Remember those four theology courses you took from Professor Horatio? You must have really liked his teaching! Did you know he has seven children under the age of ten and that he and his wife—she's in remission now, you'll be happy to know—have taken in four special needs kids and are also caring for his 84-year-old aunt? As you can see, he really needs this job.
And that's why I’m writing you, knowing how much you benefited from Professor Horatio. You and the 47 other graduates we've selected can make sure he keeps his job. That's right! You, Alexandra DeSanctis, can make a difference to Professor Horatio, his wife, seven children, four special needs foster children, and aged aunt! You can be the difference between their having a home and being out on the street! And don't forget medical insurance!
I know your heart goes out to Professor Horatio in this time of need and uncertainty. You may know what it's like to wonder if you'll have a job in a month. You, too, may have thought you had a secure job for life and gone above and beyond for your employer and then found the market just didn’t justify your continued employment. But life teaches us some hard lessons, Alexandra.
I have to be honest with you: A job for life, that's just not realistic. Money doesn't grow on trees. Factories move to Mexico. Tenure gets revoked. It's the way the world works. Our hands are tied.
But as you know, Alexandra, this is a college in the Catholic tradition. Faith and values are significant influences on what we do. We’re not going to let someone go just like that. We went the second mile with Professor Horatio and the others like him. (You’ll be excited to know that other students are being given the same opportunity as you to save a professor’s job! That’s what Christian community is all about!)
We hired an ace group of educational consultants to examine our academic staffing and they told us these professors just have to go unless someone will pay for them. We can’t ignore their advice, very expensive advice, Alexandra. One thing they pointed out is that theology graduates represent the lowest giving per graduate of any major. People say that lots of them work for the Church or go into the religious life, and that’s great, it really is, but they still represent a very low return on investment. You can’t get around that, Alexandra. Professor Horatio’s students just aren’t giving back.
So here’s where we are with Professor Horatio. We know he taught extra classes and had a lot more office hours than required. We know about all the dinners with students in his home and all the hours he spent counseling and praying with you all. And the books! Not my field, but people say they’re really good.
An amazing guy. A truly great teacher. We don't know how he ever got any sleep. But look, let me be honest with you, Alexandra, he chose to do this. He didn't have to. We had a contract and he chose to exceed it. We're happy he did, but that doesn't put any burden on us to give him special consideration. That's not how markets work. We had to tell him, "Look, professor, this is the real world. Hard decisions have to be made." We told him what the consultants said and how our hands are tied.
But this is the great thing about markets, Alexandra. They respond to demand. You can demonstrate your demand that Professor Horatio keep his job for next year (but only next year, we're not making any promises) by giving back to your school. You're a free economic actor. Use that freedom to keep the professor and his family warm and fed this coming winter!
Cato F. A. Koch
Donald Trump Professor of Educational Economic Administration and Efficiency Studies
P.S. One more thing, Alexandra. I'm sure you think we ought to have a classics department. So do we! But classics departments don't pay for themselves! Really, they don't. Complete money suck. Other people want a French or a German or a fine arts department. They lose money, too. So here's what we're going to do. We're making this democratic. You graduates vote by giving money to the department you want to keep. If you fund a department, we'll keep it. If you don't, we'll know that there's no effective demand for it in the modern economy.
P.P.S. Football, now football makes money. But we didn't see you out there risking permanent brain injury for the university. And that's okay. Not everyone here can pull their weight. You want to take advantage of all the money the football team brings in without lifting a finger to help? We understand. But now, let me be honest here, now that you're out in the real world and making money, you can make up for not playing football by sending us some.
P.P.P.S. Some of you have asked why the administration is growing and administrative salaries have been rising. It wouldn’t be honest of me not to deal with this question head on. This isn’t about us, Alexandra. We’re not the issue here. Professor Horatio is the issue here. Don’t get distracted from his need. Keep your eye on the prize. Remember how close he is to being on the street.