Online C’s get online degrees

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DISCLAIMER: Stories and images published in this week’s issue under satire (with the exception of advertisements) are purely satirical and created purely for entertainment and/or parody purposes. They are not intended to communicate any accurate or factual information. Some names used in Excalibur’s satire stories are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or entities may be purely coincidental.

When you read the words “York University” what goes through your mind? 

“A quality education,” says Stephan Dairy, a second-year education student.

“Worth every penny,” says Lizzie McQueen, a third-year accounting student.

“The colour red,” says Karla Marks, a first-year communism student.

If you’re a student at York, you’re probably thinking they were forced into saying that. And they were — their grades were held hostage, except Marks’, but that’s besides the point.

People around the globe are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and students enrolled in universities are suffering even more (thank god for thousand-dollar student-friendly mental health campaigns like ‘YU Are Not Alone’). But here at York, student success rates are higher than ever — all we had to do was drop our standards even lower than before!

Now that the obligatory pandemic statement is out of the way, let’s talk about why York had its best year yet (even better than 2019), and what happened behind the scenes to make it happen.

Online Classes for the Masses

For some university students, the shift to online learning has been difficult. A number of those students find it difficult to succeed when learning from a distance — that’s why the administration has encouraged those students to drop out of their current university and apply to York instead.

Let’s look back at the beginning of the year, specifically York Prime Minister Londa Rhenton’s statement at the start of the fall term.

“At York, we understand how awkward it can be to interact with professors. It’s never easy to ask them to bump your C+ to an A, or ask for an extension on your essay you clearly procrastinated on, or even mention that your oversized naked mole-rat ate your homework. 

“We know it’s difficult to communicate with your professors, so this year we are getting rid of student-professor interactions entirely!” said Rhenton. And they weren’t wrong. The total number of professor-related complaints from students has dropped from 69 per cent to zero. 

It’s also worth noting that in order to file a complaint, students were previously required to contact their professor directly. And if you are like George Nicholas, who failed a course due to their dog interfering, yes…your pet must be a part of the correspondence should you somehow figure out how to file a complaint in the first place.

“Thank the lord I don’t have to talk to a professor anymore. I always felt it was a waste of time and effort,” says Eden Nidoo, a third-year autodidacticism studies student. “Now that it’s no longer an option, I feel more confident in my education now that I’m practically teaching myself.”

York also started a new “simplify education” initiative that aims to make university courses more accessible by “fixing” the academic quality. 

“I’m so glad they fixed the quality of classes,” says privilege studies student Sandra Moonay. “When classes were super high quality, they were so complex that none of it made sense. I’m glad they dumbed it down for us.” The initiative is also York’s most expensive one to date, so tuition spiked accordingly. 

“When people pay for expensive things, they think they’re getting a quality product. We didn’t ‘fix’ the quality at all. If anything, we really dropped the ball — but students didn’t seem to notice because the money said otherwise,” says Christina Angel, a professor of deception studies.

“Since tuition was raised, I feel more confident in my inability to hold a fork,” says Moonay. “Why else would I attend York after all?”

The Secret Syllabus…or Syllabi?

Part of York’s success was the implementation of Secret Syllabus, which is when professors would erase crucial information from their syllabi and expect students to know exactly what it was.

“Secret Syllabus gave us a layer of mystery I never knew I wanted in my education,” says Norville Hardy, a third-year Scooby Doo studies student. 

“One of my professors ‘forgot’ to add penalties for late submissions, which almost every professor has, so I got to submit everything at the end of term and slack off in the meantime,” says a third-year procrastination studies student, who said they’d give us their name at a later date. They may have failed the class.

Another key part of Secret Syllabus takes place in December, where each professor sends their class’ syllabus to another professor who must implement it into their new class.

“For many years,” Rhenton says, “faculty have taught the same classes back to back. By implementing this new Secret Sant — I mean Secret Syllabus — professors are aggressively encouraged and lightly forced to teach a new course each term. We’re all life-long learners here at York, especially our faculty.”

The Campus of Solitude

There’s no better coincidence that York’s most successful year was its first year where students didn’t have to go on campus. With its bustling hallways, colourful artwork, and unique architecture, York’s Keele campus can be seen as too distracting. Anna Starks, a sixth-year social theory student, actually misses the scene.

