(Graphic: MICHELLE FU/The Stanford Daily)
Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.
It was Feb. 31, 2024 of my freshman year when the news finally hit.
That rambunctious reporter was at it again, unfortunately, and he was the first to break the news to all of us that MTL was finally resigning after some years of investigations into his papers. (I don’t understand what that rambunctious reporter had against the guy. I mean, how can you not love the man serving us pancakes at midnight.)
The investigation never actually concluded, it was sort of hushed up and never spoken about again, but I guess something happened that resulted in MTL’s resignation. Stanford never mentioned why he was resigning, other than that he was seeking to pursue some other unspecified endeavors in his life.
It was all low key. He quietly left Hoover House and practically disappeared off the face of the planet (he went back to Canada), leaving a void at the very heart of Stanford University. Hoover House was left empty. The University had lost its president, leaving behind a power vacuum. Students tried to adjust to a life without MTL, but it was a difficult period in all of our lives. There was something off about not getting served pancakes by him during Midnight Breakfast or seeing him hype us up during Big Game week.
I watched many brave students fall during our darkest hour, unable to even bring themselves to say the words “Stanford.” There was no Stanford without our favorite Canadian (because let’s be honest here, who actually likes Ryan Reynolds?). Everyone was like a bee without their queen. Looking back at it, it was pathetic. There were people moping around in the rain, crying rather obnoxiously over a man that appeared at events with a smile and a wave, kind of like the Queen of England.
Obviously, I wasn’t a part of this pathetic and pitiful population of sad students. His disappearance had no negative effect on me. In fact, I welcomed MTL’s resignation. Sure, I’d miss him, like how a hoarder would miss that candy bar wrapper they kept for five years because it was a special Christmas edition one, but I didn’t really care about him. Call me heartless, but I had borne witness to MTL’s Stanford.
I witnessed the Great Depression of CS students as the jobs they thought would be waiting for them in Silicon Valley disappeared and were taken by AI. MTL did nothing but allow AI to come into campus and take away their jobs. CS professors were replaced with AI. Students were replaced with AI. The acceptance and application rates decreased because of the irrelevance of computer science, and then the applications themselves were replaced with AI. But this wasn’t the worst of it. When the sports season began, MTL’s University did nothing to stop the Cal Berkeley students from absolutely crushing us in every sport. And it wasn’t like they were legitimately better than us.
Unsurprisingly, Cal resorted to dirty tricks. A coalition of them banded together and managed to persuade MTL to mess around with athlete recruitment in their favor by bribing him with unlimited access to Oski the Bear, which worked because Marc had always wanted an official school mascot.
We probably should have noticed much sooner that there was something off with our athletic teams. Their tails really should have been telling, and the floppy ears, and the barking, and the inclination to chase a squirrel up a tree. You would think we’d notice our teams were made up of dogs in wigs, but that thought never occurred to us at all.
It was only a huge scandal when that rambunctious reporter (again, why him?) revealed this, but the scandal was still not enough to truly bring MTL down. Students stopped caring after two days of protesting. Apparently, the idea of sleeping outside of his home in the cold, wet rain wasn’t worth it for many of them.
It was clear to me, and it has always been clear to me, that MTL never truly cared about us. The man only cared about himself. He never created change, unless that change had benefited him or his image. I knew something had to change.
That’s when I realized it — if MTL had resigned, then there was a vacancy. There was no Stanford president. Stanford would surely have to hire someone to fill that void. They would need someone dedicated to Stanford. Someone who was intelligent and charismatic, with the ability to turn a blind eye whenever needed. Someone who would willingly sell themselves out.
Someone like me.
And then, I saw my sign. My moment. It was a post on Handshake calling for applications for “University President” with a starting salary of a bajillion figures.
I knew immediately I had to toss my hat in the ring. I didn’t care that “freshmen never get anything.” When I saw the posting on Handshake, you better believe that I applied. That’s why, when I got the email from Persis Drell begging me to take the job, to pour my time and effort into this new endeavor, all I had to say was, “Girlie, I got this.” It was also the last thing she asked of me before she resigned, so obviously I couldn’t refuse her.
I mean, who else would understand the wants and the needs of the Stanford population better than a current Stanford student? Sure, I’ve been here for a couple of years, but it feels like I’ve been here for a lifetime. I think I know the needs of every Stanford student. I certainly know my own needs. And I am a Stanford student. Therefore, I am the best representative.
I knew, going into this, that I was going to be the people’s president. I wasn’t motivated by the fact that I’d get to live in Hoover House (which is a huge upgrade from GovCo, by the way, but of course anything would be an upgrade from GovCo, except Crothers, or FloMo, or West Lag, or Branner, or Soto, or Larkin). Also, the fact that I’d be paid more than a million dollars as a 19 year old played no part in my decision or motivation to be the president. I care deeply about the issues of Stanford students, like me.
