If you’re like me, you probably frequent the Facebook group “Case Memes for Academically Challenged [B]eans.” You’ve probably seen posts that reference emails sent about business that directly concerns curriculum, class officer elections and other issues a bit too serious for a meme page.
I think that the sense of humor that’s shared by the three thousand or so members of the meme page is generally entertaining, inoffensive and totally relevant to campus life at Case Western Reserve University. For an example of this, one need not look further than the most recent memes about the tornado warning on Nov. 5, which, for the most part, are just funny and in no way mean spirited.
However, posts that consider the meme page an official channel to discuss serious content, though often in an ironic context, undermine the weight of the actual issues in question. Some of these problematic posts show actual communication between students and the administration.
The problem with posting screenshots of these kinds of communication is that it encourages people to make memes and jokes out of emails discussing serious situations.
A significant number of first-year students in BIOL214 sent emails to the deans of multiple colleges within CWRU about their professor and their dissatisfaction with her teaching style. When a screenshot of one such email was posted on the meme page, it sparked a series of memes that, at least to me, undermined the importance of the actual email.
By making memes regarding a class that seriously jeopardizes the first-year GPA of a significant number of students, these people are trivializing a serious issue.
Some argue that the blame lies with the original poster for posting the email to the page. According to this argument, by putting something on the meme page, the poster is essentially giving permission to create more memes based on the content they’ve posted. However, there aren’t many other options for students exasperated with a certain situation than sharing or venting to a broad audience on an unofficial page frequented by many CWRU students experiencing similar struggles.
Memes like those found on the meme page are sometimes a coping mechanism for stressed students, so it makes sense that some students might make memes out of more serious issues.
One meme that makes light of the trend culminates with the punchline “Hand delivering a maintenance request to babs[sic]”. The idea of sending a handwritten maintenance request to the president of the university is a ludicrous idea, and frankly it would be disrespectful to CWRU’s administration.
There are official channels that can be used to address these types of situations, including (ironically enough) emails to department chairs, deans and faculty advisors. It’s understandable and sometimes warranted to vent or otherwise express dissatisfaction with a situation.
But if students want their concerns to be taken seriously, keeping their personal emails off a meme page is probably a good idea, even if all other attempts to fix the situation seem futile.
Zubair Mukhi is a first-year student who is planning to study computer science. He writes opinion pieces bi-weekly and is probably going to declare his major… sooner or later. On the side, he is probably going to finish Watership Down and needs to finish the “Destiny 2” Campaign. He totally copy-pasted this blurb from his last article and is probably suffering from writer’s block. He’s well aware this may be memed.