For years, people at the University of Colorado at Boulder have speculated on when Chancellor Phil DiStefano might retire; the answer is “Never!” In fact, DiStefano passed away over seven years ago, but the University administration continues to function under his guidance or, more accurately, the leadership of eight DiStefano look-alikes who are hauled out for public view.
“Look,” said Provost Russell Moore, “the truth of the matter is that Phil never really did much while he was alive. Those of us in top-level positions at the University ran the place and told his speech writer what was going on. Then, the writer would provide Phil with a script for his various meetings and public appearances. Phil was excellent at reading the scripts. At one point, when Phil became sick, we found an actor to replace him, and no one noticed the difference. So, when he passed on, sitting at the desk in his office, almost eight years ago, we figured there was no need to go through the trouble and expense of finding a replacement. We just looked for more people who resembled Phil and now, with eight of them, there’s always one at the ready.”
When not standing in for Chancellor DiStefano, the eight Phils spend their time serving as Chip, the furry CU mascot. Those who serve as Phil (or Chip) undergo an intensive summer-long training session, to ensure that they will act, move, gesture, and talk the same way. They must also sign non-disclosure agreements, promising never to divulge the characters they portray.
“For the most part,” Moore added, “it has worked very well. There was that one time in 2018 when we mistakenly messed up the schedule and Phil #3 and Phil #7 appeared at different meetings on campus at the same time. Luckily, no one noticed the two Phils both walking back to the Chancellor’s office from different directions. Well, we’ve made sure nothing like that ever happens again. No two Phils are ever on campus at the same time. The only thing we have to worry about now is keeping straight who’s playing Phil and who’s playing Chip.
“The toughest part has been keeping the truth from his wife, daughters and grandchildren. We have Phil #6 on regular assignment for family matters. He leaves home every morning and comes back in the evening, so Yvonne hasn’t noticed anything is amiss. Number 6 is a real whiz at his job, a quick learner with a knack for blaming his “faulty memory” when he screws up. After all, if Phil were still alive, he’d be 75 years old today, so forgetting names and events would come naturally. Heck, for the last ten years he was still living, he’d already started doing that.”
Which begs the question, “Why do we need a Chancellor in the first place?” Over $500,000 a year is still being direct deposited into DiStefano’s bank account; plus, there’s the added expense of keeping the replacements on retainer, always ready to step in as Phil or Chip, whenever the need arises. Besides, what does a chancellor do besides sending stupid e-mails and making speeches filled with platitudes, promising changes that never come to fruition?
We at Earth Muffins ask you to join us in demanding a full investigation into this scandal and help us to dismantle the octo-chancellor charade.