On the ordinarily happy occasion of the feast of our Patron Saint, St Barclay of Cashpoint, I take the wholly precedented step of writing to you all with regard to our CONTRIK-69 Emergency Relief Fund in the hope that you - our friends and members - will spring to the rescue of an institution which I know to be worthier of your charitable thoughts as well as closer to your hearts than any other.
In normal circumstances today would be a day of unbridled celebration as we give thanks for our good fortune [in the hope of even greater abundance in the future!], finalise our Annual Accounts and say “well done” to our departing students on the occasion of their graduation and smooth translation into the status of "deeply indebted non-resident benefactors".
Alas we live in difficult times. Lock-down, social distancing and the suspension of ordinary life under the strict regimes instituted by the local militia have presented a bleaker landscape for all of us than anyone [least of all the Bursar] could have anticipated. But for colleges like Alma Matter the impact of these unhappy disruptions has been far worse. It is no exaggeration to say that we have been dealt a dispiriting and frankly alarming “double whammy”, for not only has CONTRIK-69 meant a devastating loss of income [a decline in student rents, shop rents, and serious losses on our £53 billion investment portfolio] but, the feeble nature of this virus has meant that many fewer benefactors than predicted have been “gathered up”, with the result that a number of much-anticipated legacy gifts have failed to mature in a timely fashion. As the Chaplain said at “Virtual Communion” earlier this morning "at least the plagues of Egypt wiped out the towel-heads, but this pathetic shit-storm has hardly affected the rich at all”. [The Chaplain is currently undergoing a compulsory wokeness re-education programme under the direction of the Master and several of our social science fellows.]
We are reminded too - on this very special day - of the tremendous importance of another significant marker in this difficult year - the “Fat Lives Matter” Campaign - a subject of abiding interest to many of our regular High Table dining Fellows. Alumni will have viewed with admiration the recording of the deeply thoughtful “webinar” held earlier this month in which the Master was joined by panelists Russell Grant and Tessie O’Shea tribute act Pattie O’Bese for a thought-provoking discussion and a Full English. Viewers can be reassured that the Master’s promise to investigate the source of all vegetarian products entering the College’s kitchens [including historic deliveries ['Roots Must Fall!"]] will be quietly kicked into the long-grass by his soon to be installed successor.
So, returning to the immediate point in hand, we need your money and we need it fast. We need as never before. Whilst we may well have written to you in the past [if not please do drop us a line] begging for your hard-earned cash, this time it is really serious: students, for example, may be denied tuition if they cannot produce a valid credit card and some may starve to death if we are forced to use our Student Hardship Fund for the purpose for which it is intended only to find that its capital value is some way short of the reported figure. [Those "Libraries" don’t come cheap!]
I now want to address what I know is - for some - the elephant in the room, I must mention the ongoing £384 million “Library” project. Some uninformed and sadly short-sighted members have asked whether, in hindsight, it was wise for the College to spend so much money on a vanity project when we should have been “repairing the roof in preparation for wetter days”. In other words, should we not have used our [formerly your] money more wisely? To this we say a robust NO! Rather we congratulate ourselves on our foresight in starting this project when we did. Imagine the scorn that would be heaped upon us if we proposed to waste this vast sum of money in the present climate when many other - some would argue more insistent - demands are made on our meagre resources! Thank goodness we acted as we did and that we now have a large, empty and wholly redundant building to watch depreciate!
All that said we - and more importantly our persistently needy but uniformly excellent students - continue to require and expect your support. You should give generously without hesitation and without qualms. You owe it to your College for everything it has done - and continues to do - for you. Not to help at this time of need would be not only a dereliction of duty, but a slap in the face to the departing Master who has made many changes to the College all of which will be very costly to repair.
Turning on this celebratory day to non-financial affairs, I must congratulate the graduating cohort on their very special achievement this year. Despite the stresses and strains of living at home for terms on end in absolute bone-idleness and not having to do proper examinations, I am delighted to report that 100% of our final year students achieved a First [56 starred] putting us co-equal in the unofficial League Tables with all of the other colleges. Well done to them all. Sadly normal graduation has not been possible but we hope to organise an event in future when all of our graduates can return to College to express their gratitude in the customary way [contactless payment systems are being tested as I write]. Happily we have addresses for all of them so we will be in touch soon to invite them all to give generously - especially to the Emergency Fund for Students which will, we know, be close to their hearts.
So on this very special day we give thanks for all that we have whilst expressing the hope that this time next year we will have so much more - both to celebrate and to invest in high-yielding stocks. Nobis dabit pretium!
Until I write again next week
Mr Bloodfromastone Strongarm [FELLOW FOR RAPE AND PILLAGE]
On behalf of:
Mr Pyles O’Maney [BURSAR]
Mr Bengt Pryor-Aetes [CHIEF INVESTMENTS OFFICER]
Mr Keith Ledger [ACCOUNTANT]
Dr Cunning-Spybot [FELLOW FOR ALUMNI INVESTIGATION & COVERT TRACKING]
(ASSISTANT: Ms Vi Russe)
Mr Guy Puramid-Sales [VANITY PROJECT DEVELOPMENT OFFICER: (External Affairs)]