CHAPEL HILL, NC — UNC students and faculty experienced chaos this afternoon, when a faulty valve caused the economics department’s grade-inflating pump to shut down for a period of several hours.
The valve failed without warning at approximately 1:30 pm, causing catastrophic grade deflation across campus. The collective grade point average of economics majors and pre-business students at UNC fell to a C average within a matter of seconds.
“I was on ConnectCarolina searching for classes, and all of a sudden, it said my GPA was a 2.2,” recounted Sam Guthrie, a junior economics major who had maintained a 3.8 since his freshman year. “And I was like ‘What the fuck?’ I had read at least half of the assignments for all those classes. I deserved my A minuses.”
Patrick Conway, chairman of the economics department, was inundated with complaints soon after the pump failed.
“I knew it had to be that old grade-inflating pump again,” said Conway. “I called UNC Facilities Services as soon as I heard that undergraduate grades were dipping below a B level.”
Promptly dispatched to the pump in the basement of Gardner Hall, repairman Barry Gartman quickly identified the cause of the outage.
“It takes a lot of pressure to inflate grades as much as we do, and with that much pressure in the system, any little crack in a pump valve can be disastrous,” said Gartman. “When the valve failed, the pressurized bullshit and hot air that keep the grades inflated spewed all over. It was a real mess.”
Gartman brought the pump back online at 3:13 pm, re-inflating grades all around campus. He characterized the pump break as a big problem with a relatively easy fix.
“All it took was to install a new valve and check the pump over for residual damage,” he said. “People on campus depend on this pump every day, and, unfortunately, it only gets realized on the rare occasion that something goes wrong.”
The pump failure was the most disastrous malfunction in grade-manipulating infrastructure at UNC since the biology department’s bell-curve mold broke in the spring of 2009, resulting in a semester grade distribution of 43% F’s, 3% D’s, 19% C’s, 6% B’s, and 29% A’s.
As economics students and professors sort through the damage caused by the grade-inflating pump’s failure, many are calling for failsafe upgrades, with some contending that the department’s entire grade-inflating apparatus should be abandoned in favor of a newer model.
“Over at Duke, they have a state-of-the-art, campus-wide, electric inflation system,” said Conway. “It’s high time that we followed suit and brought our grade-inflating technology into the 21st century.”