“I miss seeing the constant construction around campus. Every day at around noon-thirty I’d bump into Paul, one of the construction guys, and we’d have a nice chat,” they say. Starks has resorted to contacting Paul the construction guy via email, but says it’s not the same. 

“Whenever I’d walk by we’d have a laugh. He’d jokingly call me sexist slurs and I’d jokingly threaten to call human resources. It was a nice thing we had going, but the pandemic ruined what we had.”

Fifth-year cartography student Nathaniel Morgan says they miss getting lost on campus every day.

But students aren’t the only ones at odds with the campus shutdown, as its very own security force has noted multiple issues. “I’m so bored! Without the students rushing around the halls, how can I actively ignore their complaints?” says Saul Hart, a campus security officer.

“Most days we’re either locked up in our control rooms or casually roaming the empty buildings. It’s so quiet that I sometimes wish a zombie would jump out at me just to give me something new.” 

When Hart isn’t roaming the halls they’re watching the CCTV security footage, where figuring out which flavour of donuts to order from SkipTheDishes is their biggest hurdle. “You get tired of the same flavours when every day feels like the same day. That’s why I try to order different donuts each day, so I know I’m not in some Bill Murray movie about a gopher.”

Though security aren’t the only ones inhabiting the hallways during this pandemic. Sources claim a somewhat eerie presence follows them in the empty, abandoned buildings. 

“I was going about my nightly route (hey that rhymed) when I felt the hair on my head tingle, like a fourth sense or something,” says officer Hart. “I knew something was wrong ‘cause I don’t have hair on my head!”

Hart describes their experience: “I swear on my life it was Wanda Rhenton, but that can’t be true — she died almost 50 years ago! At least that’s what her memorial says, and I walk by that on a nightly basis to pay my student debts — I mean respects!”

Due to Hart’s testimony, authorities are looking into the case.

A Mysterious Motive

York Prime Minister Rhenton has been the target of an investigative investigation recently, with students and faculty worried about her well-being. Rhenton is notably the only university prime minister who addresses the school through social media on a weekly basis, probably due to the recent study showing that increased social media use has been linked to perpetual happiness. However, her statements appear to be a bit…off.

“Before this pandemic they never even used social media, and nobody really batted an eye because we didn’t expect our prime minister to use it,” says first-year suspicious studies student Benjamin Wy. “But now they’re appearing on my Instagram feed every week and it’s kinda creeping me out.”

Rhenton’s weekly address contains no meaningful content (why would it?) yet students seem anxious about what she has to say.

“It just doesn’t feel right,” says Wy, “I don’t think anybody has seen her actually smile before, but suddenly we see that grin every week in these unnerving posts.”

Even York’s very own faculty have noticed some off-putting occurrences with their prime minister.

“Every week we have a Zoom meeting to discuss ‘important details’ so I see her on screen a lot,” says Conner Kurts, a reptilian studies professor. “I have a shotty laptop so it glitches sometimes, but never to the point where our prime minister’s eyes turn bright red for a split second.”

Jorges Lucas, screenwriting professor, is the one who writes the scripts for the weekly addresses. “The prime minister normally reads off a teleprompter so her eyes are never looking directly at the camera. But on the off chance she does look into the camera, the lens does this weird thing where her eyes change colour for a split second.” 

The University Information for Technology unit has been working diligently to solve the technical difficulties, if such exist in the first place.

Excalibur sent over their intern to investigate the situation and speak to Rhenton directly. They have not been seen since.

Yay, Politics…

The university’s political avenue also took a turn with the latest batch of student union elections. The York Federation of Students (YFS), recently renamed to the Royal Court of Yorkingham Palace, saw their annual election campaign come to an end recently, with most students unaware an election even took place. Instead of ignoring literally millions of flyers plastered all over campus, students had the opportunity to ignore emails they never even received.

While it seems nobody got an email notifying them of the impending elections nobody cares about, YFS (now RCYP) sent out the information to certain programs only.

“I think it’s a good idea, to be honest,” says honesty studies student Ronald Dump, “not everybody wants to vote so targeting certain programs makes sense.

In order to be eligible to vote in this years’ RCYP election, students must have been from the Biology, Intermediate Accounting, and Sociology programs only.

