Monday, March 04, 1996

Grunion: CSU trustees to order school uniforms

[The following is from the Grunion (satire page--at least it was at the time--of the Long Beach Union, student newspaper at Long Beach State), published March 4, 1996]

CSU trustees to order school uniforms
By Morty Arthur

Grossly influenced by President Clinton’s remarks during a recent visit to a local school, the California State University Board of Trustees has tentatively approved a plan to require CSU students to wear uniforms while on campus, a spokesperson inadvertently mentioned while drunk at a local pub.

The trustees intend to implement a test run of the plan next semester here at CSULB, envious of the attention bestowed upon Long Beach’s Jackie Robinson Academy for being the first school to mandate student wardrobe.

“We heard Clinton commending them for this uniform thing, and we got this idea,” the spokesperson uttered. “Yeah, we did. Not the UC Regents, us. We’re sick of the UC Regents always making decisions and getting the glory. We can do stuff, too. We didn’t get rid of affirmative action like they did—although that was because we got bribes.”

Addressing the decision behind using CSULB as the experiment, the spokesperson stated, “Obviously, kids in Long Beach will do anything anybody tells ‘em, so we figured the college kids must be equally spineless. Hell, I can’t believe the students at Cal State Long Beach can still enunciate, considering what’s really coming out that power plant they call a water heater.” The spokesperson then laughed maniacally and staggered off to the restroom before he could elaborate.

We he returned (his fly open), I asked him if the Trustees intended to ease racial tension on campus, as were the findings in the lower grades. “Tension-smension, as long as we’re rich,” he replied.

The spokesperson rambled on semi-deliriously, grasping his glass as though it were a jewel. I was forced to threaten him with the wrath of the genie of the lamp to get him to explain. Staring absently at the broken Zima neon sign, he noted that the appeal of the uniforms for the Trustees was the opportunity to sell advertising on the uniforms, much like riders in the Tour de France, from which the Trustees would receive a percentage.

He alluded to the arrangement Sprint has made with a number of universities, including CSULB, whereby they can advertise on the student i.d. cards. Apparently, many large corporations were “very interested” by the idea, seeing the college-aged consumers as a lucrative demographic.

“That’s all they’re good for,” the spokesperson concluded, “so the sooner they accept that fact, the better for the companies.”

I added that it was also better for the trustees. The spokesperson resumed staring at the Zima sign and smiling.

When asked how they intended to get the university students to comply with the plan, the spokesperson fell off his barstool, spilling his drink, and convulsed with laughter on the floor. After I helped him up and he ordered another round, he wiped the tears from his eyes and announced, “We’re the fuckin’ trustees. We can do anything we want. The students have never stopped us from raising tuition. They the losers who couldn’t get into decent schools. What can they do?”

I said they could drop out, thus reducing the revenues from tuition.

“Yeah, sure,” the spokesperson retorted. “We’ve got ‘em all so convinced that the only way to succeed is to get a degree—even though they’ll just end up in some dead-end job anyway—that they’d be too scared to do that. Weren’t you listening? They can’t even coordinate a letter campaign over tuition. They’re not gonna rock the boat.”

When asked if some of the uniform advertising would be used to offset costs and keep tuitions from rising, the spokesperson said, “That’s what we’re gonna tell ‘em.”

The African-American waitress who was serving us overheard part of the conversation and noted she was a CSULB student.

Upon hearing this, the spokesperson mentioned he might be able to help her, if she was willing to “comply with the trustees’ wishes.”

The waitress told him perform an anatomically-impossible act, to which he unadvisedly replied, “Look, if it wasn’t for us keeping Affirmative Action, your kind couldn’t have even gotten into that school!”

The waitress proceeded to strike the spokesperson in the head with her tray. He was knocked unconscious, and as he lay sprawled on the floor, I told the waitress he would cover my tab.

Remember to act surprised when the new uniform policy is unveiled.