Ranking the last five emails from Fr. Jenkins
Davis Gonsalves | Wednesday, January 24, 2018
In 2016 we heard a pressing question: “What about her emails?” Well, I’m here to ask what about his emails? No, not Donald Trump, but our very own President Johnny J. I’ve sifted through the last emails sent from “The Office of the President” and feel these can be properly ranked. Jenkins has had a polarizing effect recently with the announcement of six required semesters on campus and his less-than-impressive Christmas greeting. How do we slot these controversial messages into a ranking? I’m here to help.
Caveat: The Office of the President sent an email after this article was written detailing the MLK Candlelight service. Obviously, the two-hour lunch break we usually have during MLK Day sufficiently celebrates cultural diversity, so it’s almost overkill to have a candle service, but I’m still glad he carried on. No ranking for this email, more of an honorable mention. Let’s begin.
- “ An Invitation from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. – President’s Student Office Hours”
I have personal beef with this email because I have applied for his Office Hours every semester since I have been here and have been deferred to whatever presidential reception is offered as a pity gift. I don’t critically think enough even to have issues to report, I just wanted to sit in whatever sick office he has and check it out. But no, I don’t get the time of day for whatever reason. I bet it’s because he doesn’t want to be ranked. Well, look where he ended up! I have the last laugh. He is quoted in the email as saying, “If the topic you wish to discuss is complex, I encourage you to provide as much detail as possible in the space provided in the request form. I will do my best to respond to your concern.” I promise you, my issue of why there should be a wizarding school on campus was not that mentally demanding. He could have seen me.
- “A Christmas Greeting from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.”
You should already be getting a sense that the full title of President Reverend John I. Jenkins comes attached with these emails. Anyways, this Christmas greeting is simple: “Merry Christmas” written in a nice script with a snow covered dome in the background. What is truly infuriating was the video link at the bottom. First point of contention is how it links straight to the video, not even a sound warning before the Christmas song comes on. In this video we see some crazy inconsistencies as well. Students and faculty are packing up for break with a very heartwarming Christmas carol in the background. As they pack up, they meet our president at the Christmas ball, which we will see later is Dec. 8. Do you have me believe that students are packing for break that early before they have even taken their finals? What try-hard student would preemptively pack that early just so they could attend the Christmas ball? On top of that, we see towards the end a student obviously getting into the car at library circle, but this same car driving away on Notre Dame Avenue. You can’t fool me administration! Try again.
- “A Message from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.”
Ooooo an ambiguous subject line, you know it will be juicy. And it was! This famous email detailed how students would be mandated to stay on campus for six semesters. I feel the pros and cons of this decision have been sufficiently debated, so I’m not really ranking on content. I put it in the middle because the prose itself is quite good. He starts out by saying they have student input, then pivots to the Holy Cross mission, and lastly to the importance of community. Of course I’m sitting here curious while also captivated before he specifically mentions Dunne Hall, my place of residence, and my dorm pride flares. He says we learned a lot before he hits you with the bomb: “The University will require first-year students, sophomores and juniors to live on campus for six semesters.” He qualifies with the studies they undertook and how they will provide new dorms. I honestly left the well-crafted message wondering if this was a good thing. Then 30 seconds passed and I remembered it wasn’t. But you cannot take away those 30 seconds of blissful ignorance I had. I will cherish those forever, and that’s why I moved this email to No. 3.
- “An Invitation from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.”
OK, so the naming of these emails are not particularly creative and it seems that President Jenkins is really pushing for his middle initial á la John D. Rockefeller. Anyways, this message is an invitation to the one-and-only President’s Christmas Reception, which was Friday, Dec. 8 (not when students are leaving for break). I didn’t go, but this thing sounds lit. Handbell Choir performance and parties on second, third and fourth floors. Watch out Zahm Zoo, hello Golden Dome Gala. The time being from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. was not particularly convenient, but maybe our president wanted us to still have time to go out later in the night — a true bro move.
- “Judge Sérgio Moro named commencement speaker”
I don’t really have jokes or comments for this one because Mr. Moro sounds pretty cool. I didn’t know who he was, but the email provided links from 60 Minutes, the New York Times and NPR so I could learn about him. Shows a conscious effort to bring someone foreign and diverse, noncontroversial and generally super impressive. Good stuff Fr. Jenkins, you kind of hit it out of the park on this one. Also, your subject line was different! That’s the real reason this email is No. 1.
I am not the biggest email guy in general, but when I get one from the Office of the President you best believe I get a little giddy inside knowing everyone who is also reading this will be critically analyzing every last word. Is that fair? Probably not, but it makes for some fun. The whole Notre Dame listserv is a great responsibility (as we have seen with CUSE), and I like to think Fr. Jenkins has used it semi-wisely.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.