A new report this weekend revealed that Marlene Sandstrom paid only 750 dollars in income tax in 2019, a sum that is shockingly low given her 44 million dollar annual salary (we assume). Though many initially thought this small payment was the result of tax evasion, Sandstrom was happy to explain why she paid so little. “You pay way less for each person you claim as a dependent,” she said. “And trust me, all of you little shits are dependent on me.”
Sandstrom was generous enough to speak with The Haystack during a 15-minute break in the middle of her daily “idiot patrol,” during which she walks around the campus and helps students who seem to be confused. “If I know one thing,” she said. “It’s that this place would not be able to function without me.”
“Of course, I don’t just know one thing,” she continued. “Because it seems you numbskulls need me to know 50 thousand things at every waking moment of the day, or else the whole fucking school falls apart.”
Sandstrom arrived for her interview with ice packs on both of her shoulders and holding a recovery protein smoothie. She claims the mental, emotional, and physical toll of her job is often overwhelming, but the work is rewarding enough to be worthwhile. “I care deeply about each of you,” she said. “It’s sort of like being a parent. And, legally, it’s almost exactly like I’m your parent. Actually it is exactly like I’m your parent. If anyone asks you, I am your parent. That will be all.” She then left abruptly to help up another student who had tripped over their shoelaces.
A closer look at Sandstrom’s tax returns revealed that she has been claiming several dependents each year since long before she started working at Williams. In 1988 she listed every member of her book club as a dependent, and chose to write in the word “completely” above the word “dependent” on the official tax form. Each year throughout the 1990s, Sandstrom’s list of dependents included several personal friends whom she claims “would have been lost on their own.” In 1994, she claimed the entire population of the city of Durham, North Carolina, which she says, “simply would not have had the same vibe that year without me.”
“I stand before you today with no regrets,” Sandstrom told our reporter over Zoom, clearly sitting down in a large armchair. “As I have always said, you are all adults and I am not here to be your mother. But technically I am the legal guardian for all 2,000 of you, and that may seem ‘surprising’ or ‘illegal’ but I’m confident that none of you actually have any idea whether you at one point signed a form giving me this power.”