‘There’s where I labored so hard for my Massas, / Day after day in Phi Kappa Psi’s …

back room…’

The Eastern theater of the American Civil War rages again, as the traditional fraternal order goes to war against campus pussies.

Men lining the patio of a bar on The Corner were quick to yell “insults and slurs” at the [anti-rape] protestors as they walked by, said Carl Goette-Luciak, a fifth-year student who helped to lead the march.

Others volleyed comments scorning the actions of the crowd as it marched through the streets, but Goette-Luciak contends that facing such a reaction was the protest’s way of “confronting the issue where it lives.”

“If male students at [the University of Virginia] will deride the people who are demanding change, [if they] won’t take seriously how important this moment is, it just stresses the gravity of the situation we’re facing,” he said.

Later in the night, Goette-Luciak said he saw five students, both male and female, tearing down a memorial that students had created at Peabody Hall. In support of those who had been sexually assaulted, students had covered the doors of the administrative building with Post-it notes filled with stories of their experiences and encouragements toward survivors, he said. They also placed stones, creating a “small mountain” in front of the building, to symbolize survivors they knew.

Goette-Luciak said he walked past the memorial an hour or two after the protest when he saw students tearing down the notes and discarding the stones.

“We confronted them and they were very aggressive, very violent towards us,” he said. “One young man in particular, with chest puffed out, kept screaming, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ and then left.”

Baby, you go up against our way of life and you’re gonna hear about it. We’re here and we’re beer, get used to it. We even got girl camp followers.

“If we have learned anything with the Sandusky scandal at Penn State, we have learned that those with expertise in coaching or teaching or research or in university administration are often not equipped to handle the intricacies of a criminal investigation. We have learned that facing an issue head on, regardless of the potential for negative publicity, and letting the proper authorities handle it, will protect both the individuals and the university.”

A Penn State person shares her scandal-wisdom with UVa.

I’m fine with this except for the writer’s suggestion that coaches, of all people, are unequipped to handle criminal investigations.

If university football coaches aren’t equipped to handle criminal investigations, who is?

Doesn’t experience count for anything?

“The deeper you read into the story, the more clear it is that the University of Virginia’s administration has been absolutely and disgustingly derelict for decades, protecting the reputation of the institution at all costs.”

More commentary on “rapey” (new one on me) University of Virginia, in The American Conservative, in which the author quotes a UVa sociologist —

UVA may be to fraternities what Boston was to the Catholic Church.

— and then goes on to elaborate (he covered the church scandal) the ways in which this analogy is correct.

The first case I wrote about, back in 2001, involved an immigrant teenager who was passed around priests in a Bronx parish. When the boy’s father learned what happened, he went to see an auxiliary bishop. According to the victim’s lawyer, the auxiliary bishop allegedly pulled out a checkbook and offered a payout in exchange for the father signing a paper giving the Archdiocese of New York’s attorneys the right to handle his case. The father may have been a laborer and an immigrant, but he knew a scam when he saw it. He left and hired his own lawyer.

And here we see the University of Virginia following a similar script.

He means your basic cover up / keep it in-house M.O.

I don’t understand the attraction of college Greek life… Too rapey. I do not want my kids, as college students, to be subject to rape, to participate in rape, or to be in a position in which they are pressured to prove their loyalty to their fraternity, their friends, and their university by staying silent about rape.

**********************

Overheard from a recent campus tour guide.

‘Near our Jefferson statue all drapey
Live our buck naked frat boys all rapey.
The contrast is striking
And quite to the liking
Of writers from Reuters to AP.’

Terrific summary of events so far at the school some have taken to calling…

… UVrApe. It’s by UD’s friend, Scott Jaschik, at Inside Higher Ed.

In the Atlanta Journal Constitution, no less, a columnist has the temerity to ask:

Is It Time To Ban Greek Life on Campus?

This, in the land of the University of Georgia!

She doesn’t really answer the question, though I guess she thinks banning them would be a good idea. I mean, she reviews the increasing number of schools doing that, or doing something short of that but on its way to being that… And she reviews the literature on frats.

Several studies have found frat members are more likely to commit rape: (Bleeker & Murnen, 2005; Boeringer, 1999; Foubert, Newberry & Tatum, 2007).

… Sixty-four percent of Greeks report binge drinking, compared with 37 percent of their classmates.

