President Geoffroy, I’m here to help

Tim Paluch

Talk about getting thrown into the fire. When Gregory Geoffroy takes his place as the 14th president of Iowa State University Monday, it won’t be much of a smooth and easy transition. From the get-go, he’ll be knee-deep in budget cuts, student apathy and an ongoing ISU Foundation records debate. And unlike our fine American president, expectations aren’t amazingly low; photo-ops and pre-written speeches aren’t going to get the job done. People are expecting him to shake things up a bit.

Geoffroy can’t allow himself to become hated by faculty groups and students like our last full-time president, Martin Jischke. Jischke was a distant dictator who sat in his throne up in Beardshear like it was his castle and he was our lord. Rarely did he converse with his servants, I mean students, and undergraduate education was No. 11 on his list of ten priorities for Iowa State.

Mr. Geoffroy, I’m willing to give you a chance to prove yourself to be someone who can shake the less-than-caring stigma associated with the presidency since Lord Marty trekked off to Purdue. That being said, I don’t think you can do it all on your own, so I am willing to help you out a bit. Here are a few things that can help you understand Iowa State a little better. Pay attention and you’ll find yourself in good with the students.

1. In April’s Ethos, you were asked about the ISU Foundation’s fund-raising records.

“Its financial expenditure records should be open,” you were quoted as saying.

Then this past week, in this very paper, you changed your view, claiming “The Foundation is a private foundation. I think that it’s appropriate that the detailed financial records remain closed.”

Remember those two comments in direct contradiction of each other? Well I do. Try not to do that again. Be honest and try to have an opinion of your own on important issues, not what’s convenient at the time. The administration here has enough puppets.

2. Walk to work. I know, I know, it’s really tempting to drive those three blocks in a big, gold Cadillac like Jischke always did, but it goes over with the students like a pregnant nun in church.

It’s a lot better for your image if you take the extra fifteen minutes and actually take a look at the campus. And here’s a novel idea – don’t be afraid to talk to some of those annoying young people with the backpacks on. You know, the students.

That way, we can refer to you as “President Geoffroy” or “The Prez” or “Greg” or “G squared,” and not “that rich, white guy who fired our teachers and gave all our money to engineering.” Take my word for it, it’s better that way.

3. Don’t mention the words “pledge” and “Veishea” in the same sentence. You might as well ban cargo pants and halter tops; it’s public opinion suicide. You’ll learn soon enough that students here care more about drinking themselves into a stupor one weekend a year than things that actually affect their education.

Teachers getting cut? No biggie.

Tuition rising again? We can always take out more loans.

Can’t drink three days out of the year? Let’s go throw signs into Lake LaVerne, set garbage cans on fire and urinate in public.

The Veishea pledge made students feel like the administration didn’t think we were responsible enough with alcohol, which of course, we’re not. But that’s not the point. We just don’t like being told we’re not.

4. A Cyclone is a violent weather phenomena native to the Midwest. Cy is a big red bird in an athletic jersey. We’ve all struggled with the logic of that one. Don’t ask.

5. Just once, throw some extra money to LAS. We’re dying over here.

Sure, we’re not going to build a virtual reality lab or breed a supercow, but students need to have some up-to-date facilities once they realize engineering isn’t going to work out and they make the switch to English. It’s no less important than any other college, but we always seem to be at the bottom of the budget totem pole.

6. Help us out a bit and change the pronunciation of your last name to its rightful form. “Jo-free?” Do we have to be so difficult? Looks like “Jeff-rey” to me. Let it go, man. There’s no use being stubborn and making us journalists look like idiots every time we mispronounce it.

7. Lay off the interns. (leftover Clinton presidential humor)

8. Lay off the crack. (leftover Dubya presidential humor)

9. Don’t treat GSB like a bunch of pushover college kids drunk with power who can’t really do anything about anything. They may not have the most power in the world, but my man Andy Tofilon is more than just a pretty face in a fancy suit.

Tofilon can not only put your wardrobe to shame, he can also unite the student body (at least the ones who care) against you and the administration. Working with the student government could do nothing but great good for all. It’s no coincidence President Tofilon and Vice President Charlie Johnson won by a landslide. These guys aren’t going to sit back and let undergraduate education get stomped on.

10. Buy red lipstick. I’ve heard that’s the color the donors and “other friends of the university” like best when you go kiss their asses for money. Wear a dress if you have to, we need the dough around here. Do what it takes.

These aren’t the only things that will keep you on the right side of the student body, but these will undoubtedly give you a decent foothold. There’s plenty more to talk about at a later time; the athletic department, free-speech zones, the Martin C. Jischke Honors Building and the DPS Parking Division, just to name a few. Give me a call and we’ll do lunch, on you.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the Daily.