Wednesday has been a devastating day: We, the students of SciencesPo Paris in Menton cannot use the lift: “Il semble bon de vous rappeler qu’il est interdit aux étudiants d’utiliser l’ascenseur.” Even though we had feared it long ago, this was an email hard to swallow.
By Christoph Trost
SciencesPo denies us ascending, elevating ourselves. This is SciencesPo’s message hidden in architecture: students must use stairs, crawl up step by step, painstakingly, spilling coffee all over their pants while being late for class. Life is not easy, kids, nobody will make it easier for you. Don’t rely on gadgets lifting you up. You need to climb up the ladders of offices, diplomatic corps and social hierarchies yourself!
Thank you, SciencesPo, for pulling us down to earth after Bono’s empty promises: “I and I, in the sky, you make me feel like I can fly, so high, elevation!”
On the other hand, this established doctrine might be part of a divide and rule strategy: If we don’t use the lift, then who does? Professors, administrators do so in an attempt to remain separate. After all, professional distance is top priority here. So much, that some lectures resemble more the metallic voices of radio programs from the 1960s: Lots of eloquent, ice-cold talking, never getting concrete or even personal. But this distance has to be enforced coherently, without hypocrisy and double-standards: If we base this uni on distance and seclusion, then we ought to do that everywhere.
Please, professors and administrators, pee elsewhere. Separate toilets are a must to maintain distance. A temporary solution for professor toilets could be the red portable toilet just at the entrance of our campus.
Secondly, dear Professors, SciencesPo does not encourage healthy life but could you please bring your own Twix and Bounty instead of sticking around our vending machines? Alternatively, feel free to bring an apple. But be aware, you might be stigmatized as “Vegetaux”.
And finally, if we really understand this obscure email as an attempt of segregation, then the lift and the third étage belongs to administrators and professors, not us. But in turn, they must not pass through our territory of the first and second floor! Unfortunately this is the nature of an elevator – passing through different floors. If professional distance is the philosophy of this place – so distant that emails to administrators remain unanswered for days or forever – then we need to install a helipad on the roof. Don’t pass through our space, dear administrators. Kindly fly in via the rooftop.
There can be a productive and comfortable atmosphere only if students and staff never meet.