“He was a gentleman and a friend…”

A young doctor at NYU commits suicide by throwing himself off of one of the university’s residence halls. He is remembered here.

“[I]n New Jersey, which has one of the most talented applicant pools in the United States, over 70% of the top students coming out of high school go out of state to college. Of the 30% who remain, Princeton and the College of New Jersey take a disproportionately high percentage.”

William Dowling, author of the wonderful Confessions of a Spoilsport: My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University, has taught at Rutgers University long enough to track its fall from its glory days as one of the public ivies. In an address to the Peithessophian Society, Dowling asks whether Rutgers can save itself as a university rather than a distillery. The current campus is

swarming with party animals who actively despise anything having to do with thinking or learning, who brag about cheating on exams, who spend most of their time playing video games or getting drunk with their friends, and who … should never have been admitted to college at all.

Note the actively despise. UD has noticed this at many of our football factories: Not just polite indifference to the life of the mind, but active hatred. Think Richie Incognito, the soul of the University of Nebraska. Dowling makes the obvious point that “a life devoted to mind or spirit or intelligence [is] what college is all about.” Yet it’s equally obvious that at Rutgers, as at other schools which have always been, or have decided – like Rutgers – to become jock shops, all the money now goes to coaches.

It’s a sad and sickening degeneration. Only students can arrest it.


UD thanks Brent for sending her the link to Dowling’s talk.

Another murder of a student on the mean streets around the University of Southern…


The Tao of Three Hundred Thou.

As Hillary Clinton’s unwise strategy of hitting up our universities for enormous sums of money begins to implode (here’s a long piece in the Washington Post about it), let us look at the matter more closely.

Say a famous speaker came to your campus – part of a fund-raising evening – and was paid $30,000. Drop one zero from Clinton’s 300 thou for a recent speech at UCLA and think about that much smaller sum. Is that a lot or a little? Remember: You are not a Goldman Sachs trader, but a university professor, or a university student.

If you’re a professor at UNLV, that amount is let’s say around a third of your yearly salary. A person shows up for an hour or two, gives a speech someone wrote for her, sits down, and gets a check for a third of your salary. Seems like a lot.

If you’re a student at UNLV, you’re looking at tuition going up 17% over the next four years. Out of state students already pay around $25,000; in-state pay around $6,000. $30,000 is a nice chunk of change.

Now put the zero back in. The trustees of your university shrug their shoulders at the 300 thou and lecture you about today’s capitalistic world (‘Brian Greenspun, a Las Vegas media baron and UNLV trustee, strongly defended Clinton’s fee, which he said is expected to be fully covered by proceeds from the dinner. He said her star power will boost foundation donations. “If you bring the right speakers in, people will come listen to them,” Greenspun said. “If you bring the wrong speakers in, no one will show up. The right speakers, in today’s capitalistic world, cost more money.”’), a capitalistic world against which Clinton’s speech – with its idealistic bromides – inveighs.

So… two things.

1. The number, the sheer number, the three hundred thou, is really by any standard of which you’re aware outrageously high. 30,000 is a lot.


Harry R. Lewis, a professor and former undergraduate dean at Harvard University who has written critically about priorities in higher education spending, said speaking fees at Clinton’s level amount to “an extravagant form of advertising” for colleges that should focus instead on more scholastic initiatives.

“What makes fees at this level outrageous . . . is that one speaker’s fee becomes comparable to what it costs to educate a student for several years,” Lewis said. “At the same time you’re putting your students into serious debt, as most institutions do; it’s an allocation of resources that’s very suspect.”

One ostensible benefit for students is exposure to a major global figure such as Clinton they might not otherwise get. But Lewis questioned that rationale, asking, “Isn’t she on TV all the time?”

Of course, if you’re a UNLV student, you won’t get exposure to her unless you’ve got $200 to drop at the Bellagio.

“Salem joined Goldman Sachs after attending Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and Princeton University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.”

I guess Walter Kirn wasn’t exaggerating. Get a load of Deeb Salem.

I mean, if you still have any questions about why some middle class smart people might not want to attend a school like Princeton.

Most of her $40 million dollar lawsuit has now been thrown out.

Time for this University of Virginia student to double her demands: $80 million!

Background here, in which UD urges the student to increase her damages demand to $1600 million. But upon reflection, and given that most of her case is dead, I think she should pare her demands back to simply doubling them.

The last time I saw URI…

… Her students were at play
I heard the shatter of the glass
Along each broad highway…

Yes, the University of Rhode Island student body is rioting again. The furrow-browed administrator who tells the local journalist it’s an intolerable but at the same time very complex and difficult problem overlooks the fact that URI has for years specialized in admitting huge numbers of drunks and bullies. It shouldn’t really be that difficult to review its admissions and other policies (do they admit everyone who applies, for instance? have they created a campus ethos particularly attractive to drunks and bullies?) and begin to change them. The fact of your being a state school doesn’t mean you have a mandate to harbor every college-age shithead born in Rhode Island.

