In response to a critical examination of UB and its policies published this week in Generation magazine, UB announced yesterday sweeping, fundamental changes to the very structure of the university. The article, entitled "An Open Letter to Change," reprinted in this Thursday's New York Times, clearly, concisely and with few spelling or grammatical errors illustrated fundamental flaws with the priorities pursued by the current administration and remedies to be implemented.
President William R. Greiner praised the story for turning around his personal focus, and that of his administration.
"A lot of the problems are my fault, it's true I've caused a lot of mischief," Greiner told an assemblage of Western New York media.
"I didn't see that before. Thank heavens for the scarlet light of truth wielded by (Generation Editor in Chief) Chris Davis and his plucky band of well-kempt, properly groomed youngsters with competent editing skills and agreeable personal hygiene."
Greiner then gave a wink and nod to Davis, sitting next to the president on the dais set up at Baird Point for the press conference.
"Aw shucks, President Greiner," Davis responded, "we just wanted to do our best for the university."
The piece, co-authored by Davis, Features Editor Kristin Kunert and Asst. Pulse Editor Scott Frauenhofer, offered a brilliant, 12-point critique of overall university policies without resorting to counterproductive personal attacks, sweeping unintelligent generalizations or childish, inappropriate vulgarity.
The primary and most cogently argued position was that shifting the university's athletics program to Division I-A status in 1999 not only harmed the quality of product on the field, but irrevocably damaged university academics. Damage, for example, that was felt during the College of Arts and Sciences hiring freeze shortly thereafter.
Greiner announced the immediate withdrawal of UB from Division I-A and the abolition of all university athletics. UB Stadium will be demolished to provide English professors an open-air classroom to hold court in and regale their students with tales of the 1960s.
"I thought the best way to improve this university was to raise our national profile, use sports-generated revenue to fund new academic initiatives, attract a higher caliber of student who, in turn, will donate lots of money to the university upon becoming alumni," Greiner said.
"Silly me," he added with a shrug of his shoulders.
Kunert, scheduled to appear before the Senate Education Committee in Washington tomorrow and thus unable to attend the press conference, affirmed her support for the article in a press release.
"We felt building toward the future was foolhardy when precious resources could be funneled into inherently unproductive disciplines like English and philosophy to allow faculty to pursue their intellectual masturbation while contributing nothing of concrete value to the real world," she stated.
She also stated the magazine's objection to the athletics program has nothing to do with a lack of athletic ability on the part of Generation's editorial board.
The other 11 proposals ranged from the logical, allowing the use of illegal narcotics on campus, to the amusingly - and not at all stale - humorous, a campus cable channel dedicated to all matters fecal.
"Al [Cerda, literary editor,] really wanted that one," said Davis.
Greiner was amazed at how deeply the article resonated with him. "I stepped on something in Capen Hall and thought I heard the muffled cry of good taste being choked like a hostage with a sock in his mouth. But I looked down and saw a copy of Generation.
"I flipped through it and realized, 'By God, they're right.'"
One particularly passionate plea in what's being called the "Generation Manifesto" implores for a return to civility in politics, from UB's Student Association all the way to the White House and Capitol Hill.
Frauenhofer was adamant about this portion of the article. "Those who know us know that civility and respect for those in authority through elective means is important to Generation. Lord knows we would never say or write anything to denigrate our hard-working elected officials unduly or irrationally," he said.
"That's just not our style," Frauenhofer added.
According to Greiner, the pace of the changes will only be limited to the university's ability to institute them as soon as physically possible. The all-fecal channel, or FC, will begin broadcast next semester.
Greiner did not mince his words of gratitude towards the editor who once characterized him as not as bad as he thought. "Thank you Chris, to and your staff. Your contributions to this institution have made UB a better place."
Eyes glistening with tears of gratitude, Greiner reached out to Davis and the two warmly embraced.