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No, the Honor Committee should not switch to trial by ordeal

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Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

The following content is purely satirical and entirely fictional. This article is part of The Daily Princetonian’s annual joke issue, which you can find in full here. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!

After the omnipotent ruler of the world, who orders alike the fate of kingdoms and the course of time, had blessed us with the gift of justice, inspiring our noble ancestors to create the Honor Committee, blasphemous reformers threaten to trample His Holy Name by changing our mode of judgement to the ordeal.


This perfidious reform, inspired without a doubt by the Evil One himself, masquerades as bringing divine justice to a corrupt, human process. But what this will bring is anger, retribution, and destruction from God the avenger. Implementing the ordeal to deliver justice was a practice rightly abolished by our most holy father Innocent III, for God is not to be tempted, nor is He a magic eight ball for us to shake answers out of at our every whim. 

I say this to you, for the Heavenly Father has blessed me with the gift of visions which have shown me the calamitous consequences of using ordeals. 

The first day will feel no different as they do usually. The first of those condemned to undergo the judgement of hot iron, cold water, and hot water shall escape from their tortuous trials unscathed. To the amazement of their corrupt judges and innocent bystanders, their hands shall remain unburnt and their bodies shall not be drowned. These seemingly benevolent signs will not be that, but the first signal of almighty God’s refusal to entertain the ordeal’s blasphemous beliefs.

On the second day, squirrels shall abandon their noble pact of peace with humankind and will turn against us. Students and faculty alike shall run and scream in terror as our former friends of bushy tails jump onto us from the trees above and the ground below, vying for our books, snacks, and (possibly) our blood. No one, mighty or small, rich or humble, shall be able to escape their ire. Only those that take refuge in the holiest of sanctuaries on campus — the Wawa — shall be spared from the pandemonium erupting outside.

As the third day arrives, students and faculty hiding in the most holy Wawa and in their dwellings will be compelled to act upon a desire they never thought they would have. They will pick up their copies of “Speak Freely” and will be unable to stop reading them. Those who have already read it or have finished reading it will read it again, and the cycle shall repeat until the book’s mighty words are deeply incised in the readers’ minds. Those who in the past cast their copies into the fire will witness them return from their ashes. In the end, all books on campus shall turn into “Speak Freely” allowing no one to escape its teachings.

Upon the rising of the sun on the fourth day, we shall learn that our most Holy Father the Pope, Servant of the Servants of God, has imposed an interdict upon our campus. The effect of the interdict shall be the closure of the holiest site of our brethren: the Wawa. With the Wawa closed, we shall lose the only place that guards us from God’s curses. We shall lose all nourishment, both physical and spiritual. For the Spirit cannot subsist if it is denied its frequent share of Wawa quesadilla. 


On the fifth day, confusion will reign as all campus buildings and place names are changed to Lewis. Students shall have class in Lewis Hall, sleep in Lewis Hall, and perish in Lewis Hall. Your friends will tell you to hang out in Lewis Hall, but you shall not know if it is the building you are in right now, the next one, or the one beyond the vastness of the sea of golf. Anyone who attempts to defy this divine punishment by trying to remember the old names will be instantly consumed in Greek Fire.

On the sixth day grade deflation will return. Yes, we shall still be writing papers and taking exams even as these curses assail us. 

During the seventh and final day the worst of these curses shall befall upon us. The skies will crackle with lightning and then darken. The earth will tremble and chasms will open. Our wonderful gothic towers, pointing to God as our proudest achievement, will crumble as they are replaced with cold featureless walls of concrete and glass. Our budgets shall shrink, and our aid will disappear. Orange and Black shall be replaced with a bright, infernal, glowing Red as our “P” grows a second leg. The campus of Princeton University will disappear as it is replaced by Rutgers University, Princeton campus. 

These are the prophecies that I, inspired by the eternal glory of God, the creator of Heaven and Earth (and Princeton too, we are not gods) profess upon you should we adopt the unholy and long-condemned system of ordeals. 

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There is only one suitable alternative for the Honor Committee to bring judgements of justice upon all students. We must abandon our efforts to tempt God into performing insignificant signs and instead use a method that represents the highest ideals of reason, justice, and above all, honor. The only legitimate way for the Honor Committee to impart justice is through the most noble and courageous method of trial by combat.

Johannes Josephus (known to laypeople as Juan José López Haddad ’22) is a third-year monk from the Abbey of St. Eisgrubanus in Montclair, N.J. He can be reached by those who dare scale the treacherous slopes upon which the monastery sits.