Smellington Gardens

Staff at Wellington’s Botanic Garden are shocked after a student function got out of control in the Dell.

Victoria University’s Law Student Society garden party turned into a drunken gathering and broken toilet bowls, vomit and defecation last month.

Reminds UD of the legendary Charleston School of Law party held at an aquarium. Guests pissed in an otter tank.

Moral of the story: Keep law students away from all living things.

Mass stabbing near the University of Calgary

At what seems to have been a party celebrating the end of winter term classes, five people – four men, one woman – have been stabbed to death in a student-rented house near campus. It’s not clear whether all were UC students.

Just back from a candlelight vigil on a rooftop at…

…my university. We had two recent student suicides to grieve. Last January, there was another.

It was a warm beautiful evening and the students who spoke were eloquent and none of us can begin to make sense of it.

For those University Diaries readers…

… searching for this post, about the death of a George Washington University student –the student featured in the post is not the student who was apparently found dead in her dorm room this morning. The earlier death happened last January.

Police are not investigating this morning’s death as a homicide.

“Daly is asking for $40 million. That, of course, is just an opening bid. For some, it may seem like a lot…”

Nah! And good to hear it’s just an opening bid. I’m thinking $80 million is more appropriate. This is America, dammit, and the University of Virginia isn’t exactly a shabby college in the woods somewhere. Compensatory damages in Charlottesville are going to look a lot different from damages in … well, in places where for some it may seem like a lot.

No. $800 million. The UVa student who has brought the suit

had just emerged from a grocery store near the University of Virginia when several [Alcoholic Beverage Control] agents emerged from a darkened parking lot and swarmed her car with their guns drawn. One jumped on her car’s hood.

They mistakenly thought she’d bought alcohol at the store. The student understandably panicked and a nasty chase ensued. She also spent a night in jail.


NOOOO. The more I think about this, the more I think $1600 million would begin to address the trauma this woman has undergone.

And again if UD could address herself to some for whom it may seem like a lot – you need to understand the context.


Finally, to take this out of Snark: This seems an obvious case of excessive force, and some compensation is warranted. It’s disgusting that it happened. It’s disgusting that this woman is demanding this amount of money because it happened.

Being Ed Blaguszewski…

… is sort of like being Oscar Pistorius’s defense lawyer over and over again. For years, Blaguszewski’s role as spokesperson for the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been to, uh, yes, acknowledge that some of the lads at the school are a mite violent. They riot; they throw beer cans at the police; they assault and batter with dangerous weapons; they pick spectacular fights.

And they have for years; vicious drunken rioting is a long tradition at the school, and things are getting worse. The latest riot – today’s riot – has so far produced 46 arrests.

And poor Ed Blaguszewski keeps getting wheeled out to say the school is appalled at these bad apples but most of the students are great and hey I’ll bet a bunch of the troublemakers aren’t even really U Mass students …


UPDATE: There’s Got to Be a Morning After…

Arrests are now up to 73.

Collecting bottles and cans around the scene of the mayhem Saturday night, Amherst resident Raul Colon told the Gazette that the day’s events looked like “a revolution, like in the countries that have revolutions between the students and the government.”

And there’s this intriguing tidbit about what you pay for in Pennsylvania when your taxes pay for public universities:

Other colleges across the country have gone on high alert around St. Patrick’s Day to deal with alcohol-fueled students. At Penn State, the school paid licensed liquor establishments to stay closed this month during the unofficial drinking holiday known as State Patty’s Day for the second year in a row.

Your higher education taxes at work!

Well, at Penn State they’ve been paying for (cough) all manner of things for a couple of years now.

“The prison cells will be turned into rooms for students.”

I’m sure they’ll tidy them up a bit. Maybe lower the windows a tad.

Class, and Exploitable Labor Power

Looked at through a purely capitalist lens, the American university classroom surges with potential for professors.

Professors, to take a common instance, can cash in on their captive market segment by making their own books a course requirement.

Years ago, UD covered on this blog a professor who sold ads for a local pizza establishment on his syllabus. He got a cut, as it were, from the pizza joint. (Can’t find the post!)

She covered a professor who, on the first day of class, told his students to write down their social security numbers and pass them forward. He’s in prison now, for theft. (Can’t find that post either! I swear I’m not making this shit up.)

UD has covered several professors who target their sitting ducks not for reasons of personal gain, but personal power. These professors, or their spouses, are running for political office, and they make passing the course contingent on leafleting the neighborhood or answering phones at campaign headquarters.

The noblest of this category of American professors are those who make grades dependent upon each student documenting that she has given blood, or voted, or performed some other civic duty dear to the heart of the professor.

Yes, indeed. A class is a terrible thing to waste.

The latest capitalist wrinkle is on view at Metropolitan State University, where since 2003 the business school has been raking it in by having students sell tickets to local sports events or else. In one course, you get bonus points for selling extra tickets, plus there’s a superduper bonus for “exceptional sales volume.”


All of this is not to be confused with simply enslaving students.


UD thanks David.

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