Northeastern University has formed a lifetime partnership with a large digital media company in Silicon Valley, with the goal of going completely paperless by May 1.
Hard copies of textbooks, journals, and periodicals will soon be a thing of the past, boxed up and banished to a large storage facility in Belize in favor of e-books.
All students will be required to bring tablets to class and all exams will be administered through Blackboard. Paper will no longer be sold in the bookstore and notebooks will be completely forbidden.
Transgressors will be subject to a yearlong suspension from campus activities, including Springfest, Commencement, and the Academic Honors Convocation.
“Technology is the future and the future is now,” said Guy Montag, president of Northeastern’s paperless movement. “Who needs ink and wood pulp when you can have bright screens and fancy buttons?”
Those who find comfort in the smell of old paperbacks—who frequent musty libraries to sniff the pages of Yeats, Carver, and Dostoyevsky—have formed an alliance against the paperless movement. One student—a fourth-year English major named Winston Smith—has gone so far as to boycott class.
He won’t return, he said, until 50 yellowing copies of 1984 have been made available to the campus community.
“Let us flip through the creased and creaky pages as if lost in reverie,” he implored at a contentious campus meeting on Thursday. “Let us recall our childhoods, when knapsacks filled with books weighed down our skeletal frames and threatened to sap our energy before our mid-morning snack of Dunkaroos and Capri Sun.”
Montag acknowledged that he was impressed by Smith’s enthusiasm, telling the young paper advocate that he reminded him of himself in his younger and more vulnerable years. Then he returned to his Kindle, where he continued to read The Great Gatsby.
This article is part of Northeastern’s 2016 April Fools’ Day coverage.