New College is famous for being a little out there. So it is no surprise that the same thing is found in the New College Student Alliance (NCSA). A newsletter sent out to the student body in the fall of 1982 by the NCSA president at the time, Michael McDuffie, adequately captures the spirit of a student government that does not always take itself seriously.
“Dear first-time-at-New-College student,” the letter opens. “I hope the first week of classes has left you at least partially emotionally and psychologically intact. If so, I’d like to invite you to contribute to the process of ‘making the college work.’” The letter, which came in a packet with several documents from the NCSA, including the NCSA constitution, the student code of conduct and the elections code, asks first-years to get involved in the NCSA and attempts to educate them on the process.
“I really do encourage any of you who are interested to … enter your name on the ballot. Elections at [New College] are, as a rule, somewhat non-competitive – a hot race is one where there are two seats and three candidates – please spare me the task of having to appoint people to these positions,” McDuffie writes (it is amusing to note that in terms of student interest in the NCSA, absolutely nothing has changed despite a significantly expanded student body).
“Please take the time to at least glance over these documents,” McDuffie pleads. “The Constitution is amusing … and the Judicial Procedures are a wonderful glacial monument to the ability of the University bureaucracy to make the English language perform a variety of specialized tricks (roll over and play dead, for example…).”
“Please contact me through box 376 if you have any questions,” the letter finishes, “or stop by 209, the office in the back, morningafternooneveningmotherthiscan’tbemidnightalready where I work and avoid work. Seeyaround, Michael McDuffie, Presidenthing.”
No wonder no one takes us seriously.