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Anonymous Bosch

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Dear Readers:
It's that time of year again. April is the cruelest month, and to its ordinary cruelty (disappointments with spring, taxes, and fools) must be added the fact that rumors continue to plague Calvin College. One theory has it that the rumors accumulate year-round, but that they finally thaw out and become more offensively noticeable in the spring. Another theory suggests that the long winter causes a certain level of seasonal madness, and that the madness inevitably turns into arterial plaque, eczema, or rumors. This year, I favor the second explanation of rumor proliferation, if only because the winter-to-spring transition has been so protracted, sporadic, and cruel. Because we enjoyed summer days in March, snow is still in the forecast in mid-April—all of which produces seasonal affective disorder, which encourages the spread of rumors.
Herewith, then, another opportunity for the Rumor Control Ombudsperson to pursue the truth and to rout falsehood utterly. I'll begin with the most pressing matters, and move patiently toward the relatively inconsequential.

Rumor #1: Dating is becoming popular again at Calvin College.

Response: Rumors like this continue to crop up at Calvin. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no truth to such an allegation. It is true, of course, that many people meet at Calvin and are eventually married. However, these marriages occur without any observable interference from dating or other mating rituals; things are now just as they have been for several generations. The unsubstantiated claim that Calvin students actually date is, as far as I can tell, totally unfounded. My sources tell me that current students are indeed very interested in dating, but no friend of the college would be justified in claiming that interest in dating is the same things as actual dating. Now, as always, there are many forces which prevent dating: a curriculum which keeps students busy 18 to 20 hours a day, 6 days a week, 9 months a year, for 4 or 5 full years; terminal shyness; equating sex with death; narcissism; single-minded careerism; suburban life; intramural sports; fluoridation; non-interventionism; Republicanism; the prospect of marriage. As always, there are many good side effects of this monastic predilection. Varsity sports flourish; GPAs continue to climb; our graduates travel light and thus sprint away with the best jobs; there are almost never any conspicuous displays of affection in the public spaces of the college; and the air between the sexes is carried on almost entirely out of sight and out of mind. Surely all is well at Calvin, in this area at least.

Rumor #2: During the Interim Term, students often take the opportunity to waste their time and their substance in off-campus programs, traveling to Hawaii, China, Hungary, and who knows where.

Response: The facts about off-campus interims were bound to leak out sooner or later. Indeed, there are quite a few study-abroad interims offered every year now. But the time is now right to let alumni in on a well-kept secret about these programs. They are anything but time- and substance-wasting operations. Have you noticed something like a pattern in world events lately? Calvin students visit a country or region, and within months or year that country or region experiences wholesale reformation or revolution. Recent developments in China, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Nicaragua, and South Africa have occurred without exception in the wake of a Calvin tour of some sort, whether a choir tour, an interim, or a summer language and culture tour. Calvin insurgency groups in England, Spain, Chicago, Australia, Washington, D.C., Wales, Vietnam, and Hawaii have planted the seed, and you can confidently watch the newspapers for evidence of new political life in these regions as well. If, in fact, there is any reason for complaint here, I would point to the bias of whoever coordinates these expeditions. There are now trips being planned to Cuba, Albania, and Ann Arbor, but none, apparently, to South Holland, IL or Industry, CA.

Rumor #3: Calvin College will soon split from Calvin Seminary.

Response: This is not a rumor, exactly, at least to the extent that it is a fact. The college and the seminary already have separate presidents, deans, registrars, librarians, chapels, calendars, curricula, professors, students, buildings, budgets, and quotas, to mention a few differences. Then there are the separate cultures which define and distinguish the institutions: different student newspapers, bookstores, choirs, vacations, exam schedules, holidays, old-person networks, and careers. Add to this the fact that a great divide and a seminary pond separate the administrative offices of these institutions, and you will see what I mean when I refer to this split as a fact.

— Anonymous Bosch

This article was printed in the June 1990 issue of Spark.

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