Valued Students at Walton

When she, Eva White, walked through the doors of the admissions office my heart fluttered. Just the sight of this young woman with her strong shoulders and held-too-high chin made my respiratory organs overwork. Sweat beaded down my neck, soaking the collar of my ironed shirt as I braced for the worst.

“Mr. Burton!” she greeted aggressively at my front desk. She forced a smile that would be befitting of a beauty pageant if she didn’t wear such bookish spectacles, “I didn’t get your call, your two PM call that you promised and it’s already three, Mr. Burton.”

“You didn’t? My apologies,” I began as I searched for a reason for the miscommunication. Eva White was a trouble maker, a feather-rustler, a freshman with far too many demands for someone of her sex and color. Though I couldn’t tell her that I simply didn’t bother calling her at all. So, I lied. “Miss. White, I did my best to call but the line was tied up and unfortunately Walton University’s admissions office is far too busy to call students who don’t pick up the first time.”

Eva squared her shoulders, “no, sir. You’re mistaken, Mr. Burton, I waited for the phone to ring and it never did.”

“Well,” I answered getting a tad snarky at work, “perhaps if you spent more time socializing and less time radicalizing you’d have more gentleman callers to keep that phone ringing.”

Eva’s jaw tightened, “Mr. Burton, it’s not the sixties anymore. Women have much more to do than wait on the weaker sex, I mean, men. Of course you wouldn’t know anything about that since your understanding of people seems to be as outdated as your lime tie.”

My hand gripped my tie instinctively, “this is my favorite tie, Miss. White. It was given to me by my dear mother.”

“And a dear she is, your mother, how would you feel if she was in my shoes?”

“In your shoes?”

“Yes, in my shoes! In the shoes of the women I study with here on campus who are being objectified and harassed by the same entitled man on campus whom we beseech the admissions office to consider expelling or putting on academic probation until he can learn to talk with his brains and not the organs in his pants.”

My face flushed red, “yes, we have been receiving a few, or several, complaints about this student’s flirtatious behavior.”

“Then accept this case seriously, because it’s far from flirtatious behavior. It’s straight criminal.”

I cleared my throat, “I’m afraid he’s a valued student at Walton. He has fair grades, plays ball for the school, even gives charitably on campus.”

“But what about us? Are we not valued students at Walton? We have fair grades, Mr. Burton, maybe even better but even that shouldn’t matter.”

Before I could retort once more, she turned on her heels and sauntered for the door. Her voice boomed through the office, “it should take more than white skin and a pair of testicles to be valued at Walton, Mr. Burton.”

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