Swearing at strangers, rookie mistake

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When Chancellor Richard Telfer announced his retirement, I can’t lie, a tiny part of me was excited. I wasn’t excited to see him go. I was excited about the chance to have an embarrassing past wiped clean.

There was an incident with a broken recorder at an organization fair and me trying to force an interview on him. He was pretty gracious about the whole incident, although I spent two years avoiding eye contact, for no reason.

My smile quickly faded when I realized former provost, Beverly Kopper, was taking the reigns. Again, not for the reason people would think.

Commentary by Alexandria Zamecnik  Editor in Chief

Commentary by Alexandria Zamecnik
Editor in Chief

I was a tiny and nervous little freshman when I first met Kopper. (I’m still tiny and still a bit nervous; my mom calls it a quirk.) I was attending my first Whitewater Student Government meeting and had no clue what I was getting myself into. It was the first meeting of the year and important leaders filled the room. Kopper was one of them.

As a freshman, I stood in front of 20 senators and tried to prove I was enough of a leader to become one of them. I had been at UW-Whitewater for a week. Some of them had been here for almost four years.

For some reason, they saw a spark in me, or maybe they just needed to fill senate seats. Either way, they appointed me. But they took it a step further. The president at the time, John Jensen, nominated me as parliamentarian. I didn’t even know what a parliamentarian was. A small part of me feared I was going to be shipped to the United Kingdom.

I looked around. I could feel the fear filling up to my ears and my face turning red. There was one person sitting near me, a smiling woman with short golden hair. I took a leap of faith, looked her in the eyes and whispered, “What the hell is a parliamentarian?” She shrugged her shoulders at me and smiled.

It wasn’t until I had been appointed as parliamentarian and looked at the list of speakers, when I realized what I had done. Sure, it wasn’t the worst profanity I could have used. At that moment, there was about 50 of them running through my head. I’m sure she has heard worse, but I just swore at the provost and now chancellor.

Kopper probably would have forgotten about this incident, you know, until someone published it in the Royal Purple.  Because nothing says ‘fun’ like reopening an old traumatic wound.  Maybe this could double as my written formal apology, if my embarrassment wasn’t enough?

Maybe I should stick around a few years, to see if I embarrass myself in front of the next chancellor.

Moral of the story, if you can attempt to take away anything from this, watch who you use profanities around. Always strive to be professional. Apologize when you make mistakes and hope that people will realize you’re only human.

P.S. Bev, I eventually found out what a parliamentarian was.

P.S.S. Congratulations on becoming chancellor. Great things are to come.