In response to the recent rise in coronavirus cases around the country, the College has released new return-to-campus procedures and rule enforcement policies for the fall semester. According to the concise and succinct manuscript sent out this morning by Marlene Sandstrom, any student who violates the Health Contract will be immediately launched out of an 820-caliber Pumhart von Steyr cannon.
“We take this pandemic very seriously, so when it comes to safety we spare no expense,” said Sandstrom, strapping on a helmet and a pair of pilot’s goggles before patting the cow-printed cannon affectionately. “This baby right here is just about the best carronade money can buy. All the test runs have gone smoothly. We haven’t heard back with complaints from any of the people we’ve launched.”
Other alternatives the College considered, including a hot air balloon, five hundred trained falcons, and the house from Up, were ultimately deemed “too expensive” and “just kind of lame ” compared to putting a student into an aerodynamic onesie and launching them and their disease-ridden body out of the Purple Valley.
The College’s official statement describes the new “campus exit process” as being “efficient, creative, and entirely painless for the part of it where you’re still technically on Williams campus and legally in the care of Williams College.”
“We’ve been very, very clear that students will be giving up some of the rights they would ordinarily have by choosing to come back to campus,” said President Mandel. “So once we sort of got past the legal barriers, Dean Dave texted into the Admin chat something like ‘it might be kind of cool to stuff some of these rabble-rousers into a cannon and just kinda see what happens.’”
While the plan has raised some safety concerns, the administration remains optimistic that families will be able to retrieve their students. “We are confident that parents will be able to catch launched students in a big net about 40 miles from campus, wherever it is that they end up. Safety is my middle name,” said Maud Safety Mandel. “No but really, they have to bring the net. We’re not providing the net.”
In general, social distancing rules will be enforced by a mix of friendly reminders, even friendlier reminders, and a firing squad. “The key here is that we all need to work together to hold each other accountable in the most respectful way possible,” Sandstrom explained. “So the masked men who come to your room in the middle of the night and drag you to the guillotine are really here to help you, not to punish you.” In line with this statement, the new official campus health guidelines state that failure to wear a mask in campus buildings will result in “a gentle beheading.”
Sandstrom claims that the use of unpredictable enforcement patterns (“the element of surprise,” in her words) is key to keeping students in line. But that’s not to say there wasn’t pushback. “Some parents were concerned that this was starting to look like emotional and psychological warfare,” she explained. “Except it’s fundamentally different in the sense that we’re not calling it that.”
“Oh, and if anyone wants to transition to remote learning now, I guess that would be ok,” continued Sandstrom. “I suppose we could make that work. As a favor to you, of course. Because we definitely wouldn’t want that. And we don’t want to put words in your mouth about staying the fuck away from here. We wouldn’t do that. But those would be the words. Stay the fuck away from here.”