The Amherst Mantra, a publication that aims to platform student opinions that would otherwise be relegated to 4chan, earned universal acclaim for its latest feature, “Would Amherst Be Better Off Without Students?” To better understand the publication and its revolutionary hot take, The Student spoke with those behind The Mantra, as well as administration members and students.
Mantra Editor-in-Chief Frida M. Ovspietch ’22 described the origins of the publication. “It all started in second grade. My homeroom teacher said, and I quote, ‘there’s no such thing as a stupid question.’ That’s really the mantra behind The Mantra. And, well, we’ve just taken that essential principle and run with it,” Ovspietch said.
Upon the conclusion of the interview, Ovspietch exited the room, only to return several seconds later wearing a polka-dotted ski mask and a pair of Raybans, reintroducing herself as Anonymous, the prolific writer responsible for the ground-breaking latest article. She generously offered insight into its conception and reception.
In a mock-deep Batmanesque voice, Ovspietch, as Anonymous, said, “We just thought about who is ultimately responsible for all problems on campus. The answer: students. With no students, there’s no athlete-NARP divide, no smashed dorm exit signs, no Potato slander. Truly — no students, no problem.”
Despite the remarkably positive reception of the article, Anonymous deemed it a failure. “At the Mantra, we want to stir up controversy, keep things divisive and exciting. So to receive such overwhelmingly positive feedback — it’s stomach-churning,” she said.
Students were entirely in support of the idea of removing students from the college. Cornered outside of Hitchcock Dormitory late last Sunday, Strapper “Man-Mountain” Johnson ’23 said, “No more students? That’s dope, bro! I was trying to find a way out of Geo-104 anyway.”
Philosophy major Beignet Desmartes ’24 expressed excitement at the prospect of student-free learning. “The people in my philosophy classes are insufferable. They’re perpetually utilizing abstruse terminology, completely obfuscating my hermeneutic understanding,” Desmartes said.
President Biddy Martin praised The Mantra’s innovation, saying, “Based on the quality of this article, Amherst clearly produces top-notch students. But if we produced no students at all, we would have some of the best Covid-19 statistics in the country.”
In a pilot program of the “no students” policy, the administration had Theodore J. Kaczynski Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought Smelda Rozes deliver a lecture to a classroom of empty chairs. Reportedly, there was “no discernible effect” on classroom engagement or teaching quality. The administration deemed it a “promising result” and a “strong first step” in liberating Amherst from the negative influence of students.
Reeling from the unanimously positive reaction to their article, The Mantra told The Student that the headline for their upcoming issue will be “Why Amherst Absolutely and Unequivocally Needs Students.”