By Thea Bladt Hansen
— In April of last year, AUC’s new dean Martin van Hees disclosed in an interview with The Herring that AUCNext is looking for a new slogan for AUC. Ever since, there have been ongoing speculations about what phrase is worthy of succeeding the iconic motto “Excellence and Diversity in a Global city.” The Herring has acquired AUCNext’s shortlist of potential slogans.
Shortly after the dean’s announcement, AUC’s literature track teachers took it upon themselves to find a satisfactory replacement. “After many evenings spent with the Oxford English Dictionary, we have found the perfect paraphrase,” states Dusk Kowalski, self-appointed leader of the Paraphrasing Task Force. The PTF is the main stakeholder currently lobbying for the slogan “Merit and Variety in an International Metropolis.”
Another faction of the AUC faculty, whose members wish to remain anonymous, have a different approach to devising a new slogan. They strive for an antonymic re-interpretation: “What the PTF does not seem to grasp is the inherently wrong message of the current slogan. We therefore propose that AUC adopts the counter-slogan ‘Monotony and Mediocrity in a Local Hamlet’ in order to actively combat growing problems of internationalisation in the academic environment of Amsterdam.”
The anonymous faction refers to a recent article by The Herring, which explains how some lecturers and university board members view the increasing internationalisation of UvA as potentially problematic. By diminishing the inclusivity and attractiveness of AUC’s slogan, the faction hopes to keep international students at bay. Furthermore, the faction sees “Monotony and Mediocrity” as a perfect solution to van Hees’ critique of excellence as a word with notions of superiority: “No one will accuse this slogan of thinking too highly of itself.”
The document furthermore reveals that an initiative for allowing AUC students to contribute to the creation of a new slogan has failed. The initiator explains some faults of the project: “In the online form, students were asked to write phrases that echoed with their everyday experience of AUC. But even after sending out several reminders for students to remember to fill in the form, we did not get a single response.”