MIDDLETOWN, CT – Wesleyan President Michael Roth has reportedly heard, acknowledged, and truly internalized complaints by students that his school “doesn’t understand how hard academic work in an international pandemic can be.” Immediately concerned, Roth gathered a “focus group” to establish a new role which might encourage greater understanding between students and faculty. The group, which contained him and 7 other like-minded and passionate board members, came to the conclusion that they would be hiring new Empath Assistants for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. These self-professed “empaths” will work as mediators between the misunderstood student body and their impartial, objective professors.
In his announcement of the new position of Empath Assistant (EA), President Roth made it clear that the tenured professors had done their darndest to reward those who are willing to take on such a role. Unfortunately, President Roth announced that “due to this realization coming partway through the semester, we will be unable to make room for financial compensation for the EAs. However, we hope that the added bonus of finally being ‘heard’ will be enough of a reward for the intense emotional labor involved.”
Some of the students in Roth’s classes, however, seemed unconvinced that this would encourage truly unbiased understanding in terms of the cultural and political context. Sarah Macchi, ‘23, believed that the lack of financial help would unfortunately ensure that only the most “financially-privileged of empaths” would be able to take on this position, whereas Sam Jackson, ‘24, found the fact that “the professors are still forcing the excess labor onto the shoulders of the students” to be objectionable.
However, as Wesleyan University has made it clear that they will hopefully be expanding the EA program over the next couple of years, while keeping the structure set up by Roth, we at the Groundhog can only look forward to how it can improve student-professor relations.