Illustration by Naeema Mohammed Sageer.

Student Government’s Successful Capstone Thesis in Gatekeeping Overshadows Free Food at Elections

The dust settled and, as always in the history of NYUAD, no one was happy. With a tumultuous semester ahead as usual, it turns out maybe the secret to engagement does not come from a bakery.

May 9, 2022

Recently, NYU Abu Dhabi students elected their next Student Government for the Fall 2022 semester. The mission remained fundamentally the same: to see which student can craft the best pitch on how to change the fundamentally unchangeable. Eventually, the grade-deflated, Kafkaesque reality of life at NYUAD would set in and even working tirelessly would not be enough to overcome an administrative body unequipped to respond to any email within three business years. The students in charge would be blamed for this failure in progress, charismatic figures would come along demanding change and the cycle would repeat despite having different people in different chairs. Rinse and repeat until Saadiyat Island finally sinks into the sea.
However, this semester brought a slew of challenges. The relationship between the outgoing Student Government contingent and prospective new blood has never been more strained. Running for elected office, Class of 2023 student Ceriel Intertaner had the audacity to point out that nobody has to worship the ground StuGov members walk on. “An office is built for the people, the people of NYUAD. Why should it be a cult?,” he asked. After all, the President of a country does more than respond with “We will bring this up with the UN'' every time there is a pressing issue. Lost in a bureaucratic labyrinth of an absurd banana republic, too bizarre to exist in any world not fueled by endless funding and Starbucks, students have little to genuinely fight against.
But the existing Student Government President, Gait Kipp, found himself in an identity crisis. Upon seeing a threat to him and his friends’ continued pass down of Student Government roles to only those “in the know”, he finally found himself testing his writing skills fine-tuned through years of the Core Curriculum. Like any good Global Leader, he had changed his major from Mechanical Engineering to Computer Science to Economics to Creative Writing to not even knowing what he wanted to do with his life anymore, throughout his four years.
But that last major, for once, had actually taught him some useless skills. Having procrastinated on his Capstone, he needed a backup major in case his existential anxiety did not pan out. “I did not intend to write this, but to be honest I did not intend to attend this university either, yet here I am. Therefore you are very, very wrong”. He continued to write an extensive-form essay in hopes of impressing the capstone review committee, who had never once seen a thesis in Gatekeeping — let alone such an eloquent one.
“Even the Vice Chancellor would be proud of this level of obfuscation and saying nothing in so many words,” stated Obor Payid, the assistant associate vice director of student affairs in literature review on page 497 of NYU Abu Dhabi’s payroll. “We have a special initiative we’re working on, but you weren’t supposed to know about it. Yet you were,” replied Kipp to Intertaner. “Also, we don’t stand for any problematic behavior here, when it’s not by our own friends”, he added.
Amidst this drama, students were so enthralled that something finally happened on campus, that convenience stores, movie theaters and supermarkets throughout Abu Dhabi sold out of popcorn. However, the Student Government elections sadly ended up with record low turnout.
“Who needs banana pudding or fried chicken as a bribe to listen to speeches?,” asked Brun Dout, Class of 2024. “I’ve got all my drama sitting in my room scrolling through Facebook and wondering why I came here,” he added. As a result, neither he or his friends showed up to the Candidate Forum this year, a scene repeated throughout the student body. In defeat, the Elections Commission was forced to give away enough shawarma to feed a quarantined dorm full of gazelles on the Hungry at NYUAD page on Facebook.
The dust settled and, as always in the history of NYUAD, no one was happy. With a tumultuous semester ahead as usual, it turns out maybe the secret to engagement does not come from a bakery.
Ethan Fulton is an Opinion Editor and Satire Columnist. Email him at
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