“Memos Re: the Spectacular Ruination of American Community College,” by D.L.E. Roger

May 17th, 2023 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

The following memos, exchanged between fall 2023 and spring 2029, document the choices that led to the total destruction of American Community College. The first party in this exchange is the Center for Academic Excellence, a faction within ACC’s sprawling marketing division charged with “supporting student success.” At the time they branded themselves “CaX!” and referred to their own memos as “CaXbLaSts!.” The other party is Sisyphina Jones, a tenured philosophy instructor who appears to be the only faculty member ever to reply to a CaXbLaSt!.

CaXbLaSt!, August 2023:

Our data indicates that faculty office hours are underutilized by students. Total utilization has fallen from 12% of available hours in 2012 to 8% in 2022. This is an outcome that does not support student success.

CaX! is undertaking a campus-wide re-branding of faculty office hours. To support your students in being successful, please deprecate the term “office hours” and replace it with “happy fun times.”

CaX! anticipates your enthusiasm and asks that you promptly report your increase in student utilization of happy fun times. This is Priority One, people! Let’s make this happen!

Instructor Jones’s memo, December 2023:

I regret to report a decline in student visits to office hours. In our final class meeting I asked why so few of them came to see me for “happy fun times.” It turns out they thought it was a childcare thing.

CaXbLaSt!, January 2024:

Please deprecate “happy fun times” and replace it with “adult happy fun times.” Come on, team! We’ve got this!

Jones memo, May 2024:

I regret to report that my office-hours visits cratered to zero. Students thought I was inviting them to an orgy. It hurts me, though it does not surprise me, that they were appalled.

CaXbLaSt!, August 2024:

Deprecate “adult happy fun times.” Replace with “Title IX compliant adult happy fun times.” Our faculty rocks!!

Jones memo, December 2024:

No change. Students are unfamiliar with Title IX but speculated that it is a reference to The Hunger Games. They thought I was proposing not a standard orgy, but rather a competitive, violent one.

CaXbLaSt!, January 2025:

“Title IX compliant (sexually non-threatening) adult happy fun times.”

Jones memo, May 2025:

How could this elegant branding have failed? I regret to report no change.

I had a thought. The adjunct who teaches in my classroom before me preps and grades in her car. She says it would be easier to hold Title IX compliant (sexually non-threatening) adult happy fun times if she could check out a stool for students to sit on. Perhaps in a hallway on campus?

Given that we have been on a long march to our current ratio of three stool-less adjuncts for each tenured instructor, I am fighting the urge to question whether the original decline in student use of office hours was indeed a consequence of sub-optimal marketing.

CaXbLaSt!, May 2025:

CaX! is fighting the urge to question faculty’s commitment to student success. No one wants that! Our faculty rocks!! Stick with the plan. This fall, shorten to “sexually non-threatening adult happy fun times” abbreviated and stylized “SnTaHfT” for visual interest. This is the one.

Jones memo, December 2025:

Across my division, student visits to SnTaHfTs stick stubbornly at zero. I request that we replace “SnTaHfTs” with the legible, if old-fashioned, branding of “office hours,” and further request that we issue adjuncts a stool and a taped-off patch of hallway they may use for office hours.

Personal communication from CaX! to Instructor Jones, December 2025:

Adjuncts are valued members of our campus community and we at CaX! do literally everything possible to support their mission-critical work. Unfortunately, no discretionary funds are available for stools or tape. Those funds are earmarked for an exciting student-success initiative. (Spoiler alert: it’s a custom app to get out the word re: SnTaHfTs.)

CaXbLaSt!, January 2026:

Exciting news!! As part of our mission to support student success, CaX! has partnered with GesichtReich Ltd. to create a custom app: SnTaHfT.crush! SnTaHfT.crush allows students to up-crush each other’s mentions of SnTaHfTs and use those up-crushes to enter raffles for ACC swag. We are thrilled to bring this unique deliverable to our amazing students. Make sure to include SnTaHfT.crush on your syllabi, demo it in your first few class meetings, give students bigtime extra credit for installing it, and prepare to be inundated with students in your SnTaHfTs!

CaXbLaSt!, February 2026:

Please pause your promotion of SnTaHfT.crush. Several law enforcement agencies have disclosed a concern that GesichtReich Ltd. may be a Russian hacker cartel devoted to identity theft and sex trafficking. If true, this would not support student success. In the meantime, please report your data assessing student utilization of SnTaHfTs.

Jones memo, February 2026:

It has been more than two years since a student last visited my sexually non-threatening adult happy fun times.

CaXbLaSt!, March 2026:

Exciting news!! GesichtReich Ltd. is not a Russian hacker cartel! Please encourage your students to use the heck out of SnTaHfT.crush. Remind them that they can win swag and get attention. Don’t forget that this app cost a lot of money. So much money. Up-crush those mentions, teachers!

CaXbLaSt!, December 2026: 

Exciting news!! CaX! and American Community College have partnered with SpaceX to promote SnTaHfT.crush! We have volunteered to become the first community college to host a Falcon-Heavy-capable launchpad. In exchange, SpaceX will brand our campus “Spaceport ACC” and every rocket launched from it will display innovative messaging from CaX! The upgrades to our physical plant will take approximately two years, but we’ve already locked in our first ad. In reflective letters on the side of a Falcon Heavy our students will see: “SnTaHfT.crush!!!! visit the app store it’s FREEEEEE!!!” This will support their success!

Our radical reimagination of the modern community college provides invaluable marketing opportunities. The one downside is that during the conversion/construction phase we won’t have access to campus, and therefore must suspend SnTaHfTs and in-person classes for a few semesters.

Jones memo, December 2026:

Please don’t do this.

CaXbLaSt!, March 2029:

Obviously, CaX! is disappointed with yesterday’s debut launch from Spaceport ACC. We anticipated a glorious arc of rocket fire capped with our innovative ad for SnTaHfT.crush. Instead, we witnessed an explosion on the launchpad, the incineration of our campus, and the nearly instantaneous conversion of our misfortune into a remorseless tide of mean-spirited memes. That is not the outcome we were hoping for.

But, honestly? We’ve struggled for years to find the right branding for what were once called faculty office hours, the trends in the assessment data were never encouraging, and our budget was perennially threatened by adjuncts demanding stools. Yes, our campus is reduced to rubble. But the problem of faculty office hours is finally solved. Viewed through the lens of student success, mightn’t it be this is all for the best?


D.L.E. Roger is a pen name of an instructor at a Midwestern community college.

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