The secret life of Mario Chard?

After an initially seamless integration into the English department faculty, new addition Mario Chard has been met with some newfound suspicion. Despite his solid university credentials from places like Stanford and Purdue, his earlier background remains suspect, something that the department has recently called into question.

“Don’t get me wrong, we love Mario, but something’s definitely off,” said English department chair Kristin Hunter. “I mean, for starters he claims to be from Utah, but let’s be real here, no one actually lives in Utah. That begs the question, what kind of secrets is one man hiding if he claims to be from Utah?”

Like Hunter, a number of Chard’s students have also noticed some unusual activity in the classroom.

“Every time he enters at the start of class, he always blurts out, ‘It’s a me, Mario!’ as if we have no idea who he is. It’s awfully poor grammar for an English teacher, and he should know better than to refer to himself in the third person,” said senior Lily Morgan. “Also, when there were sautéed mushrooms for lunch last week, I swear he came back at least five or six inches taller. Or maybe it’s just the lighting. It’s hard to say.”

“One time at the beginning of the year we were playing an icebreaker game to get to know each other better, and the topic was ‘favorite fruit.’ So, naturally, I say ‘peach’ and then out of nowhere he just bursts into tears and has to excuse himself from the room,” said senior Katie Zhu. “He didn’t come back for another 30 minutes. We never talked about it again.”

Similar bizarre occurrences have characterized the Askew third floor Writing Center in which Chard has officially set up shop.

“I stopped by after school to help organize the Writing Center schedule, and I accidentally walked on him having a very heated phone call with a man whom he consistently referred to as Luigi,” said senior Jamie Pastan. “They kept arguing over some mansion, but when I asked him later he chalked it up to ‘family troubles,’ so I didn’t push it any further. The strangest part, though, is that he’s never once mentioned anything about his family or relatives.”

In spite of Chard’s unorthodox style, which often involves him wearing bright blue overalls, and peculiar idiosyncrasies, the English department has decided to hold off on any immediate judgment until further notice.

“Of course, the red hat he wears with a huge ‘M’ on it definitely comes across as somewhat egotistical, but he truly does mean well,” said Hunter. “As long as he overcomes his impractical fear of turtles, I think we’ll all get along just fine.”

Unfortunately, Chard was unable to comment as he has been away all week soaking up some sun in Delfino.