Centre’s Vanished Finances: A Saga

by Connor Park

“Bellarmine?….Yeah, it’s Milton…..Listen, we’ve got some issues down here….”

You didn’t really expect to be able to use all those Flex Dollars, did you?

To students, it was portrayed as a clerical error—a minor technical mishap that resulted in each of us blessed with enough “special little treat” money to fill Herrington Lake with Mango Dragonfruit Refreshers. Yet you couldn’t help but realise the patterns, could you? Tuition prices rising exponentially year by year, each dorm having its own “special quirks” that seem easily fixable but just linger on… things haven’t been adding up in Centre’s finances. 

So what was the solution? Well, we’re journalists, so we did what we do? Pry… kinda. Maybe “delivering what you should know about your college” is a better way of putting it. Either way, we checked the books, talked with helpful department heads, dug up IRS records, even “sat in” unnoticed on some phone calls directed at very important figures. To put it frankly, we did our due diligence to figure out just what’s going on behind the checkbooks in this institution we call home. And what did we find? Loads of surprises, all centered around one bombshell fact.


There is none. 

The pockets and wells have run dry, and we mean former Aral Sea dry. Everywhere we looked, balances amounted to zero, and the funds to provide for the basic amenities we often take for granted (and complain of when we lack) were nowhere to be found. Naturally, this raised a bit of concern amongst our team, and the prognosis was looking fairly grim. How was Centre to break it to the oblivious masses that we weren’t “down the hole,” but that nothing perpetually was available? Even more confusingly, from everything we could find, the money was still rolling in from its consistent sources, yet was nowhere to be found as budgetary and financial reports came around. Private endowments appeared to be at all-time highs, tuition money was still flowing in unbarricaded, but when the time came to actually have money to spend, we were looking into the most confusing black hole we’d ever seen.

For the longest time, there seemed to be absolutely no answer. And not only to us—no, everyone was baffled by this, even those supposedly in charge of managing every red cent that came into the college’s possession. Red cents that there were certainly millions upon millions of, yet cents that, somewhere along the pathway to proper allocation, mysteriously vanished—leaving terrifying snake eyes for all. Even President Moreland himself had begun making panicked, frantic calls to the deans, administrative units, and financial departments of other SAA and Kentucky liberal arts colleges behind closed doors (that we may or may not have been sitting inconspicuously in front of) simply begging for answers or funds. “Bellarmine? Sewanee? Hendrix?… Yeah, it’s Milton… Listen, we’ve got some issues down here…” each plea for help began, growing more and more desperate by the hour. Soon, word began to spread, and anxiety began to swell across all who knew. Intercepted emails showed professors, tenured and not, asking administration for a firm answer on if they knew where their next paycheck would come from. There was no undercutting this—were Centre to finally be forced to come to terms with its complete and total lack of money, the lives of thousands would be catastrophically devastated on all fronts. The main question now was figuring out where it had all gone.

And so we looked—not to snoop, but because our education, our lives depended on it. Folder by folder, file by file, we looked desperately to see if the millions had accidentally been rerouted by some mishap or act of god to an errant repository. Initially, this proved fruitless; it seemed every possible location for Centre’s money to end up showed no funds having been directed there for some time, from as little as a few months to as much as over a year. Yet after too many long Red Bull-supported nights, the answer was found in nothing short of plain sight. What we stumbled across was the nexus of Centre’s financial storage and allocation planning, composed (surprisingly) of just a handful of Google Folders for marketing, athletics, scholarship, and maintenance/housekeeping/salary payments. Ordinarily, all the money would have gone only here, yet it seemed a fifth folder had been recently added to the mix, siphoning a positively ungodly amount of money into its reach, and divesting from everything the school actually needed. I can’t say much more than just this: take a look for yourself.

The fact is, we’ll never truly know who made this strange and mysterious folder. Perhaps it was a bored prankster in IT, maybe a hacking-savvy student just playing around, or possibly AI, taking its first step towards coming to end us all (you heard it and saw it here, folks). Either way, we immediately contacted the appropriate parties and had all the money poured into the folder reallocated back into its designated locations, sparing all of Centre from a fate no worse than, well, the very end of Centre. So if you’re upset about your mysterious thousands in Flex Dollars vanishing, then sure—blame us. Don’t forget to give credit where credit is due, though, when your freshman year dorm gets an unexpected remodel in the very near future, or the AC in all the buildings finally starts to work. 

-Connor Parks, reporting for The Cento: April 2024-

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