But in his research, Jeffrey DeSimone suggests frat members would likely drink with or without the fraternity; it is the prevalence of alcohol in frat life that attracts pledges in the first place. “Students who join fraternities presumably perceive that membership will facilitate desired binge drinking by matching them with students who share these preferences,” wrote DeSimone.

Wonderful scathe of bad sex writing…

here.

There’s so much rape on college campuses, it can get very difficult to keep up with all of the stories.

In this article, Mother Jones just singles out the high-profile football-related rape stories over the last few decades. UD‘s favorites are

Louisiana State University, 1998: Star running back Cecil Collins was dismissed from the team after being accused of two sexual assaults in two weeks (the first was of a minor). He was sentenced to probation. That didn’t stop another football program, McNeese State, from offering him a full scholarship, or the Miami Dolphins from drafting him. “Charming and likable, he has, nonetheless, seen his collegiate football career derailed by sexual assault charges and failed drug tests,” the Sun-Sentinel reported in 1999. His career ended in 2001, when he was convicted of breaking into a woman’s home to watch her sleep.

and

Arizona State University, 2004: A female student working as a tutor for a summer program for football students sent an email to her supervisors about a freshman recruit: “I don’t want to get raped in college and that is what Darnel [Henderson] makes me feel like when he is around me.” By the end of the summer, ESPN reported, Henderson had been accused of sexually assaulting women in his dorm and exposing himself to female staffers. When confronted, his response was to tell a staff member that he felt he had to “show [women] their place.” The university’s response was to bow to head coach Dirk Koetter’s request that Henderson keep his scholarship. When Henderson was accused of rape by a different student a year later, ASU police mysteriously waited three weeks to interview him despite deciding internally that Henderson was probably guilty. A university administrator accompanied Henderson to his meeting with investigators, and when the case was submitted to Maricopa County, the district attorney declined to pursue the case. ASU administrators, meanwhile, tried to destroy incriminating evidence — like the fearful email. Koetter, who sought to get Henderson a scholarship to another top-tier college football program, was fired two years later because he couldn’t consistently beat top-25 opponents.

As the University of Virginia gang-rape story rages, UD will try to put it in context by doing this: Reminding you.

*****************

Of course the clever Rolling Stone writer chose UVa for her spell-binding story (she could have chosen almost any university) because of the irony. Schools like LSU (“Went in dumb/Come out dumb too.”) lack, er, valence when the lads go a-raping. You go after UVa because it’s convinced itself and everyone else it’s better than that.

******************

By the way: Don’t tell me you can’t do anything with an English major.

As a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate, [Susan Rubin] Erdely discovered her passion for magazine writing while working at 34th Street, the magazine of the student-run Daily Pennsylvanian. She soon dropped her pre-med studies, graduated in 1994 with a degree in English…

You can change the world with an English major. You can use it to learn how to write like Sabrina Rubin Erdely. From her opening paragraphs:

She remembers the men’s heft and their sour reek of alcohol mixed with the pungency of marijuana. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding that went on and on.

As the last man sank onto her, Jackie was startled to recognize him: He attended her tiny anthropology discussion group. He looked like he was going to cry or puke as he told the crowd he couldn’t get it up. “Pussy!” the other men jeered. “What, she’s not hot enough for you?” Then they egged him on: “Don’t you want to be a brother?” “We all had to do it, so you do, too.” Someone handed her classmate a beer bottle. Jackie stared at the young man, silently begging him not to go through with it. And as he shoved the bottle into her, Jackie fell into a stupor, mentally untethering from the brutal tableau, her mind leaving behind the bleeding body under assault on the floor.

You think this article would have caught fire the way it has, would have left thousands of people – in the words of the UVa faculty – “heartbroken and enraged” if its author didn’t know not just which school to choose but how to write?

She knew to start not with statistics and histories, and not with outrage and disbelief, but right in the thick of the immediacy of the attack: Present tense for Jackie’s ongoing recall (“she remembers”), past for the sober precision of her narration, with the author adding nothing by way of emotion. With this sort of material, you park yourself in neutral and let the tale tell itself. This is what you learn if you study the greats – Orwell, Didion, Capote, Vidal.

You see how she’s opted against commas and semi-colons in the first sentence, in order to let the violent and confusing rush of the events re-present themselves? You see how she’s learned alliteration and assonance (last man sank) along the way, so that our inner ear enters into her poetic rhythm and keeps going?

