Why are you calling this fanfic?

Fanfiction is a genre of creative writing done by those who do not own the intellectual property with which they engage. Some fanfiction writers love the source material, producing self-created stories as an expression of their deep engagement with it. Others use fanfiction as a social corrective-- adding more Black characters to Harry Potter, or making sure that the heroes of the Marvel Universe turn out queer. Still others use fanfiction as a chance to explore whole new worlds, which sometimes bear only passing similarity to the original texts. These stories are often tagged “AU,” for “alternate universe.”

Likewise, the people who join this collection won’t have ownership stakes in the university. They might not even like the university. And that’s ok.

And yet. AU: Alternate University is not a collection of polemics or satires. It already knows that academia is a broken system. It is not invested in further diagnosis; it is interested in treatment plans, both those which already seem within our grasp and those which have yet to be imagined. AU wants contingent faculty, students, parents, administrators, staff, and youth, especially those from underserved backgrounds, even people who have only dreamed of higher education, to be able to envision themselves in our new universities. This book is for them.