Volume 9, Issue 3
I’ve not always been one to trust in signs. But in the furious scramble for meaning in our post-BIP world, I thought I had found one. Alas, dear friends: it slipped through my fingers as easily as it escaped the machine by which it came to be.
We true unimelb acolytes always felt in our hearts that the Business Improvement Plan — the gospel that freed us from our former extravagances — would redeem itself.
But the messianic BIP improvements to our university experience never seemed to materialise. The wait continued; then became agonising. Many left the flock, turning their backs on the invisible hand’s deft puppetry. Student centres closed, staff glumly shredded their contracts and those wishing to change their course structure found it easier to simply transfer to La Trobe.
Despite the many who disputed your righteousness, BIP, I maintained my faith and knew that the day of deliverance would come. And, like some of history’s most infamous miracles, yours too seemed to be water-based.
The rumour of it scurried through the ravines and gullies of the law school’s gossip network, as do mice in search of the crumbs of their tender humility. It reached me in the midst of International Human Rights Law, where we were deeply engaged in viewing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through a post-BIPian lens. (Well, had you considered it?) The waiting was over; the sign had come:
A water fountain, divining fluid of the most intense frigidity!
Yes! The BIP had taken the wheel! The genius and the mortal instruments of bureaucracy were suddenly in ecstatic council! On level two, right in the heart of the law school’s main arterial flow, a brand new water fountain had been installed.
Initial reviews were positive, as the people began, warily at first, to lap at the wet stuff of life emerging from the contraption. I knew I had to experience this wonder myself, and veritably set forth. I felt intuitively that the fountain would embody all that was great about the BIP. My BIP. Our BIP.
There was a line confronting the great device, but I could be patient. When it was finally my turn to approach the altar, I was ready to drink the blood of our saviour. But I was left only with the sour taste of betrayal.
The BIP was intended to provide a more efficient provision of services. Though my heart was racing, the fountain’s speed was not: seventeen seconds to fill a 600ml bottle — Stop 1 would have serviced at least one person in that time! The BIP was to reinforce our position as one of the world’s top universities. How ever is that to be if we are furnished with room temperature water! The BIP was designed to reallocate resources, but here a fountain on a floor already with two fountains was replaced by a replacement fountain!
The scythe of efficiency had severed its own head.
I overheard one voice shout: “It’s not the messiah! It’s just a very bad fountain!” I wrapped my arm around this morose figure, and we exited the scene.
Oh, BIP: how I did compare thee to a summer’s day, the heat of which is embellished lustily by our gently simmering planet! I myself composed sonnets — true lyrical symphonies! — in your honour while maintaining a patient vigil in the Sisyphean swelter of the Stop 1 queue. Now the music goes to die on my lips.
I had a dream, but now that dream is gone from me.
Scott Colvin is a third-year JD student
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Also in Issue 3:
A Food Co-op for MLS?
The Clerkship Diaries: Mission Indispensable
Miss Sian Indispensable
Why We Like It When Leo Wins
A Really Weird Show: A Month in Kununurra, WA – Part 2 of 2
At The Movies with Sarah & Tom
Sarah Goegan, Tom Monotti