Due to the coronavirus millions of college students are homebound after universities have physically closed their doors and switched to online classrooms. But fearing that getting a degree online won't get them the core college experience without their rehearsal spaces, expensive equipment, and backstage handjobs/fingerbangs, students at the NYU Tisch School of Art have inquired about getting some of that expensive tuition $$$ back. To which their dean responded:
In an email, Dean Allyson Grey informed the student body that she was sorry that they were now paying over $29,000 a semester to sit in their bedroom and learn how to dance over the internet, something they could do for free watching tweens on TikTok. Nonetheless, Tisch could not give out refunds as, in fact, the quarantine was actually "costing the school and the University millions more." But for those of her performing arts students who didn't take stock in words, she decided to translate the message into the universal language of dance.
Also attached to the email was a link to a video where Dean Grey, a former dancer and choreographer, performs a commiserating groove to REM's "Losing My Religion," the Gen X anthem to their "eh, what are you going to do about it" attitude. Needless to say, Dean Grey's dancing message stumbled with her Gen Z students who declared it "tone deaf," which is a brutal 9.5/10 on the theatre nerd insult scale. But maybe if they'd applied the education they were no longer benefiting from, Tisch students may recognize a very deep and elaborate interpretative dance that fully explains the university's actions. Take this part for example:
Those wing-like motions clearly convey: "While you're struggling to pay for a flight home, your university is actually one of the wealthiest schools in America with an annual budget of $13.839 billion. While ...
That combination of a telling heel turn and smooth finger-wagging, reminiscent of Anna Pavlova, makes the bold statement: "So when we say this global pandemic is costing us millions, that's pocket change. Hell, we paid more than that renovating the president's penthouse and getting his son a free New York apartment."
But this emotionally charged, fluidly postmodern progression from a reach to a shrug to a grab conveys that most important message: "And while you think the equipment and theater spaces is a large part of what you pay for at Tisch, most of your money goes to (even by Ivy League standards) NYU's wildly overpaid faculty staff, like me! And if we gave you some of your own money, how will the university be able to afford to give us loans for our million-dollar beach houses it never expects us to pay back?"
Clearly, even via video, the educators at Tisch can offer their students very teachable moments.
For more weird tangents and info on his correspondence course in air traffic control, do follow Cedric on Twitter.