This was originally written back when Bethany College was changing its move plans on a monthly basis. It's a followup to the Havoc's classic "Bethany's Moving to Siberia" article. (Note that Bethany currently is planning to remain in Scotts Valley.)
SCOTTS VALLEY: Bethany College President Tom Duncan announced plans last week for Bethany to become the first educational institution in space.
After plans for relocating the college to Siberia and Tibet collapsed, Bethany's new president has seized an opportunity to move Bethany to a vacant area of NASA's planned space station.
"NASA was desperate for capital and needed a gimick to keep Congress from canceling the station," stated a spokesperson for the college. "What better than the first college in space? It's a perfect match for both of us.
"The space station is even more remote than Siberia or Tibet. We're excited as this will keep students isolated from worldly vices. On the station we will have absolute control over the students, such as their TV and music choices."
Current NASA plans have the space station scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2004, and the school would open in the fall.
"We're not bothered that the opening date is so far in the future," commented a Bethany administrator. "That will give us more time to prepare. We need to raise a fantastic amount of capital for the move and the current campus must be converted to a space camp for training students on living in space. It's a tremendous challenge."
Because of the small amount of room available on the space station, there will be minimal ammenities and the school will be limiting enrollment to two dozen students. Class sizes will be limited to three students and one professor.
"At first we thought the size limits were too restrictive, especially the fact that we will only be allowed four professors and sixteen administrators," stated a college spokesperson.
"But we quickly came to a convient solution--each professor is required to teach six subjects and must have a minimum of three doctorates. They teach in 12-hour shifts. We were also forced to limit administrators to one secretary each. Hopefully they will manage somehow."
Life on the space station will be difficult, according to NASA sources. "There will be minimal gravity and only prepacked food for the first year or so," said a NASA spokesperson. "Our first priority is to get the station up and running. We'll worry about hot showers and less cramped quarters later."
"Life on the space station sounds like a fantastic experience for students," said one excited Bethany student. "Just think of doing your homework while watching the earth spin outside your window."
So far most of the students are split on the plan. "I think it's kind of wacky but I like it," said one.
"Why would anyone want to leave Santa Cruz, even for a ride in the Shuttle?" said another. "There's no surfing in space, dude."
"At the rate the College and NASA work, they'd be better off planning for the Mars base in 2056!" said one student who asked not to be identified because he is a relative of a prominant Bethany administrator. "Twenty bucks says they'll change their mind again."
Because of the reduced enrollment possible on the station, Bethany officials are preparing for a steep price increase. "It's too early to tell," said an administrator, "but our estimate for a year's tuition is approximately $63,326,780, including room and board. That does not include space shuttle ticket, books, and long distance calls home. (Since there's nothing to buy on the station pocket money won't be an issue.) Of course there will be financial aid available in the form of low interest loans."