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Parties, Parking and the Proletariat

Robert C. Holub, the Chancellor, the top dog, some people love him, some people hate him. I don’t really know the guy. I do know, however, that while many people don’t want to live anywhere near the UMass campus; he lives right on campus at the Hillside House, a building centered between Orchard Hill and Central. Though I’m guessing Holub doesn’t have much of a choice. Being surrounded by nerds and hippies so close to the hill with all the pot smoke and noise of some horrible Phish/Sublime cover band on April 20 – that would drive anyone out. The Hillside House reminds me of the Klopek’s house in the movie “The ‘Burbs.” Although I doubt there are any human skulls in Holub’s basement, the house still is a mystery to me and others.  

It does seem like the Chancellor’s house is on occasion the place for some pretty ritzy parties and I’m not talking about the time we shot-gunned beers in his driveway. Occasionally, the driveway is packed with cars and a UMass Catering van. Since I’m not really into the idea of peeking through the windows during these parties, I can only imagine what goes on inside. Things like topless women feeding grapes to guests while they sip fine wine that flows from a fountain in the center of the room and platters made of gold with exotic cheeses on toothpicks decorate the tables alongside sandwiches with Dijon mustard made on whatever is fancier than wheat bread. (Rye maybe?) I imagine these parties going on late into the night with all varieties of entertainment as these aristocratic guests laugh and joke, while the lower class feed on wings and room temperature PBR after slaving over a week of essays and exams.

My imagination might be a tad far from reality but there have been social gatherings at the Chancellor’s house in the recent past.

One thing that has been an issue in the past with these social gatherings is parking for the guests.

Last fall semester the parking lot next to the Chancellor’s house was an ideal spot for any resident of Orchard Hill or Central and was always full because of this. However, since the start of the spring semester this has not been an option for any resident with a parking pass for the purple lots. This is due to the fact that over winter break the lot was changed into a blue lot reserved only for staff and TA’s.

The reason for this change was that since the completion of the new Integrated Sciences Building there has been a demand for more parking spots for faculty. This story would be a lot easier to believe if the lot was anywhere close to the Integrated Sciences Building, or if the newly changed lot was even full with cars. But the truth is the lot is still a hike from the building and it is nowhere near full during the day and completely empty at night, that is unless there is a social gathering going on at the Hillside House. On those nights the lot is full once again… how very convenient.

Now anyone who’s received a parking ticket on campus knows just how wonderful the people of UMass Parking Services are – whose social lives, I imagine, must be similar to that of an IRS auditor or Steve Bartman. It’s even better to see the toothless smile of an Ernie’s Towing truck driver as he drives off with your ’94 Ford Taurus hanging off the back of his truck. I would assume that the loss of this purple lot is slightly irritating for someone who paid $275 for a parking permit. Like Raul Montero, a friend of mine who lives in Central. He said, “They didn’t turn a blue lot into a purple or offer any reimbursement, I’m a little pissed.”

I know I must be sounding like a negative nancy right now, complaining about a parking spot, but it’s not just the parking spot that’s upsetting me about this whole situation. It’s the fact that the Chancellor is having all these fancy parties and I haven’t been invited to any of them. I mean c’mon man, I’m a pretty decent guy once you get to know me! And I make a cheese dip that is absolutely delicious, just ask my friends. I could make some if you want, you know, for your next party. I’m not asking you to invite everyone with a parking pass for the purple lot, just me. I could be your guest of honor; you could give a toast about me from your wine fountain, the guests could sit around listening to my stories and laughing at all my jokes and when an angry mob forms outside of your house with pitch forks and torches, chanting, “Let us park or let us in!” I would simply say, “Let them eat cake.”

Ben Sullivan is a collegian columnist. He can be reached at btsulliv@student.umass.edu.

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