This Wednesday, March 2nd, marks the date of the 7th Annual Student Affairs Finger-Pointing Contest. First started in 2010, the Finger-Pointing contest is the most anticipated contest of the year, consistently drawing crowds that rival Ma 1a attendance. All Caltech employees involved in Student Affairs are eligible to participate – from RLCs to the Dean of Students, and everyone in between.
The contestants will face a series of challenges designed to represent the types of finger-pointing that occur on campus. In the first challenge, administrators will be asked pointed questions by undergraduate students. Those who advance from the first round will be questioned by other administrators in the second round. The semifinal round will consist of disgruntled faculty, with the top two contestants heading to the final round, where the Board of Trustees will grill them for one hour on why Caltech sucks so much more than it used to.
All contestants will be evaluated on a 23 point system designed to reflect the speed and believability of their finger-pointing, as well as their grace under pressure. Points will be deducted for crying during meetings.
With only two RLCs, the pool looks a little smaller this year, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a boring show. “We’re expecting a very exciting contest this year,” said Professor Arthur Nakayama, Vice President for Student Affairs and one of the contest’s judges. “We have the champion from last year, Dean Smith, as well as some fresh faces from Student Affairs.”
Dean Sarah Smith recounted her landslide win from last year, in which she had a near-perfect score in every round. A single point was deducted for crying in her meeting with students, but she more than made up for it with a stellar performance in later rounds. “The key to the student round is to constantly shift your stances so that they can’t pin you down with anything,” Smith said. “I actually find the later rounds easier – when in doubt, blame the students. It’s a sure-fire way to win.” When asked to elaborate, Smith replied “I don’t want to give away too much of my strategy, but let me just say that the House System is pretty much the ideal scapegoat. The faculty and trustees know enough about it to accept any blame placed there, but not enough to call you out on any… untruths.”
The Torch asked Dean Smith how she felt about the upcoming contest. “I’m not going to make any promises,” she said, already getting into form for the contest, “but I pretty much invented this game.”