The Crisis Evaluation Committee, convened to investigate the alleged suicide of Professor Alejandro De la Torre, meets for the first time. Provost Lawrence Rathman briefs the faculty members on their responsibilities.
“The full report will be delivered directly to the President of the College,” the Provost continued. “We’ll offer our recommendations to a wider campus audience, of course, but our specific findings must remain confidential.”
Santiago turned to the others. “To protect the privacy of Professor De la Torre,” he explained.
The Provost pursed his lips and nodded. “Exactly. We’re going to be treading in some treacherous waters here, with respect to issues of privacy.”
“You mean sailing,” said Iris.
“Pardon?” Rathman raised an eyebrow.
“Well, it’s just that you can’t tread in water. You can sail, or swim, I suppose, but you definitely can’t tread in water. You can only tread water. You’re mixing metaphors. It’s not a big deal. Just a pet peeve of mine.”
“Jesus could,” Quan pointed out. “Walk on water, I mean. If that’s how you’re using the word ‘tread.’ Which I think you are, since a tire tread in - what was it, treacherous waters? – makes even less sense. And I’m not even a native speaker.”
“Oh, but your vocabulary and syntax are head and shoulders above many of my students,” Irish gushed. “And I just love your accent.”
Quan smiled and bowed.
“That story about Jesus is debatable, by the way,” said Santiago. “It depends on whether you think a literal or figurative reading of the Bible is more appropriate.”
Iris opened her mouth, but the Provost held up a hand. “Marjorie, ” he said sharply, “perhaps we should distribute the binder.”