The millennial meltdown: York community implodes after a campus-wide technology ban

(Courtesy of Nick Seagrave, Unsplash)

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After two years of asynchronous lectures, eClass crashes, and Zoom breakout rooms, York has issued a campus-wide ban on any technology postdating the turn of the 21st century.

On Monday, March 29, smartphones and laptops were rendered useless at an official “unplugging” ceremony where York’s President Lana Renton unceremoniously prohibited access to nearby cell-phone towers and disconnected all campus Wi-Fi.

Renton released a hand-written response to the ban — which local media outlets have dubbed “The Millennial Meltdown” — declaring: “A lot of students and faculty are struggling with their mental health. We firmly believe a break from screens will restore peace and harmony to campus life.”

But many have begun to argue otherwise. Excalibur spoke to Roonal Wazlab, a second-year archeology student who was found wandering outside the Arboretum Parking Garage.

“It’s a nightmare,” Wazlab exclaimed. “I hardly ever come to campus. I can’t find my classes, I can’t find York Lanes.”

When asked why he hadn’t used any of York’s posted maps, Wazlab countered the question with baffled exasperation: “Without a blinking dot on the map, how am I supposed to know which way I’m going?”

While navigating the campus without the aid of technology is a chore, it pales in comparison to one of the greatest adversities the York community has ever faced: the dissolution of eClass. With no access to course texts or materials, droves of students descended on Vari Hall in search of some answers.

“People have gone — how you say — bananas,” says Gabrielle de Clémentine, a first-year international student majoring in agricultural biology. “It was the storming of the Bastille all over again.”

Shortly after, a riot broke out at Scott Library when librarian Willemina Grimm suggested the use of Microsoft Encarta (an archaic type of digital encyclopedia) for academic research.

“Their eyes — I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Grimm, who was unharmed but considerably shaken by the ordeal. “I tried to reason with them, I even tried shushing, but they’d already lost it. I’m just glad I didn’t mention the card index,” she adds.

With news of the riot slowly spreading, many faculty members have fled the campus. Excalibur managed to track down the head of religious studies, Professor Gideon Leviticus, who had barricaded his office door.

“There’s no forum, no email. How am I expected to communicate with students outside the classroom?” Professor Leviticus asks Excalibur from underneath his desk.

“People are swarming outside my office,” he adds. “Every time I post something on the door I get bombarded with questions. Even Martin Luther himself couldn’t cope with this mischegas.”

On the other hand, some students worry that the technology ban will have catastrophic repercussions. “YUFA just reached a settlement with York, and now this,” says Fatimah-Aretha Frank, a political science graduate student and teaching assistant.

“With no eClass, students are submitting hard copies of assignments,” Frank continues. “One guy gave me a hand-written paper held together with shoe-string. I wouldn’t be surprised if the profs strike again — I might even join them,” they add.

York is also under fire for out-of-service automatic door sensors, raising questions about accessibility and accommodation. When asked about the issue, York’s Senior Media Spokesperson, Mr. Confucius Niewiem, simply shrugged.

“I don’t have data,” Niewiem says before pointing Excalibur to the newly erected Community Updates bulletin board located just outside York University Station.

Many students have resorted now to using pay phones. Only a handful of people seem to know how to work the old devices, few as they are. The consequent confusion coupled with a lack of spare change amongst the populace contributed to inconceivably long lines and wait times.

After several incidents of students struggling to remember numbers, campus police are now stationed at each of the pay phones along with a dish for petty cash, a box of tissues, and explicit information on how to dial 411.

Not everyone is disturbed by the ongoing tech ban. Third-year film students Larry Dynch and

Tristofer Bolan were shooting at Stong House when the restrictions began. After speaking with Excalibur, Dynch’s only comment regarding the tech blackout was, “Oh really? I hadn’t noticed.”

Bolan, on the other hand, immediately fired up his Bolex. “Someone needs to document this. You know, as a memento.”

Professor River Psalm, head of anthropological studies, commends the university on its commitment to the mental health and well-being of students and staff.

According to Psalm, the change was long overdue. “Sure, people are stressed now, but it’s mostly due to the residual neuropsychiatric effects caused by repeated exposure to Wi-Fi. Mark my words: When the air clears and the genetic cellular regeneration kicks in, everyone will feel a lot better.”

It’s unclear how long York will persist with its war on tech, but after two years of reconciling with mask mandates, vaccine passports, and foggy glasses, many members of the York community have reached their boiling point.

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By JJ Mokrzewski

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