By Joshua Wolk
LOS ANGELES, CA — Last Tuesday, the University of Southern California reported that the fifth student this month has passed away due to an SJACS-related incident. Drenched in water, freshman Melissa Madruno was rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but was declared dead from asphyxia upon arrival. Madruno was posthumously deemed not guilty of ethics violations by the USC Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards department, as she sank like a brick.
“The process is quite simple, really,” attested Pastor John of the USC Caruso Catholic Center, setting up his Lego recreation of the tragic event. He submerges a Storm Trooper minifigure in his lemonade. “An academically dishonest student’s vessel will spurn the sacrament of baptism and the water will reject their body, preventing them from sinking.” The minifigure pops to the surface. “Denmark and its devil-worshippin’ interlockin’ bricks,” the pastor angrily muttered under his breath, donning a Southern accent and promptly finishing his lemonade in one feverish slurp.
The Sack of Troy reached out to the plaintiff for an explanation of what spurred the allegation of cheating. “I saw Melissa in my Rorschach test,” explained professor of psychology Bruce Binningham. “She was stabbing a baby and having sex with a dolphin. It was clearly a sign.” SJACS accusations are not uncommon when academic integrity is at risk: last week, a test taker looked at his TA weirdly. The week before, a business major got an A- in a STEM GE.
Carol Folt, President of USC, noted her grievances with the antiquated system. “Trial by water is a gross miscarriage of justice on campus. The administration is searching for innovative ways to reform the SJACS process,” ensured Folt. “There’s simply not enough bloodshed. Even a quart would be enough. A liar’s blood tastes different. Sweeter. Like Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers.” Folt proceeds to pluck a few loose gummies from her wallet. “I hate the blue ones.”
SJACS has not always relied on drowning students. A century ago, USC departed from its previous method of jurisdiction: trial by combat in the Colosseum. “I always made sure to get front seats. It was wonderful,” said a custodian, eyes glimmering, who would only refer to himself as Vesuvius. SJACS phased out the policy after complaints from the USC football team that players kept slipping on scalps like banana peels.
USC is not alone in its more unconventional ethics system. “Unfortunately, colleges generally have full discretion on how they preside over cases of academic dishonesty,” explains leading education lawyer, Pete Bridges. “At elite universities, the dean is often the judge, jury, and executioner. The University of Pennsylvania casts the accused blindfolded and hands bound into the Allegheny National Forest, asserting that a pure heart will guide them to salvation. To this day, only one student has made it out alive, albeit with glassy eyes and a cheshire grin frozen on their face. When I first encountered cases like this one, I asked myself ‘Is God good?’ Now I know that it does not matter. There is no God. There is only the Dean.”
Students who do survive trial by water are charged as guilty. They face punishments ranging from being burned at the stake to waiting for the Expo Park metro after sunset. The Sack of Troy contacted previous defendant Alex Tomlin, whose tongue was cut out for cheating on his nutrition exam. He did not respond for comment.