I was in this because I wanted to create positive and lasting change. I wanted to end this War on Fun. I wanted to end the investment into fossil fuels (because nuclear is where it’s at right now). I care deeply about beating Cal — there’s a reason why I’ve beheaded every teddy bear I’ve ever owned. I’m just that devoted to Stanford. That’s why, after I was revealed as Stanford’s new president, I put all of those Stanford dollars to good use and held a record-breaking parade, inviting all of those British artists that refused to perform for King Charles’ coronation, and designated the entire month of March as a celebratory month in my honor. After all, March was Women’s History Month, and I was making history as Stanford’s first female president.
Of course, after all of the celebrations, I immediately got to work, by which I mean that I spent a good chunk of my time renovating Hoover House. I mean, if parts of campus were going to be renovated, I might as well renovate my new house as well. It just makes sense, logistically, of course. I wanted to make the House even more beautiful, and it did become more beautiful. Besides that, I actually did do real work. I tried to fix the tuition issue, I really did, but it just seemed more profitable to continue to raise tuition and have people pay the University more.
But, I just wanted to put it on the record that I really did try to lower tuition. I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be great for the business if I did. My hands were tied. And I could keep naming all of my other efforts to improve life on campus for students, but then we’d both be here for a very long time because believe me, I really did try my hardest to fight for my fellow students.
Early on in my presidential career, a small group of 7,645 undergraduates called for me to step down. Obviously, as the people’s president, I did what all good leaders do. I released a Twitter poll asking my followers if they thought I should step down, promising to abide by the results of the poll. Surprisingly, many students voted for me to step down at the beginning, but for some reason, after a couple hundred expulsions, the votes shifted. And as promised, I abided by the results of the poll and stayed on as Stanford’s president.
And those that supported me, well, I rewarded all of them with their deepest desire: fun. I brought fun back onto campus. It was rather easy, actually. Turns out, if you ask a crowd if they’re having fun with a bullhorn enough times, they’ll eventually cave in and say yes.
But I did make efforts to bring fun back. I wrote up a statement allowing the Omega-Aloe Fraternity to host weekday parties and be exempt from doing p-sets and taking midterms/finals, but some random administrator put a stop to that. I had no idea who it was, nor did I care, but the more I tried to give our strong community of fraternities and sororities exemptions from the expectations of typical students, the more the administration tried to resist me. It was like they wanted me to fail, even though they were the ones who paved the way for my assumption of power. They ruined everything I had set out to do as President of Stanford.
It wasn’t my fault we couldn’t have fun. It was never my fault. I was powerless against Stanford’s administration.
So I did what I had to do. Some people have criticized me for this decision, but I still stand firm in it. I fired all members of the administration. They were in my way. I had no choice but to do this. They pushed me to my limits and I wasn’t going to back down. I was going to fight for Stanford, and I did. I fired all of them.
Some of them threatened to sue me for wrongful termination. I remember a few nasty emails and tweets they hurled at me, but they never did. And I dared them to sue me. In fact, I wanted them to sue me. I knew they’d never win.
After all, I learned from my predecessor, a man that I have grudgingly come to respect. All I had to do was change a few details here and there, making it seem like I actually had a valid reason to get rid of them, when really, I didn’t. And HR wasn’t a problem because I also fired HR. Any issues they had with me, they had to take up with me. And for some reason, I just never found anything wrong with me.
Once they were gone, it was just me. I was the administration. I was the bureaucracy. The whole school leadership agreed it was a major improvement.
The greatest test to my power came during my senior year, when I decided I was just going to allow myself to graduate and force everyone else to study for another year before they could graduate. In my defense, the reason why I needed my fellow seniors to study for another year was because I needed their money, I mean, the University needed them. If anything, my fellow seniors should have felt special that I wanted their talents for another year.
Some of them tried to rally against me, if you’d even consider what they did was a rally. A few of them shouted chants at me, asking me to step down, but after sending emails alerting them of their expulsions, no one else seemed to mind paying for an additional year.
After crushing the opposition against me, I thought I was invincible, but unfortunately, I wasn’t. I grew too cocky and too sure of myself. I allowed myself to fall from grace. Just as God had cast Lucifer down to Hell, I cast myself down to the Hell we know as Cal when it was revealed that I had picked Cal’s Law School over Stanford Law School.
And of all the people to break that news, it was again, that rambunctious reporter.
I guess, looking back at my time as Stanford’s president, maybe I wasn’t as transformative as I thought I was. Maybe I wasn’t the greatest person to replace MTL, but I was certainly better than him. And you know what, maybe I am jealous that I wasn’t the one to break the news of the imposter or MTL’s data mishaps, but you know what? I was my own scandal. That’s all that matters.
And because of my controversy and scandal, Penguin Random House approached me with a book deal to write about my time as Stanford’s short-lived and tragic president. It’s also why Netflix was going to film a docuseries about my time. Maybe I couldn’t profit off of the tragedies of MTL or William Curry or SBF, but at least I can profit off of my own.
Judy N. Liu is a freshman from Fountain Valley, California. She enjoys embroidery, listening to music, and reading as much Agatha Christie and John Steinbeck as she possibly can.