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Little birdies (actually some Angry Birdies – they are among the few kids who are full-pay students) have informed me in recent days:

(1) My truth-seeking university is close to “banning the bottle.” Yes, they are going to make the sale of bottled water illegal on campus. How long until they send the Green Gestapo into my classroom to “exercise their free speech rights” by protesting my continued use of Dasani? When the college likely makes this additional concession to the 4 kids who are interested in seeing this happen (do you really think any students are being asked if this is a bad idea, or if there is a regular constituency of students on the perpetual lookout for these things so that they may defend them?) I will actually support it. But I will then ask the college to be serious and then ban anything that has a worse environmental impact than water bottles. And I will ask them if they ever asked if banning water bottles achieves any goal they are setting out – such as reducing landfill space, reducing pollution, and so on. And god forbid that I then ask if this is a reasonably economical way to achieve those goals, assuming they are met.

Banning the bottle. If it didn’t reveal the totalitarian instincts of people who just “don’t like some stuff” I’d be laughing pretty hard. But we end up convincing these folks that banning bottles and choices is the right way to execute policy, and if a bunch of 19 year olds can convince a university to do something like this, why are any of us surprised that when they graduate at age 22 they think they are entitled to run the world? We are a private organization of course, so we can ban just about anything we want. I am 100% sure that the folks who support this ban also support the right of Augusta National Golf Club to maintain their membership rules as they exist today, right?

(2) Another particularly angry birdie confirms our earlier understanding of how spending works around campus. Just like part of my faculty funding “goes away” if I don’t spend it all by the end of the year (hence encouraging wasteful spending and short-term spending focus) there are far larger portions of the university that work this way. I have learned that there is virtually a blank check for many things students just say they want and that it is pretty laughable that I even try to ask questions like, “does this make sense on the grounds you claim it does.” Going back to Eco-Bench, spending $11,500 for the thing is sort of like spare change laying around in your pocket – no reason to spend time even thinking about it, just like when you are on a road trip and stop in the convenience store and grab armfuls of snacks. A few people asked for it, we already spend millions of dollars a week on things like this, it is easy to put a pretty green sticker on it, and so it gets purchased. I cannot believe I was stupid enough to think the world worked otherwise.

5 Responses to “This Week on Your College Campus”

  1. Alex says:

    I hope for the sake of my sanity (and yours) that this “banning the bottle” idea is only a sick April Fool’s joke. Maybe I should propose a ban of all classroom assignments since homework and essays and quizzes and exams constitute anti-green behavior in the killing of lots of trees.
    You know, I think the university takes its Green policies more seriously than its Academic Honesty policies.

  2. Harry says:

    So they are banning the SALE of bottled water? This is symbolism to the nth degree, denying the university revenue for the $1.50 twelve-ounce bottle bought by the people who forgot to pack their own. They at least smart enough not to ban consumption of a product that is legal to be consumed. Had they banned consumption of bottled water, it would have been consumed wherever illegal drugs, especially pills, are consumed, to wash them down. I am sure that is not Rizzo’s classroom or office.

    Can we expect with this ban on bottled water sales a black market in water, with big trades in the library stacks?

  3. Rod says:

    Alex, please tell me what Academic Honesty policies are. Are we talking about cheating and an honor system here, or are we talking about honesty in the classroom, faculty club and athletic department? (As in not giving lassix and butazolidin to the track team?)

    Those plastic bottles are really great for starting fires in a woodstove. Lots of BTU’s!

    I think it is now politically incorrect to use a re-fillable water bottle because of some plastic substance used in the seals for the bottles. Causes autism in freshmen, something like that.

  4. Ernald says:

    Don’t worry, I have a feeling that if anyone ever proposed the suggestion: “Let’s go protest Rizzo!” They’d be met with the general response of “who?”

  5. Speedmaster says:

    Could you expand more on what is meant by “full-pay” students? That little nugget piqued my curiosity.

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