It was Thursday on the first week back of the second semester. Over the break with the campus being very quiet Sam had decided that he was going to make a donation to the school. The school’s budget for their newspaper program, which was being run mostly by the students, was being cut significantly and Sam didn’t like this. He remembered spending time in the building where they allowed the students to run the school’s newspaper. It was crowded and had outdated computers and equipment that the school gave them when they upgraded their own equipment. Sam had made a donation of $25,000 and wrote a letter to the Dean demanding that the money go towards the student’s newspaper. He wanted the students to have new equipment and even add onto the building two new rooms where students could have a conference room as well as a key office for whoever was running the paper. Of course with such a request the Dean, Jerome Pead, had attempted to reach out to Sam and had only managed to reach Sam through mail. Sam ended up calling into Dean Pead’s office and scheduled a meeting with him for Thursday.
Sam wasn’t sure how much Dean Pead knew of him and attempted to get some ammo against the Dean in case this meeting went bad but Sam couldn’t find anything. He was a married man with two kids in high school. He used to teach and had experience in the business field. Other than deciding his first budget cut would be the student’s newspaper Sam liked the guy but he knew better than to trust someone he never met. Sam made sure to clean up his act a little bit to leave a good impression. He trimmed up his hair a little bit and showed up to the meeting clean shaven and wearing a suit. Sam walked up to the lady at the front desk and told him Dean Pead’s eleven o’clock meeting was here. She smiled and dialed back to the Dean’s office. He soon walked out with a smile on his face and offered his hand. He was a white male with a tan. He had a full set of hair but was showing signs of his hair graying. Sam smiled back and shook his hand. They exchanged in the normal casualty conversations when one person meets another during their walk in the hallway. Sam took a seat in one of the seats opposite of Dean Pead’s desk as Dean Pead sat down behind his desk.
“I want to thank you for your donation and I want to also thank you for making time to come in and meet with me.”
“No problem. It’s hard to turn down an invite from the Dean of the school.”
“Just out of curiosity, why did you decide that you wanted to help aid our student newspaper?”
“I knew someone who used to work on that paper and dedicated a lot of time to it. When I found out that the school was planning on cutting budgets I knew I needed to do something.”
“That’s great. Usually we get donations for our athletics programs or some scholar does well and makes a donation to our library. I never really understand why teams think they need so many different types of jerseys. I guess they do wear out after time and they don’t understand all the other financial obligations we had to pay for.”
“A lot of people would rather remain ignorant to the facts and think they’re doing a good thing than to put themselves in a person of your shoes.”
“Very well put. You know you’re younger than I thought you’d be, a lot younger actually. How did you come across such a large amount of money? Most people in your shoes would buy a car for $25,000 and not be worried about a school’s newspaper.”
“A car is a horrible investment. It only goes down in value once you drive it off the lot. A good school program can change a kid’s life.” Sam said. He had the feeling like he was being set up for something and didn’t want to answer how he came across the money for the donation. He was already starting to second guess how much he donated and realized he should have sent less and not become a spec on the radar now.
“Did you not want to disclose how you came across the money? Most kids your age would be more than willing to brag about the amount of wealth they’ve come a crossed.” Dean Mead said. After the Dean had used the word “kid” Sam turned from liking the guy to finding him a subject of interest.
“First off Jerome,” Sam knew saying his first name would gain his attention by being less courteous. “I’m not a kid and don’t appreciate you trying to stir up any trouble or allegations. If you want to know how I got the money to solve your curiosity I’ll tell you. I had a well-off uncle who passed away and left me a significant amount of money. A part of his will he wanted us to reinvest in the community and the world in things we believed in or things we believed would benefit others. Now if you want I can take the check back I sent you and rip it up and go elsewhere if that makes you feel better.”
“I apologize Mr. Thomas. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. I do have to be honest with you and admit that it’s not the first time I’ve heard your name around here on campus and I was a little skeptical.”
“I understand. Not everyone is going to be a fan of you. What did you hear about me? Just out of curiosity.”
“We had a professor who had to be let go. He had mentioned your name. We of course had to investigate but the only records of you that I ever found was that you used to go to school here before you were expelled for plagiarizing. There’s no reason the two of you would have any ties other than that incident.” Sam was smiling on the inside while pretending to act worried on the outside as he listened to the Dean’s story.
“Well that’s unfortunate that a professor would have to drag my name through the mud to try and cover up his own misfortunes.”
“Indeed. But it did make me a little suspicious and that’s why I called you in here today. Would you mind telling me the story of how you got expelled? You don’t have to if you don’t want to but since it didn’t happen on my watch I might be able to help you out and get the expulsion off your record.” Sam knew what he was offering. In a sense he was offering Sam a clean record in exchange for $25,000. He knew it wasn’t right but then again money gets exchanged under the table all the time.
“No thanks. What you can help me out with though is giving me access to the implementation of upgrading Nears Hall and the equipment for the paper. I also would like some sort of access card to the facility to check up on the process and to check up on the students.”
“That doesn’t seem unreasonable. I will of course have to go through some channels and administrative stuff before we can get everything approved but then we can get together and go over what we plan on doing and see if we can get it all done with your donations and possible some of our own or with help of another donor.”
“What’s the best way to contact you? I tried a phone number but it didn’t seem to work. I’m assuming you got the letter I wrote you.”
“Yeah. Email is probably the quickest.” Sam grabbed one of the dean’s cards and wrote an email address on the back of it. “Use this email and you can get ahold of me.”
“You don’t use a cell phone?” Dean Pead asked.
“I’m a writer. I’m on my laptop more than I have my cell phone on me. You’ve looked at my file up and down I’m sure so you should know that.” Sam was getting annoyed but Dean Pead and his body language of superiority. “But then again you’ve failed to put two and two together. A guy who gets a 3.5 GPA while he attended this university and also submitted articles to the school paper doesn’t need to plagiarize anything. But your administration who dismissed me failed to make that connection as well so I guess I shouldn’t put you on a pedestal. But I don’t really care if I have that red mark on my file. I don’t plan on going back to college because frankly it was a waste of time for the education I actually received. It turns out I’m writing for someone in the papers anyways. What I do want out of this exchange of money is for the right to make all the decision. I will listen to others but when it comes down to it, it’s my decision before we act. You got it?” The Dean’s attitude seemed to change as if he was now worried. “It’s this way or I take my money to another university.”
“You don’t really want to do that do you?”
“It doesn’t mean that I won’t.”
“Okay. Fine.” Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out two pieces of paper.
“I need you to read this and sign it and then I’ll be out of here.”
“What is this?”
“It’s a contract stating what we just discussed and if your side decides to break our deal you will be taken for everything you’re worth.” Dean Pead sat back in his chair and read over the one page contract. He then reached for a pen and signed both the sheets. It was the same contract on both sheets and he kept one while giving the other one back to Sam. Sam folded it up and put it back in his pocket.
“Have a good day Dean Pead.” Sam said while getting out of his chair and walking out the door. Sam was happy with how things went down. Not only was he gaining access to the facility when it would finally be built but he had all the rights to design the renovations. This might not appear as much to an outsider but Sam had been looking for a good fallout location in case anything was to happen. It would also allow him a bigger and more secure network to use for any cons he might do in the future and there were plenty of ideas running through his head as he walked out of the office.