Check the syllabus, check the roll call, even check your saved contacts and ask yourself: ‘where are the last names?’
At Westminster College, a mystery unfolded as students and teachers alike realized no one knew anyone’s last names and mass confusion followed.
This phenomenon started at the beginning of the semester with teachers introducing themselves with only their first name but it seems to be growing.
“I know I must have last name, right?” said Katie [last name here], a Westminster student. “I must have my last name on my birth certificate, but besides that, I don’t even know when I used my last name last.”
For one junior student, the lack of last names means there is no possibility of contacting her professors.
“They’re all named John!” said Laura [insert last name here], an undeclared first-year student. “How am I supposed to know which teacher is which when they are all named John?”
Professors said the situation is just as confusing for them.
Greg [please find a last name] said he turned in that 50 point assignment for his history class, but with three Gregs in the class and only one assignment turned in, professor Julie said she didn’t know who to trust.
Professors said they are also too busy with their own set of problems, like showing up to the wrong classes and mixing up paychecks, to be worried about every student concern.
“You know, I once taught a science class for two whole weeks before a student finally got the courage to ask how this related to science,” said David [I just need one last name that’s it]. “I’m an art teacher. I don’t know a lick about science.”
Some people said, because of personal reasons, they almost feel the hole of missing last names.
“I used to hate my last name growing up,” said Frances [insert last name here], an academic advisor. “I don’t even remember what it was, but I remember hating it until I got married and then I didn’t change it. Now, I don’t even have justification for why I don’t have the same last name as my husband.”
Many people have come forward with their own versions of the story and possible solutions to the problem.
Jane [one. last. name.], an English professor, said when she first started working at Westminster there was a ritual of kissing the building on campus you are based in.
Looking back she said it felt similar to a wedding ceremony as if working at Westminster meant taking on the name of the college.
Matthew, a professor in the communication department, said he tried to hire a private investigator to find the missing names last year, but the investigator refused to acknowledge the existence of the very real problem.
A group of science professors on the third floor of Meldrum calling themselves the Last Resort, said they’ve hypothesized that the problem is caused by widespread amnesia produced by the water used in our coffee and food, or possibly the ghosts that haunt the college walking through people.
“It has to do with some variable exclusive to us here at Westminster or it would be happening everywhere and we would see it in the news,” said Lesa [do we really not have any last names?], a neuroscience professor who formed the group. “Currently we are meeting weekly to discuss what it could be and to do experiments to test correlation. Due to our limited numbers though we haven’t gotten too far yet, but we expect a big breakthrough in a couple days. Or weeks. Definitely before months, that’s for sure.”
The suggested solutions from the group so far range from everyone going vegan to hiring someone to steal the last names back from the ghosts.
There are also rumors, popular amongst students, that the last names are stored in a safe somewhere on the campus only to be released upon graduation.
“It’s like we are working for some huge BuzzFeed organization,” said a local conspiracy theorist who wishes to remain anonymous [no last name for this either I guess]. “They are taking our names so that everything we do and make is theirs. It’s not Ethan who wrote that amazing award-winning essay. No no no, it’s a Westminster student who wrote that amazing award-winning essay.”