Opinions, Column

What Does UGBC Do?

There are two kinds of people: those who do their homework, and those who write shitty columns for even shittier student publications instead. You know what category I fall under.

“Please work on me!” my thesis about the viability of peace talks with the Taliban cries as I burn it in my living-room fire pit, with the sirens of BCPD blaring in the distance.

“Never!” I scream, throwing another two chapters into the pit. “There will never be a political settlement to the War in Afghanistan!” Sorry. I got a little carried away.

This week, we’re investigating what the Undergraduate Government of Boston College actually does, even though we already know that the answer is nothing.

“Austin seems to be getting lazier every week,” the 5.4 people who read my columns are probably thinking. “What happened to the days when he took on giant corporations like Mattress Firm?” I’ve become old and jaded since then—and also really, really tired because I don’t sleep anymore. I can already tell that this column is going to be terrible.

With that frame of mind, I decided to interview Reed Piercey, the only UGBC official whose phone number I have and, conveniently, the president-elect of BC’s student government. I worried that Reed might refuse my advances, given that I had endorsed his candidacy in my newsletter by comparing him to Donald Trump, which Reed had not taken well even though Trump, like Reed, won the election.

“Hello,” I texted Reed, whose first name is pronounced like the present tense of the verb read, or the plant. The pronunciation of his last name remains unclear.

“Hello,” Reeed texted me back. The interview was off to a good start. Once Reeeed agreed to the interview, I asked whether he knew the typical style of my columns. He replied that he was only talking to me because of my Mattress Firm fame. In fact, Reeeeed has not given an interview to any other journalist since his election, considering me the only one important enough for the task. Don’t fact-check that statement.

“Can you describe what UGBC does?” I asked. “The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) is a student government created to enrich the lives of students attending Boston College,” said Reeeeeed, literally quoting the UGBC website. “Its purpose is to serve on behalf of students’ interests and to help cultivate an engaged and caring student community. Furthermore, the student government works to actualize the rights and responsibilities of students to the greater community, while promoting growth academically, socially, and spiritually.”

“In practice,” Reeeeeeed continued, not plagiarizing this time, “that means hosting events on a variety of current issues to educate the student body, carrying out campus improvement projects, and pushing for legislative and policy change within the BC administration that we believe will best uphold the dignity of our community.” His quotes were extremely long, but my word count is extremely high.

“So you’re a lobbyist,” I concluded. “Not the way I would’ve put it, but sure,” Reeeeeeeed agreed. “Lobbyist implies we have high levels of influence in the halls of power. I wish that were true.” He then inquired whether I wanted to interview anyone else, such as the current UGBC president or the vice president-elect. “LOL, no,” I responded, laughing out loud as I did so.

My interview with Reeeeeeeeed was telling. For some time, I had wondered why UGBC existed, considering that it had never affected my life in any noticeable way. I had participated in one UGBC election—and only because Reeeeeeeeeeeed had told me to vote for him, or else he’d cancel the Islamic civilization and societies program, which could have affected as many as 15 students.

Gradually, though, I realized why UGBC exists. It’s not just so that all those social justice warriors majoring in international affairs and political science can feel important. UGBC acts as a rubber stamp for the BC administration, just like all those dictatorships that have parliaments so they can pretend to be democratic. Did you know that China has a congress? It’s basically Chinese UGBC.

“Should I keep writing?” I asked Tory “Torrington” Sivco, the girl sitting across from me as I composed this column. “No,” Torrington said. “Is this the worst column that I’ve written?” “Yes.”

I hope that my thesis won’t be this bad at least. In fact, that’s our mystery for next week: “Will Austin finish his thesis?”

Featured Graphic by Anna Tierney / Graphics Editor

March 25, 2018