Machiavelli’s classic lives on at GW

It has recently come to my attention that a certain university president is planning a revision of that classic text for city-state rulers, iron-fisted diplomats and Republican presidential hopefuls. Yes, I’m talking about Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince. Using my super-sleuth powers, I was able to obtain an advance copy of the revision. Here are some of the highlights:

Of the Various Kinds of Universities, and of the Ways in Which They Are Acquired. Perhaps the best way to acquire a university is to run another school into the ground, build up a tremendous debt by building too much, and then moving to the desired university that will serve as a political stepping stone. Another method is to find a school already in financial troubles and offer them some assistance. False promises about maintaining that school’s independence are also useful.

How the Strength of All Universities Should be Measured. One of the best ways to measure the strength of a university is to look at its portfolio. How much land does it own? What is the value of land it does own? Is the university planning on acquiring new land? How much new land? Also important is how much money the university has. A strong university should have lots of money and plans for getting much more money.

How Many Different Kinds of Administrators There Are, and of Mercenaries. It is best to import administrators from universities where they have already shown they ineptitude, lack of care for the students, and willingness to suckle at the teats of the president. Also helpful is to set the administrators against each other – their infighting will prevent them from plotting against the president.

Of the Duty of a University President in Respect of Academic Affairs. Academics have no place in the modern university.

Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether it is Better to Be Loved or Feared. It is better to be feared than loved, but it is best to be hated. If the students view a university president with nothing but contempt they will be busy complaining about everything and fail to perceive how they might plot to overthrow a university president.

Whether Residence Halls, and Certain Other Expedients to Which University Presidents Often Have Recourse, Are Profitable or Hurtful. After the acquiring of land and money for the endowment, building residence halls is an excellent step for the university. Not only will shoddily made halls allow the president to pack more students in, uncaring community facilitators will further discourage students from doing anything that might threaten the University.

That Flatterers Should Be Encouraged. Whenever possible, a president should have an entourage of flatterers or tools recruited from the student body and kept in line with cushy jobs and the promise of scholarships and fellowships.

The Lion, the Fox and the Hippopotamus. Forget the lion and the lox, a university president should emulate the mighty river horse, the hippopotamus. Not only will the placement of hippos around campus encourage idolatry, but also a large number of prospective students will be lured into the spider’s web by fabricated tales of hippo traditions.

Keeping the Student Association President in Line. Much like the flatterers/tools, the Student Association president or Hack Supreme can also be kept in line with the promise of a graduate land of milk and honey.

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