The Office of the Provost announced today that a 10-member interdisciplinary faculty panel has been assembled to investigate band director Dr. Langston Hemenway’s ties to the Putin regime.

The move has been anticipated for some time. The circumstances of Hemenway’s hiring in 2014 have long fueled rumors of Russian meddling. Multiple fake news outlets published intriguing accounts of Hemenway’s accomplishments while he was in the process of applying to the College. One such account involves Hemenway wrestling a brown bear and winning without a single scratch, a feat sure to impress any potential employer. As it turns out, Hemenway might be woefully unqualified, merely a holder of a doctorate from the University of Michigan with conducting experience at several institutions.

“This is not merely an issue of fake news or falsified credentials,” said Dr. Alan Holiman, chairman of the panel. “Dr. Hemenway likely colluded with the Russians to get his job and continues to communicate directly with the Kremlin to undermine the prestige of William Jewell College. We can see the results of it on-campus. The band, for example, has played a repertoire by Russian composers during his time here. Moreover, the choir has sung lyrics in Russian, which leads normal Americans to suspect that those lyrics might have contained coded messages to Russian agents in the Kansas City metropolitan area. If not that, it is also possible that those mysterious foreign notes were actually insults aimed against America. This is very complicated. George Gershwin was the son of Russian immigrants. So was Irving Berlin. Think about that. The implications are disturbing.”

In particular, Holiman was referring to the Symphonic Band’s 2015 performance of Dimitri Shostakovich’s “Folk Dances”.

“It’s awfully suspicious. We should also not discount the fact that the Harriman-Jewell Series continues to feature Russian performers. Is this a coincidence? Inquiring minds want to know,” Holiman said.

The committee also claims to have found a photo not yet released to “The Hilltop Monitor” that features Hemenway at an RT gala in Moscow.

“He’s there, right next to Jill Stein and Michael Flynn. If you squint, it really does look like him. He is not as well dressed as the others, but it’s Hemenway,” Holiman said.

When reached for comment, Hemenway unexpectedly bragged about his alleged connections.

“Yeah, the RT galas are pretty fun. What’s so bad about having a little fun?” Hemenway said. “But Putin didn’t get me this job. I mean, he’s a great guy, very smart, the best, believe me, but he didn’t give me this job.”

A committee press release hinted at the possibility that other professors and college personnel are under suspicion and might be subject to investigation and possible indictment.

“This investigation might lead to more connections at the college to the Putin government,” said Holiman. “For example, during the recent Achievement Day Celebration, the official printed program noted that the audience would sing the national anthem, but we did not do this for the first time in the 20 years that I have been on the faculty. Was this an accident or something more? Moreover, the new Etrieve System, while on the surface an ‘improvement,’ clearly lacks essential functionality. The IT Department might have been hacked unawares and ‘The Hilltop Monitor,’ due to its mysterious inattention to these matters, gives every indication of having turned into a fake news outlet for Russian propaganda.”

President Donald Trump has asked his son-in-law Jared Kushner to correspond with Holiman in the ongoing probe, provided that Kushner himself is not indicted by the Justice Department in the interim. Paul Manafort, who volunteered his services suddenly to the Office of Advancement, could not be reached for comment. Press Secretary Sean Spicer, when asked by the Monitor’s White House Correspondent Drew Novak to comment on these investigation, labeled the entire matter “fake news.”

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