Potential merge between CS and MLL?


CS Chair John Rieffel unsure how to calm the students in despair

Jing Chen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Disclaimer: the article below is satirical, and meant to be a humorous and exaggerated expression of perspectives of campus culture for entertainment purposes. This article is not necessarily intended to reflect the truth, offend readers, or stoke controversy.

The chair of the Computer Science Department has made a groundbreaking decision marked historic in the advancement of computer science education beginning in April. Chair John Rieffel has sent out an email announcing the exciting potential merge between the Computer Science (CS) and Modern Language and Literature (MLL) department. As Rieffel explains, this is in recognition of computer science as a liberal arts discipline. The new department would bestow the name “Modern and Computer Languages and Literature (MCLL),” and offer terrific degrees in Bachelor of Arts in including B.A. in Python, Java, and C, ARM Assembly, Fortran, COBOL, and LaTeX studies. 

In support of interdisciplinary studies beyond MLL, each of these majors would collaborate with various departments on campus. For instance, ARM Assembly with the Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering department, Fortran with Classics and Physics, COBOL with Economics, and LaTeX with Math. Undoubtedly, these new degrees present breathtaking opportunities for not just students in CS, but the entire Union College community. To our knowledge, no other educational institutions have ever initiated such a compelling and promising program, and the Union College CS department would certainly impact computer science education forever. 

Many students studying CS cheer for this decision. Jordan An ‘23 cried in overjoy because he “cannot wait to major in LaTeX.” “I have finally found a way to accelerate my LaTeX knowledge for it is my favorite language. I’m glad the CS department is hearing all the Math and CS double majors out there,” he compliments. Jason D’Amico ‘24 joined the happy sentiment and went “immediately to fill forms to major in a B.A. in C because C is just so much fun” and he “ cannot wait to build his degree around it.” 

Five days later, Rieffel followed up with an email that devastated many students. He explained that the newly born MCLL major was only an “April Fools joke.” Many students were heartbroken and refused to believe the harsh reality. Angry students mobilized and stormed Rieffel’s office petitioning to bring back the MCLL major, to which Rieffel only shrugged his shoulders. Outrage and melancholy filled the air as students grieved over the lost opportunities to major in fascinating languages like COBOL. 

Emma Vu ‘24 was among one of the students, who wept that “I literally dropped my phone after reading the email. As an Economics-CS ID major, I was so ready to major in COBOL.” Few students denied the truth of the email because “John even changed his signature in the email to Co-Chair, Modern and Computer Languages and Literature,” only to realize that Rieffel has changed it back to “Chair only of the actual Computer Science Department.”