Columns, Opinion

FONTANA: Mighty, Morphing, Bureaucracy Rangers

When I first got to Boston University all those years ago, I knew it would be tough, like, “Oh no! What’s that? It’s an earthquake, everybody stay calm!” [Insert mass hysteria]. But after all these years, the words of one blue-colored Ranger have started ringing in my head — “Something tells me this is no earthquake.” Well Billy, you couldn’t have been more right.

Sometimes I wish that I could just throw down Rita Repulsa’s wand and shrink the university. I’d then pickup it up and just shake all of the bureaucratic nonsense out of everyone’s heads so that they might actually see the havoc they wreak on students lives. If simply being in a foreign environment isn’t bad enough, impossible classes, making friends, eating, breathing, just staying alive probably covers a normal person’s limits. But for someone out there, these just weren’t hard enough. And voilà, in walks good old bureaucracy. And not just any bureaucracy, but a special BU brand of it (patent pending).

When I’m walking down the street, feeling good, trying to get something positive done, I go and check my email, or walk into an office and suddenly I feel like a Bubble Boy. I get hit in the face with the “BU bureaucracy busy line effect.” No matter where I go or what I do, without fail, I always seem to be talking to the wrong person. It’s either not their fault, they don’t know the answer, or, in those very special cases, they just don’t seem to work here at all. They may be sitting behind a desk, wearing a BU shirt with a little Rhett bobble head and getting a BU paycheck, but for the amount of assistance they can offer me, they might as well be working at Boston College. Or better yet, let’s just say a poorly handled daycare. Because the minute I bring a problem to their door, it must suddenly sounds like I’m speaking some foreign version of “Goo goo gaa gaa”. And emails, well, it takes about three or four to even get a response back, and by the time you do, you’ve already forgotten the problem yourself or fallen prey to about a bazillion other ones. Yet who’s daring enough to stop these Bubbles from destroying the earth?

Well, we may not have any super, color-coordinated, ninja-skilled power rangers lying around, but there are certainly some people and places that still act as forces of good on campus. They really are here to help the students and not just hinder us as we navigate our way through higher education — the Zordons of BU.

But these powers of good are few and far between, and after issues with housing, buying books, academia-advising and even simply getting paid, for such a large and prestigious university, it’s far from a well-oiled machine. Sometimes I think if you throw me in a blue dress and give me a little terrier named Toto, that I’d have my very own adventure in Oz. Except for the fact that when we did finally get to the Wizard in the Green Monster city, even after beating the Wicked Academic Classes of the East, that the Scarecrow would still be in class trying to pass MA 001, the Lion would be cowering in some corner of Allston surrounded by broken glass and rats and the Tin Man would be over on the BU bridge covered in rust from all the freezing and thawing, winter after winter, permanently without oil. And what would the Wizard say to little old me, “Go directly to Jail, do not pass go and do not collect your diploma.”

I feel like I finally understand why Frank Ocean wrote his song “Thinkin’ ‘bout you,” because for those of you who are new here — a tornado flew around my university, before you came, excuse the mess it made, it doesn’t usually rain in Boston. And although that last part is clearly a lie, that tornado is most certainly not. It’s the same one that leaves messes of paper on my desk and keeps my clock permanently stuck at 2 a.m. A tornado that came to Boston all the way from Kansas and plopped us right in the thick of this crazy, Technicolor bureaucracy I hope to one day call my alma matter.

It’s my last year here, and frankly I’m tired, and I’m ready to head off leaving some positive change behind. Not just change worked through one of the many organizations offered on campus, but change of the very system. While that’s certainly more easily said than done, and I may not have a Megazord’s assistance, I think it’s time BU heard back from this Scarlet Ranger. So putty patrollers of departments beware — “It’s Morphing Time!”


David Fontana is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Fall 2012 columnist for The Daily Free Press. He can be reached at [email protected].

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