A modest presidential proposal

Bryan Alexander
2 min readSep 17, 2021

My blogging has been slow these past few weeks. My apologies. The reasons include starting up fall semester, finishing the new book, and dealing with multiple family health crises. Hopefully we’ll be past all of these soon.

In the meantime, allow me to offer a barbed entertainment.

A former college president offers a finely satirical column in yesterday’s Inside Higher Ed, and I’d like to recommend it. The target: campuses refusing to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or masks, citing individual choice. The conceit: extending this principle to other issues.

Brian Rosenberg begins by establishing the theme, quoting and linking to presidents in Georgia who’ve made this argument. He also jabs at campuses which don’t take the decision or the crisis seriously:

[T]his decision, I assure you, was made after considerable thought and extensive consultation with several people I know…

Please know that we take the current pandemic seriously. We have acquired 60,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, several dozen COVID tests and enough masks for everyone on campus to wear one, in the event that they choose to do so.

Then he cuts loose:

Some have complained that our pandemic-related policies are inconsistent with other long-standing, freedom-restricting policies on campus, and I want to assure you that your voices have been heard. Effective immediately, therefore, I am making the following changes to campus guidelines and offices.

Smoking will now be allowed in all campus residence halls and classroom buildings. I hope that people will not smoke in those spaces, and I myself will not do so. But the decision to smoke and to assume the risks of smoking is, in the end, a deeply personal one, and it seems inappropriate to mandate that members of our community not smoke when and where they choose.

Do read the rest. It’s dark, fierce, and funny. Appropriate for a Charles Dickens scholar.

(cross-posted to my blog)

Bryan Alexander

Futurist, speaker, writer, educator. Author of the FTTE report, UNIVERSITIES ON FIRE, and ACADEMIA NEXT. Creator of The Future Trends Forum.