on.... It's a headache. So basically there was a day section (01) on MWF from 10:00-11:00 am, and a night section (81) on M from 6:00-9:00 pm of this one course, which I will call CRAP 101. Ok, so CRAP 101-01, the day section, was restricted for only one major, which I will call LAME.

Got that? CRAP 101-01, MWF 10:00-11:00 am, restricted to LAME students. Ok. Let's continue.

Well, someone from the Dean's office contacted me about 2 weeks before the start of the school year, begging me to add another section of CRAP 101 during the day. Like I can just snap my fingers and make it happen. There are so many regulations that I have to follow with the Registrar's office in order to add a course that it will make your head spin. One such rule is that at such a late juncture, I have to provide a list of actual students who will be enrolled in the course, or else they won't add it to the schedule of courses. So we have this handy-dandy database that will generate a list of all the students who attempted to enroll in a course but were locked out for one reason or another. Well, I generated that list for CRAP 101-01, and to my horror, discovered that 79 non-LAME students all tried to get into CRAP 101-01. Crap, indeed.

So I sent all those poor, rejected 79 students this e-mail:


You are receiving this e-mail because you attempted to register for CRAP 101-01 for the coming Fall term and could not.

The Registrar will allow the Department to open another section of CRAP 101, provided that we can fill the course. We will offer the course on the same days and times as the restricted section that you were locked out of (M W F 1000-1100).

Therefore, in order for this new section of CRAP 101 to be added to the schedule, I need your help! If you still would like to take CRAP 101 this Fall, and want to be added to the new section, please send me a reply to this message with your full name and student number no later than Thursday, 9/14/2006.

Many thanks!

So, I thought that was pretty clear. And, indeed, I received 22 responses from students wanting to be added to CRAP 101-02. The course was created, I added the students. Great. Super.

The Fall term begins. A few days later, I get a call from a student --- very angry --- wondering why he/she was moved out of CRAP 101-81 (evening section) and put into a day section. So I check my e-mails. That student responded to my e-mail, indicating that they wanted to be moved into the new section of CRAP 101. I call the student back, who, by the way, has now missed a week's worth of classes because he/she "didn't know which class to go to." HELLO? YOU GO TO THE CLASS YOU ARE REGISTERED FOR. PLEASE READ YOUR COURSE ROSTER. Anyway, I digress. I called the student.

Basically, the student actually tried to convince me that:
I did something wrong by moving them
b) he/she
never attempted to register for the 01 section (which is impossible because the computer database DOESN'T LIE; students, on the other hand, DO)
c) the wording of my e-mail was not clear
d) he/she thought that I meant that he/she
had to be moved into a new section for some unknown reason. (And, indeed, the student also tried to make-up a reason on the spot and claimed that it was in my e-mail)
e) that the new class would be at the same time as the class he/she was registered for: CRAP 101-81 on M evenings. (Even though I clearly say MWF 1000-1100).

Huh? WTF? There is no way in HELL that my e-mail could be interpreted that way, even if a retarded lemur on crack was making the interpretation. About halfway through our conversation, I think the student realized that the problem was with
them because they backed down a little when I dictated the e-mail over the phone. Still, because I am a nice person, I managed to get the student back into the evening section, citing a "miscommunication" as the cause. The Registrar's office didn't give me a hard time about it. Whew.


The saga of CRAP 101-02 continues and the misinterpretations get worse, as you will see. Today I got an e-mail from the professor of CRAP 101-81, the evening section. All it said was, "Is this correct?" And there was an attachment of an e-mail that the professor received from a student. I immediately began to sharpen the tips of my trident as I opened the attachment. Here it is. Oh and I only changed the name of the professor, the student and the title of the course. Everything else is EXACTLY as the professor received it:

Mr. Professor,

my name is major idiot douchebag i am scheculed to be in your monday night CRAP 101-81 i recieved a notice in my email from a Gina Xxxxxx the class was cancelled. i was wondering if i was misinformed and if so i have missed two classes as of yesterday. is there any chance for my to catch up at this point or should i drop the class? i would rather not drop it, so if there's any was i can make up please let me know.

thanks for you consideration

Major Idiot Douchebag

So...yeah...I know. Where do I begin? First of all, the word 'cancelled' never appeared in my e-mail at all. I also never mentioned CRAP 101-81, the evening section. This student did not respond to my e-mail, so I assumed they didn't want the new class, and therefore, I never changed their registration. Remember the retarded lemur on crack? Ok, well the above interpretation can only be derived by a retarded lemur on crack who has epilepsy, and has blinded itself with a spoon. I mean DUR-HAY. Seriously. I was so blinded by rage that I could barely speak, which was probably a good thing at the time. So I wrote the professor back:

No, it is not correct. I can show you the e-mail that I sent out to the students.

I wish students would learn how to read beyond a 4th-grade level
before entering college, I really do.


So now you understand what a day at work is like for me. Now just picture this kind of insanity happening, oh, about 4-5 times a day. See? Doesn't your job just look all peaches-and-cream now?

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