She remembers the men’s heft and their sour reek of alcohol mixed with the pungency of marijuana. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding that went on and on.

Note also the repetition of remembers, which not only gives the recitation the feel of a mournful litany, but is psychologically true to the lifelong repetition-compulsion to which the rapists have sentenced their hazing object. She’ll circle around these moments forever. Note also that this sentence, with its close knowledge and recall of the rapists’ intimate and particular bodies, says more about the persuasiveness of her account than any lie detector could. It is viscerally compelling.

Erdely has also learned the importance of the powerfully telling detail: her tiny anthropology discussion group. Her tiny anthropology discussion group! Oh right, this is a university! Small serious select groups of young intellectuals gathering to talk about higher things – like about the way human beings act in groups! Well, she’s in a small group right now, and one of those human rituals is happening right in front of her. (“The men are on their own ‘turf,’ whether it be a part of a park, a shack, or a fraternity house. The identity of the woman is irrelevant. Anyone who happens to be at or near the premises will suffice. All the men drink a great deal of liquor. Then, in the presence of the entire group, each has sex in turn with the female. … While individually they probably would not engage in such brutal or degrading conduct, when reinforced by their companions they exhibit no sense of what most men and women consider decency or compassion.”) Come to UVa and don’t just book-learn about tribes! Our opportunities for experiential learning put you right in the middle of the lord of the flies.

And look at the subtleties you’re learning! You’re learning the masochistic anhedonia that underlies happyhappy male bonding, aren’t you? (“cry or puke”… “we all had to do it…”) You could read The Berlin Stories, say, if you wanted, at the tender age of eighteen, to understand this vicious mix… Or you could save time and visit one of our frats.

And the word tiny. The delicacy of that little word almost unbearably conveys the small hopefulness, the fresh modest eagerness, of this clueless, avid freshman from rural Virginia suddenly at the big fancy school full of handsome athletic older men in frats who wanted her! Wanted to go out with her!

Erdely ends the account, and this paragraph, with a riot of assonance/alliteration:

mentally untethering from the brutal tableau, her mind leaving behind the bleeding body under assault on the floor

A bit over the top stylistically? Maybe. If this had been Didion or Capote or Orwell they might have edited it, like this:

mentally untethering from the tableau, leaving behind the bleeding body on the floor

But when things are over-the-top lurid, your prose needs to rise to it, and Erdely has held her heavy verbal weaponry for the very last part of the account.

When a university’s president decides to go overseas as perhaps the most damaging story in its history explodes into a national scandal…

… she can expect some backlash.

[University of Virginia president Teresa] Sullivan’s absence has not gone unnoticed, said Katherine Schieffelin, whose daughter attends UVa.

“She should be naming the time and date to join her at the Mall to stand in solidarity for the safety of women,” Schieffelin said. “She should be encouraging all who love UVa to join her with candles and flashlights and provide a voice to those students who feel betrayed by this administration.”

When Sullivan was ousted from her post by a faction of the Board of Visitors in 2012, she enjoyed the full-throated support of protesters who demanded and helped secure her reinstatement, Schieffelin said.

“Many people fought hard with similar gestures to keep her in office and instead of releasing this whitewashed statement she should be showing outrage and passion and fire,” she said. “She should be leading.”

Sullivan asked Charlottesville police to investigate and issued a statement Wednesday before leaving the country, assuring the UVa community the school “takes seriously the issue of sexual misconduct.”

The statement was lambasted on the university’s Facebook page by hundreds of students and alumni who said Sullivan did not go far enough.

Looking more and more like West Virginia University, the University of Virginia now…

… also suspends all fraternities.

But what are you going to do? Fraternities are designed for drinking and fucking. Riots and rapes are the totally unsurprising results.

Forget the routine sado-masochistic theater of hazing. That’s a trifle here.

But it’s your culture. If you’re UVa or WVU or Dartmouth or Arizona or whatever, it’s who you are. You won’t be able to suspend them for long.

Unconvinced? Look at the way Florida State and Penn State have responded, en masse, to their outrageous sports scandals. Look at entire local cultures, really, composed of journalists and police and lawyers and trustees and alumni designed to let sports-related miscreants do whatever they want to do. Penn State students rioted when their rapist-enabling coach was let go. Florida State students blocked the latest New York Times account of their foul football team. There’s nothing to be done with such places. Really nothing, beyond what people have done with notorious rape campuses like the University of Montana. They think twice about sending their daughters there.

