Since I probably won’t be seeing all of you in person before I graduate, I figured I’d offer fond farewells to some of my favorite and frequent targets during my four years writing at UConn.
The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government deserves a warm hug after all of the ice cubes I’ve put down their shirt over the years. Take my most scornful column, for example: “USG Cannot be Trusted to Control Themselves.” Our connection is profound. I am the flea on the donkey’s back, a single student reporter attempting to reform and hold to account a mostly meaningless student organization.
The senators took exception last year when I noted in the last sentence of my coverage of their senate meeting: “The USG Senate spent an hour and forty minutes talking about themselves and internal issues. About twenty-five minutes were spent talking about UConn students at large.” USG and I met when I was a freshman and I covered their theater of corruption, where they pretended at procedure and being presidential, but aimed only for a resume builder. And that’s how my guy Mark Sargent became president.
I must admit that several friends of mine were once sucked into USG’s orbit. I love those friends. In a toxic, self-centered environment suspiciously predicated on narcissism and Greek Life, you all fought for the soul of your group’s purpose, failing to realize you were dealing with a soulless body. It wasn’t a pleasure, USG. Awh, who am I kidding? It was fun as all Hell.
The Black Sheep
What I’ll say for the Black Sheep (BS) is that they are consistently kind of/almost funny. They’ve chosen to be irreverent toward the Daily Campus – an institution over a century old that has produced hundreds of professional reporters – but that’s their prerogative. Except, you come at the king, you best not miss, and the shots they take never land. I don’t hate the BS. I just want them to be better. They were somewhat accurate (sans the “white bread” part) in their takedown of me: “Sten, your name sounds like the lead character for a Nickelodeon show that got cancelled after the kids in the test screening killed themselves. The guy has opinions, and you’re going to hear about them goddammit…” Still, BS can’t hold their own in a Twitter war, and their governing philosophy can be summed up in a quote I attributed to them in the Daily Scampus: “Haha, memes.” Ciao, Black Sheep. May you one day make someone laugh.
Susan Herbst and UConn’s administration
I’ve been after Mrs. Herbst and her cronies since I stepped on Storrs dirt. Whether it’s the ridiculous and unconscionable amount of money she and her staff make, her apparent evasiveness on issues of racism on campus or her and her employees’ overt tendency to value science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) over the humanities, I’ve been at Suzy’s side every step of the way. Sometimes she heard me, like when I called attention to the discrepancy in resources and overall support between the humanities and STEM. Her trusted associate, Vice Provost Sally Reis, responded by penning a letter to the editor of the Daily Campus attacking me and the article I’d written. I shot back, of course, eviscerating an unsuspecting Reis.
Madame President and company, you have been featured in Storytime with Sten, we have sparred, we have shared ambush interviews; but it’s time to move on. Thanks for the target practice, and enjoy your money.
The UConn Foundation
You won, okay? Sure, state legislators and those pesky open government crackpots have sought to increase your transparency, but you remain immune to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and you continue to allocate money to questionable endeavors, such as Susan Herbst’s living conditions. I know you don’t like me – you emailed the Daily Campus to say I was biased and ask for a follow-up puff piece to one of the finest articles I’d ever written my sophomore year, a follow-up I refused to write. My future editor wrote it instead, which explains a lot. That said, I look forward to never thinking about you again, and, in doing so, letting some other frustrated young Marxist try and fracture your armor.
It’s not the clichéd “I pay for my friends” thing or the fact that I’ve been turned away from your parties. It’s what you’re associated with – exclusivity, wealth, white privilege and disregard for anything but your brand. You’re a vestige of inequality and racist attitudes, as shown by your brothers at the Spirit Rock; an old-style city boss who shields himself from public scrutiny through philanthropy. Goodbye to you, may you grow obsolete and perish in your old age.
White Men, the Alt-Right and Trump-supporting Students
(We) you are ruining America. (We) you have no patience or curiosity for cultures different than your own. (We) you exploit black entertainment and black stereotypes to belittle. (We) you do nothing while black boys and girls and men and women have their bodies and rights assaulted every day. (We) you treat women as second-class citizens. (We) you elected an idiot because you felt comfortable in your own idiocy and bigotry. I’ll never be able to leave you, because we’re inseparable, and I must humble you.
Lil Uzi Vert and Drake
One is a cloying misogynist who doesn’t write his own lyrics, and the other is Lil Uzi. While there are few things in this world I hate more than Drake, Lil Uzi is inconsequential to me. I caught heat for saying Uzi is untalented and that SUBOG could’ve chosen a better artist.
At least neither Drake nor Uzi played this year’s spring concert. Kids today will never know I saw J. Cole and students before me saw Kanye and students before them saw Outkast. So long, Uzi. As for Drizzy: I’ll be seeing you.
You keep winning awards over more deserving black artists like Kendrick Lamar. Thanks for that THON money, though. I’ll say peace out now, as I don’t think I’ll have reason to write about you again. Carry on!
I think I speak for multitudes of students when I say relax, and stop ruining our parties. Focus on safety dangers like drunk driving, rioting, domestic disputes and the like. Why must you snuff out good times and pot smoking? Is it for sport? Spring Weekend used to be fun, people. Know your rights. I am rejoicing, for I’ll never have to deal with you and your pervasive presence again.
That’s it, folks. You all can delight in my departure. I’ll soon find other ways to satisfy my ire.
Editors Note: All sources linked to, excepting those directed toward the author, were written by the author of this article.
Sten Spinella is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.