“Any student who mentions the email will be put in isolation for 40 days,” threatened Khosla.
Photo by Robin Brewin
This past Saturday, a private meeting to discuss improvements to campus life and student mental health in the coming Fall Quarter was met with irritation rising from the reported “callousness” of the administration’s approach.
According to the publicly available video recording, only around 10 of the scheduled 120 minutes were taken up by UCSD-centric news — 10 minutes which also allowed for both greetings, audio calibrations, and every single one of the scheduled board of members to show up eight minutes late. In the recording of the Zoom meeting, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla could be seen with a background depicting the UCLA Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, luxuriating on an ergonomically plush chair like an “indolent boy-king”.
At one point, Khosla asked for any ideas on how to make UCSD more student-friendly in “these uncertain times.” Around the 15-second mark of total silence, Khosla spoke up, asking, “Anything? Anything? These kids are living in a world marked by rigid rules, an uncaring, selfish populace, and total uncertainty as to what regular college life could look like, being so far removed from regular university life. Their lives will forever be changed by these events: the scars they’ll have from this, the trauma they’ll face — oh wait.”
The dialogue was interrupted by Khosla’s alarm going off, to which he responded, “Oh, actually, I have a meeting with my contractor soon about a peace garden installation for my beautiful, large mansion overlooking the La Jolla coast — I’ve been so stressed recently thinking about how we can open a new college instead of making a parking lot. Smell ya later.” Khosla then immediately left the meeting, allowing for no questions about his newfound catchphrase.
After 15 minutes of reticent discussion, a decision was made to completely eradicate any and all mention of COVID-19 and related words. This then posed a problem to many, as, according to one official, “UCSD is filled with words like ‘unprecedented, positive, spread, cough, sick, medicine, health, tired, bad, sad, lonely, college, classes, finals, essay, success, failure, future, job, mortgage, taxes, and memories,’ which all seem to be connected in some way to the horrible events of the past year and a half, which we all agreed to avoid.” There was some question on whether or not these words would be censored or just deleted entirely, but the email regarding the meeting had disrupted the servers so much with newly forbidden language that the entire email chain created an accidental subroutine which deleted every email poised to send for the next two weeks.
Students who failed to receive these emails did not notice. “What, you think I’m checking my emails?” said fourth-year Heloise Bennet. “I deleted all my phone apps five months after erasing all my social media handles three months into quarantine, and now I’m eight weeks into turning my phone on just to type some half-intelligible descriptions about the sleep paralysis demon I befriended two months ago. I’m existing in a fugue state, filled with oscillating bouts of complete apathy and total distress. I truly believe my body is now a liminal space, untouched not by time, but by suffering. I don’t even know how you reached me for a quote.”
After careful formulation, UCSD admin was able to send an email out that was not restricted by the subroutine. The email in its entirety read: “Pay your tuition. Love u <3.”