Nothing to be done except this.

UD discovers…

… at the Garrett Park Farmer’s Market
this morning, round black Spanish radish.

blackrad

Not as something to eat;
she knows nothing about
it as something to eat.

As something beautiful.

She bought six of them,
arranged them on a brown
plate with their turnipy
stems up, and put them
on the black table on her
wooden deck.

If the squirrels begin gnawing
them, fine. It’s all organic.

Snapshots from Home

He was nominated one last time in 2013 for the special Christmas in Washington.

Ian Fraser, the music director with whom La Kid worked for nine years, has died.

All sorts of bad and sad news out of the University of Virginia.

This school has been knocked around very badly in the last few years: the lacrosse murder, the attempted trustee takeover. It is currently dealing with a number of suicides, the murder of Hannah Graham, the Rolling Stone article about a gang-raping fraternity there, and, most recently, a violent response to that article:

An anonymous letter submitted to various news organizations claims responsibility for the vandalism of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house which occurred early Thursday morning.

The letter was submitted via email shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday by “John Doe” at the email address strawberryqueen1717@gmail.com.

The vandalism came as a response to a Rolling Stone article published online Wednesday which detailed an instance of gang rape which allegedly occurred at the fraternity house in Sept. 2012.

This is an insane amount, all at once, for any university administration to deal with; and there’s plenty of evidence that UVa’s administration has been, historically, denialist, and, it seems, only marginally competent.

By the way, UD wants to suggest that group attacks on fraternity buildings should not surprise us. Indeed we should probably prepare for more.

Liquid Diet Prep

Former Cape Cod Doctor Censured for Performing Drunken Colonoscopy

Another day, another university’s football program…

… Two universities’ football programs…

There’s Florida International University, bleeding its students dry for a team no one watches. Here’s a recent lead from a local article about the team’s last game:

A near-empty FIU Stadium for Senior Day. The Panthers sloughing about as Middle Tennessee State built a second-quarter deficit almost as large as FIU’s average points per game…

After which the reporter goes on to … describe the game. Why not. It’s what he’s paid to do.

FIU students, however, pay a fortune not to attend football games.

And then there’s the University of Wisconsin, whose students also seem a bit miffed about the football program. The editors of the UW Madison newspaper complain about a thank you to our supporters video of athletes that ran on the Adzillatron during the last game and which “left the audience with an uncomfortable and annoyed feeling.” Apparently it featured the lads larking about, while a voiceover kept repeating that the university’s facilities were “world-class.”

A simpler, “Thank you for all the support,” without explicitly mentioning more than once the world-class, bordering exorbitant facilities would not cross fans in the same fashion.

Another cause for the discomfort stems from the funding in general.

While student-athletes have access to their world-class facilities, many students would be right to ask “What about me?” Between the crumbling infrastructure of the Natatorium, the SERF and the Shell, our options pale in comparison.

… [S]tudents will be footing 57 percent of the bill for the [most recent] facilities [upgrade] while the Athletic Department will contribute 3 percent. After seeing what the athletes have and seeing videos boasting their new, nearly $125 million facilities coupled with their newly approved $133 million budget, as students, it’s difficult to accept the lack of participation by the Athletic Department.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank, in an open email to Madison students, likened the Athletic Department increasing their financial contribution to “asking the physics department to pay for improvements in chemistry, just because they both study science.”

This oversimplification does a disservice to the students. What if the physics department uses the chemistry facilities on a regular basis and does not allow chemistry students to use them at that time?

Or, what if the chemistry students bailed the physics department out of a projected $1.5 million deficit like in 1989, when the Athletic Department was under financial duress and student segregated fees covered the deficits?

Oh pish-posh. A little bitter, aren’t we? If y’all weren’t losers who can’t throw a football, you’d be singing a different tune.

The University of Chicago as Paradise

“I was a bald little kid,” he recalled in a 1984 interview. He wore wigs the rest of his life. He attended several schools, public and private, in and around New York City, and after a brief false start at New York University, went to the University of Chicago, where he threw off what he had considered a lonely and difficult childhood.

“I never had a friend from the time I came to this country until I got to the University of Chicago,” he told one interviewer. To another, he described the university as “paradise.”

“I began to see there was a world I could FIT in,” he said. “I was happy AND neurotic.”

Mike Nichols, 1931-2014.

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