Editor in Exile

After extensive fact-checking by AMP’s narrowly-acclaimed investigative team of reporters, vloggers, and gullible TV personalities, I can confirm that rumors of a former AMP Editor-in-Chief living in Parking Structure 4 are true. The disgraced former editor has been spotted in the last month panhandling on Rutford Avenue (or Harambe Avenue, if you’re inclined to sign petitions about memes), hunting rabbits outside the Residence Halls, and bathing in the Plinth fountain. Those students who have encountered the pariah describe him as half-mad, clutching shreds of old AMP issues close to his chest, and muttering about someone who “stole the precious.” As of the printing of this issue, it remains unclear why AMP’s Editor-in-Chief, who had just begun his term in office, fell from grace. Whatever the reason, he has entered exile, and in doing so has lost the source of the income that sustained his hedonistic life of opulence and excess. Described by those who knew him well as too proud to take a job in fast food, too conservative to chase his fortunes in the world of academia, and too deranged to complete the FAFSA, he has taken to wandering campus in search of handouts and half-eaten food in trash cans.

Administration would do well to focus on this bizarre incident of on-campus homelessness, as security is a major concern for many students. A freshman who is majoring in physics, from Montana, male, 5’ 10”, 190 lbs., and opted to remain anonymous in this interview told AMP that he “only came to this university because [he] heard about campus carry and thought [he] would be well-protected because of it.” Most students interviewed for this exposé were unnerved by the idea of an enrolled student living penniless and jobless on the streets of UTD, and potentially suffering from mental illness. “College was supposed to be the best time of my life,” screamed a sophomore brought to tears by a photo of this magazine’s former executive, “but how can I enjoy myself when I have to pass something so triggering everyday on the way to class?!” UTD Police have been alerted to the reports, but as he has not yet used a crosswalk between classes or parked in GOLD parking with only a GREEN permit, UTDPD has yet to spot him.

Many rumors and theories have circulated through Student Media and the student body at large about the sudden dismissal of AMP’s Editor-in-Chief. There are some who cry conspiracy. He knew too much, they allege, and was fired and banished to protect UTD state secrets he may have uncovered on his noble quest to spread opinion and satire throughout campus. Others insist that scandal is the only reasonable explanation. As intriguing as the notion of mischief and subterfuge within the upper echelons of Student Media is to some, it is important to remember that a chief executive such as AMP’s Editor-in-Chief can only be removed for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The only other theory that holds water is that of an internal coup. It’s probably best if I refrain from discussing this topic (Vive la Révolution!)

It has been impossible to ascertain whether he is still attending his classes, for he has been extremely difficult to track. Sightings are erratic and often unreliable, as some of the snaps sent to AMP by students reporting encounters were found to be doctored. The AMP investigative team believes it is very likely that a student has acquired an “Outcast Former Collegiate Student Publication Editor” costume from a Halloween store and is using it to operate a fake Tinder profile, and would appreciate any and all information on this hooligan’s whereabouts. Nevertheless, in spite of the difficulty, we have managed some observation of the lost Editor-in-Chief. A daring AMP investigative journalist successfully spent a week undercover as a squirrel, and managed to tail her old editor for two days.

She reports that a typical day for the demoralized editor begins when the cacophony of construction rouses him from his troubled slumber in a stairwell in Parking Structure 4. This traumatized individual then spends an hour or two scouring campus for a dead bird or lizard to set out on the pavement somewhere to be seared by the sun into a crispy afternoon snack. Then the embarrassed former student leader sets up outside ECS South, Founders, or the SLC to beg for cash, food, and Scantrons while more fortunate students make their way to their first classes. Lunch is relatively easy to find. All this broken and distraught victim of fate has to do to feed himself handsomely is patrol the Student Union from 11:30 to 1:30, grazing off of people’s leftover Panda Express. In the afternoon, during the heat of the day, the shunned, disparaged, and shameful exile relocates his panhandling to the shade of the McDermott library doors or the entrance to Hoblitzelle Hall.

As the sun drops in the sky and students begin to process from classrooms to parking lots, this lost and weary student, destroyed inside and out by the turmoil, anguish, and destitution that has enveloped him, finds within him a hidden strength. As new fire creeps into his eyes, he ceases scurrying and muttering. Precisely at 5:52 PM, he stands on top of the steps on the Plinth and begins to orate. And the genius with which he enlightens his peers, though his current life is so brutally different then theirs, is beyond belief. Where he obtains the content for his speeches, nobody knows. They may be excerpts from past issues of AMP, they may be monologues from failed Broadway musicals, they may be divine prophecies. Personally, I believe they are wholly original works, conceived and gestated in the mind of a man who, even if he has gone off the deep end, is in his heart a skilled writer, and an opinionated one at that. I suspect that, with excess time on his hands and having been robbed of control of the endeavor that motivated his existence, he spends the day composing works of opinion and satire in his head. Then, at the end of the day when his audience emerges, he lets loose his ideas.

Sadly, very few students pay him any attention, preferring to ignore him instead. Can they necessarily be blamed for wanting to remove from their worldview the shocking image he presents? This campus is packed full of future engineers, scientists, and doctors (and many more future not-doctors, although they may not have realized it yet) who view the world around them as a playground in which their education will enable them to frolic. They will insist to you that they are poor. They will throw Ramen in your face, show you their textbook receipts, and attack like piranhas the instant someone utters the words “free food,” but they are not truly poor. In reality, most will acquire an amount of wealth in their lifetimes that is staggering on a global scale, and they live their time at UTD in an environment of relative comfort and ease. But why burst the bubble? Why force them to see how far one can fall? No, let them have their fun. After all, he’s just some guy, right?