Anglic Union

“That was what led to the faculty committee,” Elektra answered, “the minority report, and the much thicker majority report which I gather you’ve already received. However, the Federal Technical University was a major promise of mine, a promise I needed to make in order to assemble a majority coalition. You may rest assured, Glorious Day, that I will be keeping that promise.”

“I read the majority report,” Glorious Day grumbled. “Having finished, I am reminded of more pleasant activities. Anaesthesia-free root canal surgery comes to mind. Once upon a time when I was an undergraduate there were certain group of examinations whose answers were referred to as ‘efforts to snow the faculty’s grader’, and the student newspaper in early June would predict as its weather report that a blizzard was expected. The majority report was a truly exemplary piece of that species of writing. Unfortunately it made it completely unclear what they were trying to cover up.”

“To that question I know the answer,” Michael said, “but I promised on my word as a Senator that I would never reveal it. Of course, it occurs to me that I gave that promise to Drummond-McLaren, so perhaps the promise is void, but it was backed by the offer of a cabinet position, so I freely and willingly gave my word. Also, I actually don’t know the useful details.”

“I can fill you in,” Elektra said. “I read the minority report. There are standard set of examinations administered by industrial groups, to judge how competent graduates are. These examinations have been standard for a good century. Some of them test background, and others test higher-level skills. Supposedly the standards on these exams have not varied over the last century. The industrial groups view it as a close-held trade secret how they managed to pull that one off. However, in recent years, say the last decade, the fraction of students scoring well on examinations has fallen markedly.”

“Did the minority report mentioned the associated complaints to the House from industrial organizations?” Michael asked.

“No,” Elektra answered. “What complaints?”

“Sent by industrial groups to the higher administration,” Michael said, “which responded that standards were higher than ever, and in any event it was none of the business of the industrial groups what the Federal Technical College teaches. We have a file of those complaints, and the responses, courtesy of a few friends.”

“Oh, dear,” Elektra said. “The minority report reached me by a circuitous channel. I inquired of the authors, who told me that under faculty rules they were not allowed to discuss it. If they did discuss it, they would be up on charges, and the Administration would surely fire them.”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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