On March 5, Vanderbilt’s most recently announced departure, Provost Susan R. Wente, became the not-so-most recently announced departure. It was announced that Dean of Students Mark Bandas would retire at the end of the academic year. In an email,Wente kindly referred to Bandas as “esteemed Associate Provost” and mentioned his career longevity at Vanderbilt, politely implying that “all this time and you could never have my higher-ranking job, lol.” The Hustler reported in a 2018 interview that Dean Bandas is “frequently seen eating Sun-Maid raisins in his office, often consuming the entire Costco-sized 4.5lbs package in as little as a week.”
In honor of our raisin-loving Dean, The Slant felt it would only be right to commemorate Bandas’ tenure with a list of our seven favorite things that are raisins.
1. My fingers after the pool
Everyone has childhood memories of spending a fun day at the waterpark, getting out of the water, drying off and realizing your hands have become discolored chlorine-scented prunes. God only knows how Bandas reacts to seeing his own fingers (and toes!) pruning during a long, hot shower, after a long day of sending threatening Covid-19-related emails to little freshmen!
2. Beef jerky
If you think about it, beef jerky is just cow raisin. Yes, I conceived this purely original thought with my purely original brain, which has never taken a Vanderbilt philosophy class. One just has to wonder if Dr. Bandas, PhD (abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy) in Philosophy (lol?) has ever had such a creative, original thought about beef jerky. My money’s on “no.”
3. The human brain
Wrinkles, wrinkles and more wrinkles. Contrary to what your psych major friend wants you to believe, the human brain is really just pink wrinkles that go brrrr. Critically acclaimed rapper and intellectual Lil Wayne once said, “She give me good brain like she studied at Cambridge.” Well, if that “brain” is a coded innuendo for raisins, sign Dean Bandas up!
4. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Talk about raisin’ my concern for the state of the Royal Monarchy. We’ve all seen the memes of Prince Philip, 99, in the car, shriveled up like a grape past its prime. I’d wager money that Bandas is a fan of Netflix’s The Crown, where he may see himself reflected in the once young, handsome and powerful husband of the queen. “Mark Bandas, Duke of Overpriced Tuition” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
5. My mouth after a biweekly Covid test
Who knew 2.5 milliliters would be so much? Why am I relying on the equivalent of a gen chem laboratory graduated cylinder to provide me with negative test results and peace of mind in these trying times? Why must I ride my silly little bike to the testing center with a mouth as fertile as a Southeast Asian rice field, then ride it back to my apartment with it as dry as my white roommate’s cooking? All very poignant questions for Mr. Make-Sure-You-Give-Me-Your-Saliva-Twice-Weekly Mark Bandas. Honestly, maybe he just wanted us all to feel the dry mouth sensation of eating the raisins that he loves. Talk about a relatable guy!
6. Jabba the Hutt
George Lucas’ Jabba the Hutt perfectly fits the description of a raisin—shriveled up, aged, gross and constantly exposed to the sun. In the Star Wars universe, Jabba is a powerful crime lord and gangster with influence over many. On the Vanderbilt Dean of Students webpage, it is noted that Mark Bandas “has administrative oversight for the offices of Housing and Residential Education, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, Student Centers, Greek Life, Student Organizations, Campus Events, International Student and Scholar Services, Leadership Development and Multicultural Affairs, The KC Potter Center, Active Citizenship and Service, Arts and Creative Engagement, Health and Wellness, Student Health & Wellness, and Conference services.” If that doesn’t firmly cement Mark as the Jabba the Hutt of the Vandy Admin Cinematic Universe, I’m not sure what else would.
7. A piece of paper left out in the sun
What a poetic image: a sun-weathered page left out on a porch and forgotten for months, its ink fading and edges folding inwards. One can only assume that said page would be hard to read. You know what else is hard to read, or at least for Dean Bandas? The room. Specifically, the room concerning Greek Life back in the summer of 2020. After all, I should not be sending messages promoting “bullying or harassment for participation in an approved student organization,” as mentioned in a very substantial and helpful email from Mark himself!
Shenanigans and dried grape-related jokes aside, it will be hard to picture my Gmail inbox every Sunday next semester with no Wente or Bandas around. What am I supposed to do—read these messages from my university’s administration and NOT spam my group chats with “NEW SUSAN EMAIL JUST DROPPED” and “ADMIN MAN ANGRY”? Anyway, I better head out on my weekly Costco run. I hear Sun-Maid raisins are in short supply lately.