An innovative new initiative aimed at promoting and enforcing proper grammar among South Carolina students is slated to begin at some point later in the current fall semester. According to a highly placed source within the school's administration, USC will officially endorse a new section of the University Police Department, known as the Grammar Patrol and Action Squad (GPAS), which will be responsible for overseeing all issues of grammar incurred by USC students.
The new program is part of USC's attempt to raise its academic profile in the midst of a national trend of flagging test scores. The school believes that the GPAS will eventually become such an ingrained part of the university that its influence will begin to rub off on students, leading to thousands of graduates who can differentiate between words like "there" and "their." Rumor has it that the original idea was hatched when a university official read a Facebook post in which one party was called a "grammar Nazi" after attempting to correct a second party's spelling mistake. After a focus group of school administrators decided the litigation costs of forming an actual Grammar Nazi Party to roam the school would be too great, a police force was formed instead.
It is believed that the powers of the GPAS will be fairly far-reaching. Already confirmed is its responsibility to review all social media registered under the names of USC students for potential misspellings, errors in punctuation or incomplete sentences. Users of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr can soon expect all of their previous posts, comments and tweets to be edited for proper grammar. Other members of GPAS will review a constantly-updating stream of new social media entries and make corrections in real-time as the user posts new content.
Despite the apparent violations of privacy and even the right to free speech possibly occurring with this new enterprise, complaints from students thus far have been limited, with many accepting and even lauding the new system. Once such student had the following post on his Twitter account:
"I can't believe USC is allowing this to happen; the very idea of the GPAS is so wrong awesome that it's ridiculous!"
The Black Sheep has received a tip that the GPAS officers in charge of social media have already begun working. Another power the GPAS will have is the power to discipline students who repeatedly flout the basic rules of the English language.
"We have several plans in place for wrongdoers," said one GPAS officer. "We have large dictionaries already in place for minor repeat offenders. They will be beaten with them, of course. We're thinking about playing a game of hangman with the more serious offenders. A super special game of hangman..." The officer then began rubbing his hands together while laughing maniacally.
One potential concern about the institution of the GPAS is their presence in classrooms during examinations. Some professors believe that their actions will disrupt students' concentration and focus. Others say that, because the GPAS officers will immediately examine each answer written down and make any necessary corrections, students will not have enough time to finish what would otherwise be relatively short exams. One English professor in particular took issue with the new practice.
"This is kind of outrageous," said the instructor. "My students write essays for their exams, and I'm pretty sure it's my job to vet them for grammar and writing mistakes, isn't it? I mean, that's kind of what grading is. Wait...they're going to be grading my work for me... Um, nevermind, just forget I said all this. I love this new idea!"
[This article has been audited by the Grammar Patrol and Action Squad.]