February 4, 2005
To all members of the Macalester Community, I’m writing to inform you of some changes that you may have already noticed within our community. Through my tenure as president here, I have attempted to present myself as a straight talker, I hope that this letter will be understood as an example of my ongoing commitment to open dialogue and civic discourse.
You are all probably aware of some changes we’ve had to make in the college’s admissions policies in order to preserve Macalester’s financial stability in these trying economic times. Unfortunately, the end of need-blind admissions is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Effective immediately, Spring 2005 classes are being postponed indefinitely due to diversion of funds to (what we hoped would be) more lucrative endeavors. In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to offer the community several examples of where, upon abandoning what was an already shaky commitment to liberal ideals in higher education, we’ve found it appropriate to place our funds:
My salary: According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the total compensation received by my predecessor was $363,117. I can only imagine I earn more than this, given basic cost-of-living increases; I will disclose this salary pending computation by Danny Kaplan. I’m just an English major; I can’t count that high.
My house, which was purchased for me at an untold cost by the college last summer. You’ve probably seen it, sitting on the comer of Summit and Fry, though I imagine few have you have actually been in it – in the cutthroat environment of college fundraising, only the highrollers get that privilege. In fact, it’s a college policy that the only non-millionaires allowed in the house are the caterers and other house servants, who frankly could never make enough money to compensate for the abuse heaped upon them by my wife Carol. In any event, the house was fully renovated in the past year (the roof alone cost over $200,000), and includes a large yard and a three-car garage, which gives me space for storage, accommodating my family’s unused belongings nicely around our luxury SUVs. According to David “Wheaton, one of the benefits of the house, besides the fact that it is enormous, is that it “provides more flexibility for housing a president’s family.” Trust me – my wife and I have needs you can’t even begin to understand.
Those large blow-up dolls outside my inaugural party last spnng. I can’t explain their purpose either, except to say that they are the marker of a high-class institution. You may notice that size seems to be a common thread in my tenure at this institution – big salary, big house, big phallic symbols outside the Campus Center – but I assure you I am not in anyway overcompensating for personal insecurities. In conclusion, I apologize for any financial missteps that may have been taken by me or any other such overcompensated (that is, overpaid) college administrator. To assuage your concerns, let me assure you that Danny Kaplan is designing a plan to get the college running again; our target time for this is Fall 2005. Once classes restart, you may notice some subtle changes in classroom demographics and, commensurate with this, classroom dynamics. Increasingly, Macalester is being populated by the kinds of pnvate- school East Coast children of wealth (such as myself) who are your least favorite classroom co-constituents, dominating discussion to the detriment of others in the room not of similarly privileged backgrounds. By the time classes start again, these students will be the only ones talking, because they’ll comprise the bulk of the class more than they already do. The important distinction will be that not only do they think they own the world, they now have full institutional support behind them. As a college, Macalester has made a strong statement in favor of the entrenchment of class privilege. They have been emboldened; you have been silenced.
Lastly, my administration is in the planning stages for a new fundraising organization we intend to call the Rosenburglars; the purpose of this committee will be to raise money that will go straight into my own bank account. Once I have a sufficient amount, I intend to try to use it to buy back my soul.
Your devoted President,
Brian Brian Rosenberg