What Do You Get for $60,000+ per Year at Brown University?


You get a faculty who is paid while they vote to change Columbus Day to “Indigenous People’s Day.”

What is Indigenous People’s Day”? I have no idea. Let’s consult good old Webster. Indigenous—1. Living or occurring naturally in a specific area or environment: NATIVE. 2. Intrinsic: innate.

Well, that clears that up.

I imagine of the 6,300+ undergrad students, the 2,200+ grad students, and the 500 + students in med school at Brown University, some of them are not NATIVE to this country, which means, I guess, they all congregate down at Starbucks while the rest of the campus is celebrating “Indigenous People’s Day”. I assume they are not eligible to celebrate or participate in the festivities.

That’s odd. I thought universities and colleges were all-inclusive these days, which by reverse definition means you don’t exclude anyone.

I almost forgot. For the $60,000+ per year, you do have your tuition paid, and room and board, and books and all that stuff. In other words you are cleared to attend classes, whether you want to or not, provided the faculty is not in emergency session to decide that Columbus Day is now “Indigenous People’s Day, or maybe change the name of another nationally recognized day.

Wild frat and sorority parties on the weekend are not included in the $60,000+ per year.

Brown University has been around forever, actually since 1764 if you must get technical. At about that time it was known as “The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”, that according to Wikipedia.

It is not known whether the faculty, in emergency session, has found it necessary to rename other days recognized by us regular human beings since the time of its founding, such as July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. For that you might have to enter the hallowed halls of Brown University to see what proclamations hang upon its walls.

I must have been disadvantaged and didn’t realize it. I just went to an average college. There must be things about Brown University I don’t know.

Do the textbooks have 24-carat gold lettering? Or maybe the professor who wrote the textbook for the course gives lectures and no book is needed. Professors have been known to require the book they wrote to be the book required for their course. Surely no professor at Brown University would stoop to that.

Maybe they have valet service for the bicycles students ride to class. Bicycles? Maybe they have valet service for the Lamborghinis and Porsches and Ferraris the students drive to class.

Maybe they have a stand-in to take their finals. Experts in the field of their studies, like active Mensa who rank in the top 2% of intelligence.

Perhaps they dispatch an individual to go to the home of each student, and organize a cocktail party to give a detailed description of how the professor arrived at the grade for that particular student.

To be honest with you, I have never met anybody who went to Brown University. Maybe I don’t live in the right neighborhood.

I had a high school friend who went to Harvard. Turns out he came home, and you couldn’t tell he had been to Harvard. I’m sure he aced the courses there, because he is one brilliant fellow.

Maybe people who attend Brown University talk differently, and I wouldn’t understand what they were saying, unless I had a constant, open, linguistic dictionary.

There has to be something that $60,000+ per year brings you that no other institute of higher learning does. What is it?

If Lewis Grizzard were still around, I think he would arrange an invite to speak at Brown University. Now given that he and I are from the South, and he like me would have to go in the back door of the building, but once he stepped on stage with his Gucci shoes (no socks) they would welcome him like a native brother. He would not have to be concerned if it was “Indigenous People’s Day because he would be one of them.

If I were there with my Southern drawl, the first word out of my mouth I would be escorted from the stage by four burly Brown University students, and tossed unceremoniously from the building and land in the snow or on the grass, depending on the season of the year, still not knowing what made Brown University one of a kind.

I could call Brown University and ask them. I imagine they would automatically transfer the call to the Rhode Island Highway Patrol.

There are other Ivy League schools, Harvard, as I mentioned, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell. But there has to be something about Brown University. Something in 252 years of existence that has made it unique.

Because I can’t find anything unusual, I have come up with an idea to make Brown University stand out forever. However, I must background this, so everybody will have a full understanding of what I am proposing, a realization of the full impact of my brilliant idea.

I’ll contrast for you the difference in my day and now. We didn’t have participation trophies in bygone days, but we received certificates for everything. Being of at least average intelligence, I knew these certificates would be important one day. I saved them.

I had noticed that college grads filled up at least one wall in their office with certificates. I also observed that no one ever read the certificates. When I hung my college diploma on my office wall, I started adding the certificates I had saved, until that office wall was full.

People would come into my office, glance at the certificates, not being close enough to read them, sit down, and we would have a conversation. I could tell they thought they were dealing with a genius.

When my retirement came and I started boxing up my certificates, I paused for several seconds to read the certificate that had always hung to the left of my college diploma. It was about the same size as my diploma, and framed nicely, as were all of my certificates. The certificate said that at the age of ten my Mom had purchased for me a pair of Thom McCann shoes.

Stay with me here. We’re slowly getting to Brown University. In past days, goldbricking was known as goofing off, sluffing off and not doing what you were supposed to be doing.

Like the night before finals, where you were deposited in your dorm room with a full bottle of adrenaline pills and six pots of coffee. The next morning your eyes were transfixed in a blank stare, and your roommate had to escort you to the exam room thirty minutes before zero hour, and hope that your eyes were in focus by the beginning of the exam. It was obvious your brain was in an overload of knowledge because it was spilling out of your ears. All of that only produced that one scrawny piece of paper saying you had successfully exited the halls of learning.

Nowadays goldbrick has a different connotation, a thoughtful presentation of stored knowledge acquired during the course of the semester, and not crammed in one night.

Here’s my suggestion for Brown University. Present the graduates with a gold brick with the necessary graduation info such as name of the student, the date, etc.

Given the graduation fees will be a little stiff, but after four years of $60,000 plus per year for undergrad work, the student’s parents will hardly notice. A $1,000 for cap and gown rental, $500 for a new pair of Air Jordans to wear, and $89,700 for the gold brick, at current gold prices.

Your graduate may still not have a job, and have to live in your basement for a period of indeterminate time, but just think how impressive your graduate will be when they go out in the business world to apply for a job, and lay that gold brick on a prospective employer’s desk.

The prospective employer will say, “This grad’s from Brown. I have to hire them.”

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