Excalibur inquired about this and contacted the RCYP directly, but it appears they didn’t get our email either. Upon presenting this question at a recent Zoom conference, the Elections Officer claimed she didn’t know how to unmute one of our reporters — a convenient statement seeing as how ignorance of Zoom features was not outlined nor considered in the university’s new Evaluation of (Online) Etiquette mandate.

The New Face of York

In light of York’s most decadent year, the Board of Directors has finally elected their youngest member: 17-year-old Billy Rhenton, a communication studies student fresh out of high school. This decision was made in hopes to give the Board of Directors a “fresh and diverse” perspective on the institution.

“My first order of business is to set in stone York’s Commandments, which are a list of almost 70 rules and regulations all students, faculty, and staff must obey,” says the newest board member. 

When asked about how they feel about the “Commandments” listed, students only gave us one word — “nice” — before giggling into a fit of hysteria. 

York’s administration and prime minister Rhenton have also unveiled the university’s newest mascot in a recent livestream.

“This year has truly been the definition of ‘unprecedented.’ Despite the utmost uncertainty, the students, the faculty, and most importantly the university, have prevailed in the highest honour. When this school was created 62 years ago, nobody expected this institution would make the impact it did this year.

“So on this fine day,” continues Rhenton, “we are embracing what truly defines York’s greatness. In association with our newest board member, the young Billy here, we have decided that York needs a new face, one that represents who we are at York.” 

Nothing could have prepared the audience for what was yet to come. Following the prime minister’s introduction, York’s livestream cut to a black screen. And after moments of anticipation, the audience was treated to a short film produced by York’s very own film department.

“It was a pretty well-made flick, I’ll give ‘em that,” says first-year critique studies student Dick Crouse. “I didn’t expect our old lion mascot to get in a street fight with a giant fork with arms. The decapitation was a bit much, but it’s a giant fork, how else are you gonna defeat a stuffed lion?”

New Face and New Name?

After York introduced its newest mascot in their livestream, the show wasn’t over. Just when viewers thought the video had concluded, a new scene appeared after the credits.

“I thought after-credit scenes were just a Veggie Tales thing, but when York did it my mind was blown wide open!” says third-year superhero film studies student Zack Firby.

The “after-credit scene” commenced with the lion’s body on the sidewalk, its stuffing ripped out leaving quite the mess. Pedestrians walk by without noticing the broken ex-mascot on the ground, ignoring it as if it were a desperate plea to fire a racist professor. But one of the pedestrians stops and kneels down, gently resting their cold, pale hand on the lion’s enlarged face. Following the somber moment, the pedestrian searches through the lion’s pockets to find a fat stack of cash. They look into the camera with a grin as the video stops, only to reveal the thief was Londa Rhenton all along.

“It was such a plot-twist!” says first-year Shyamalan studies student Shawn Mclain.

Then the livestream returned to York’s prime minister. “We have one more exciting announcement for everybody here today,” Rhenton said. 

“We are now officially renaming York University to The York School of Thievery!”

Excalibur editors, who watched the livestream together, braced for impact as they expected the news to blow up on the internet. As it turns out, nobody was that shocked.

“It’s not really news,” says Mark Kent, a fourth-year journalism student. “York’s been stealing from us for years with their exorbitant tuition, so I’m not surprised in the slightest. It’s good to see the school finally being honest about it though. Transparency is always appreciated.

“I just wish they were transparent about Rhenton,” Kent continues. “Is she a thief, an alien, or a lizard?”

Only time will tell. Or will it?

At the time of publication, due to reasons unknown and unlisted to us, York Media Media could not get Excalibur a face-to-face interview with Rhenton, but rather only a statement that was already available on their website.

About the Author

By Jonathan Q. Hoidn

Former Editor

Jonathan is a Canadian multimedia writer and editor who has a passion for storytelling. Despite his preference for writing poignant and humorous tales, Jonathan loves to challenge himself with new topics, mediums, and perspectives. When Jonathan isn’t editing articles, you can find him tackling his backlog of movies, TV shows, video games, and comics; being the nerd of the group; writing down jokes that come to him in the middle of the night; watching the Raptors game; planning out several screenplay details in the seemingly endless “Story Ideas” folder; staring into the void; walking his dog (which is notably the cutest in town); looking into the camera, breaking the fourth wall; and hunting down that pesky little radioactive spider.


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