In continuing to explore speculative futures (see Gig Profs) it seems important to note that what I am posting are by no means predictions of the futures. Rather, they’re extensions of events, news, practices, and technologies that comes across my desk. To this end, I’ll include some footnotes at the end of each artifact to highlight the connections between artifact and events/news/etc. I hope to use these futures not only to highlight dystopian and utopian futures, but to explore ways for universities to aim towards better, richer, and more equitable futures.

Here’s today’s artifact. It’s a fictitious email sent from a risk and brand management company providing services to a university.

Future email describing negative sentiment toward institution and stating which individuals are related to it


  1. See 3/4 down the page of this news item showing a similar email from a media relations team pertaining to a SOGI event at UBC.
  2. is a software that purports to screen for “toxic workplace behaviour.” Here’s an example of an individual whose background check included a report from this (heads up: extensive swearing).
  3. After analyzing university social media guidelines, Lough & Samek (2014) write: “Across the guidelines, framing of social media use by academic staff (even for personal use) as representative of the university assumes academic staff should have an undying loyalty to their institution. The guidelines are read as obvious attempts to control rather than merely guide, and speak to the nature of institutional over-reach in the related names of reputation (brand), responsibility (authoritarianism), safety (paternalistically understood and enforced), and the free marketplace of [the right] ideas.” — Lough, T., & Samek, T. (2014). Canadian university social software guidelines and academic freedom: An alarming labour trend. The Digital Future of Education, 21, 45-56.