Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 7.22.19
Stanstead, Quebec


A letter from your university development office

Dear alumnus/alumna/aluminum:

Here at Ross Murray University, as we lounge in our yak-skin recliners vaping with impunity, surrounded by floodlit portraits of our beloved founder in various states of undress, we think of you, our former student, as you make your way in the world. We think about your time here at good ol RMU. We wonder if that rash ever went away. We ask ourselves: got any money?

Yes, we could gently lead up to a request for cash with some non-specific nostalgia about your years at RMU -- the deep friendships you made and the even deeper grudges; the ivy-covered professors; the rambunctious baking soda fights; being tumbled out of bed in the middle of the night for the mandatory yak hunt.

But really we just want your money. Can we have some, please?

Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please!

No donation is too small. Well, it’s potentially too small. A nickel would be ridiculous. A bag of pennies is a bit of a nuisance, to be honest. We once got a button, and that was very upsetting. Frankly, we much prefer the big donations. Please send a big donation. When we get a cheque with lots of zeroes, our director of development stands on her desk and sings "MacArthur Park" in full. It’s quite the spectacle, and our morale could really use the boost because our job is to ask you for money and you hate us.

Your contribution to RMU provides our students with scholarships, bursaries, and the occasional change of identity. Without your help, many of these young men and women would be unable to find their way to our fine institution due to their inability to read a map. Not even GPS helps. We blame the ChatSnaps. Your gift allows us to bring these addled students to campus and attach them to sturdy but humane leashes so they can’t go wandering off.

Meet Celine. Celine is in her fourth year of a three-year Bachelor of Avarice program at RMU, currently completing a thesis on the foundational role of ham sandwiches in western economic policy. (Conclusion: "There is none.")

"I chose RMU because its approach to learning was aligned with my need to do as little work as possible," says Celine, who is also captain of the varsity women’s nail polish team and was named Baking Soda Queen two years running and one year at a light trot. "The courses offer me unique perspectives on the world, and the professors really focus on my personal knees."

It’s true; Celine has lovely knees, and we mean that in a purely empirical, non-objectifying way. Carry on, Celine:

"Without scholarship support, I never would have been able to come to MU and learn how to dismantle the patriarchy, then remantle it, all thanks to my minor in mantling."

Without your contribution to RMU, we will have no choice but to unhook Celine from her leash and set her adrift among the yak herds. Do you want that on your conscience? Do you!

Oh, you do. Well, then... Thankfully, as we leave Celine to the relentless but strangely erotic nibbling of the insatiable yaks, you can also designate your gift (big! big!) to other important initiatives around our squalid yet dignified campus.

For example, we would appreciate you groping your philanthropic way towards financing our new Neil Young School of Housekeeping, which opened ahead of schedule in 2018. Unfortunately, the anticipated cash endorsement from Mr. Young failed to materialize, and it turns out fewer men need a maid than Mr. Young would have us believe. Consequently, the School of Housekeeping is, ironically, gathering dust. But not the deficit! That thing is looming like the handsy dean of academics at a faculty cocktail.

Please, please, please, please, please!

According to our records, you have not donated to Ross Murray University since ever. Was it our solicitation phone call at 3 a.m.? The professionally designed pamphlet that, due to a printing error, was mailed out dripping with sheep’s blood? Revelations that donations were being diverted to fund our beloved founder’s butt implants?

Believe us, unlike a distressing number of our graduates, we have learned. We have learned from our mistakes, we have learned how to do up these sandals, we have learned finally about this "Old Town Road" the kids are talking about. We don’t get it.

So, please make a difference today by giving your extremely large gift to one of our student interns who is standing right behind you smelling of yak musk. Don’t trip on the leash.

Go, Herders!