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…And All I Got Was This Lousy UPUA Pen

Before I get into my thoughts on the UPUA, I’d like to describe some examples of whole groups acting with coordinated irrationality.

There is a mental condition which appears in the DSM-IV called folie à deux (French for “madness shared by two”) where two or more people go mad and start sharing the same delusions; symptoms of one person’s delusions are transmitted unto another, and both agree to live in the same fantasy world.

The Salem Witch Trials resulted in courts convicting citizens as guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to death. There’s a theory that holds all the townspeople of Salem were high at the time, and all the alleged witchcraft and subsequent convictions were all the result of widespread hallucinations induced in the townspeople by moldy grain. For real. Google “Ergot Poisoning.” They certainly didn’t mention that when teaching The Crucible in high school.

Right. So, at last night’s UPUA meeting, the body introduced legislation to spend $3,000 of your Student Activity Fee on UPUA promotional items to hand out on campus including UPUA branded sunglasses, cups, and pens. Discussion regarding the UPUA promotion shifted to a suggestion of a name change for the UPUA, citing concern that some students don’t know what the UPUA is. The legislation passed, and the UPUA will be spending $3,000 of your Student Activity Fee on sunglasses, cups, and pens.

UPUA is now acknowledging that they have low visibility on campus. However, rather than embarking on a campaign of substantive effort and change to show students that they are a worthwhile organization interested in furthering the agendas of individual students and student organizations, they are voting to spend $3,000 of your Student Activity Fee on sunglasses, cups, and pens.

The student body at large doesn’t know about or care about the UPUA, but the members of UPUA all agree that their student government is “very important.” The UPUA could very well work hard to make itself a legitimate body by embarking on a campaign to find out what issues their constituents want them to be tackling. They could fight to get my seats back on the 40-yard line. They could make it easier for student groups to reserve spaces for meetings and events on campus and in the HUB. They could fix ANGEL. They could do a whole mess of things rather than make excuses and pass the buck unto the bureaucracies that surround them. Instead, they’re buying themselves $3,000 worth of sunglasses, cups, and pens with your Student Activity Fee.

So here are a couple possible explanations for why the UPUA is so impotent. The first is ergot poisoning.

Okay, unlikely. Maybe they are actually just arrogant enough to believe their name is the problem. So you can’t be surprised they’re spending $3,000 of your Student Activity Fee on UPUA sunglasses, pens, and cups to keep as mementos. Or, maybe we’re not giving them enough credit—maybe they are actually just shrewd individuals who realize the student body won’t hold them accountable for their laziness so there’s no incentive for hard work.

Or, maybe the whole assembly is suffering from a massive undiagnosed folie à deux. Regardless, I can’t wait for my sunglasses.

About the Author

Dennis McNamara

Dennis McNamara is a senior studying International Relations. The product of a long and muddy Irish lineage, Dennis blames that sour heritage and his Boston area upbringing for the flaws in his character. The only paid writer for Onward State, Dennis has never been described as a team player as he often thinks of himself as “the smartest guy in the room.” In addition to contributing to Onward State, Dennis is also Creative Director for Full Ammo Improv. Dennis isn’t sure when he’s kidding either.



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