The Unbearable Lightness of Persky

Judge Aaron Persky probably regrets his decision to go unconscionably easy on young gifted and white Brock Turner in the Stanford University rape case, but it’s too late now. He has sealed his and Turner’s legacy.

On the up side, this historic case has riveted national attention to rape, much as Rutgers sports hero Ray Rice’s elevator ride brought us all together on the subject of domestic abuse. Although Rice provided graphic evidence of his ability to physically destroy an opponent, he has of this writing been unable to secure another NFL placement.

Another up side: Unlike the open air gang rape during Spring Break at Panama City Beach

The video shows several men assaulting an incapacitated woman on Panama City Beach while a crowd of spring-break revelers watches…

— which the crowd filmed but didn’t give a shit about (police only discovered it later, when they got hold of the video), the Stanford open air rape drew the attention of two students, who held down the rapist and called the police.

The University of Georgia’s Next Top Entrepreneur

An award-winning B-School Boy, PCP, UGA… these acronyms add up to a naked angry slimy mess inside a trash truck’s hopper …

The spectacle of this student fighting with the cops for his right to die in a mobile dumpster was impressive even on a campus famous for its immensities of trash. Crowds of student onlookers apparently took lots of videos.

It’s all very primal, isn’t it? Curled naked inside the dark wet womb, UGA’s finest sticks his thumb in his mouth, dilates his eyes and cries No! In thunder.

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UD thanks John.

“[T]he norm in such cases is for the attacker to be male, for the attacks to happen on campus, and for the source of the students’ anger to go well beyond a grade (although that may be a spark).”

In the aftermath of the UCLA shooting, Scott Jaschik reviews what we know about the origins and characteristics of such events. Which isn’t much. Fields like engineering, math, and biology do seem to produce most of the attacks, but nursing professors and comp lit professors have also in recent years been murdered by disgruntled students.

I think that “spark” idea gets us somewhere. My own review of these attacks conjures, pretty consistently, a paranoid loser smoldering with rage.

Et alors? All professors who teach long enough encounter students whose behavior unsettles them. Maybe frightens them. (Professors lucky enough to teach on gun-friendly campuses get to worry that these unbalanced individuals may be packing heat.) Behind the vague word assessment lies the hard reality that most of us will never actually report a student, that we expect university settings to be about intensity and struggle and not giving up on people. Several of these killings came after a perpetual grad student was finally dropped from a program. University settings tolerate the sort of bizarre behavior that corporations would boot out the door in minutes.

For what it’s worth – killers in university settings (I’m thinking of professors who kill professors too, like the notorious Amy Bishop) aren’t just paranoid, from what I can tell. They are often strikingly grandiose, arrogant people. They kill those who refuse to acknowledge their superiority. They are solving a problem: They are ridding the world of people whose existence threatens their god-like self-perception. Professors who give middling or failing grades to shaky people who consider themselves transcendent geniuses would be at risk.

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The gunman has been identified.

[William] Klug was an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and had been the target of [Mainak] Sarkar’s anger on social media for months. On March 10, Sarkar called the professor a “very sick person” who should not be trusted.

“William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor. He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy,” Sarkar wrote. “He made me really sick. Your enemy is my enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust.”

A source called the gunman’s accusations “absolutely untrue.”

“The idea that somebody took his ideas is absolutely psychotic,” the source said.

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… Sarkar has been studying for his PhD since 2006 with no graduating date, two years longer than any of the other researchers.

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The killer had a list of targets and killed one of them – a woman who lived in his Minnesota town – before driving to LA and killing Krug.

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The woman was his ex-wife.

Teams as Gangs

Fraternities create drug distribution gangs; the Wharton School creates insider trader gangs. University athletic teams create rape-gangs and theft-gangs. At the very highest levels, your team of trustees creates international news.

Campuses are places where you connect with people like yourself – people who have similar strong interests and ambitions. Of course in most cases those ambitions aren’t criminal. But if they are, the isolated secret-brotherhood hothouse intensity of certain campus groups, the general public’s romanticization of college and graduate students as inquiring innocents, and the often rabid winner-take-all ideology of some of these associations (the athletes’ cafeteria at the University of Oregon has EAT YOUR ENEMIES in big illuminated letters on the wall), will make it temptingly easy to criminalize your association, if that’s what you’d like to do.

Not everyone on your wrestling team – to take the latest example, from the University of Minnesota – will want to take part in your Xanax distribution conspiracy. But the beauty of things like wrestling teams is that, once inducted into the brotherhood, it’s unlikely even non-participants will squeal.

My point is that when you’ve already got an organized team, you make much easier the transition to organized crime. There’s a lot of disorganized drug selling and buying at colleges, but it’s always going to be small time, and it’s going to be vulnerable to detection (see Wesleyan University). Fraternity drug rings only seem to get infiltrated after they’ve had a chance to grow enormously, as at San Diego State. The Minnesota gang seems to have had a chance to grow similarly huge — it handles spectacular quantities of Xanax.

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UD thanks two readers
for telling her about
the Gophers and the Xanax.

Poor Lake Shasta!

It’s within range of both Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.

“He was different in the best ways possible … He was drawn to obscurity…”

A brilliant, outrageously effervescent Georgetown University undergrad dies in a skiing accident. Here’s a terrific evocation of him.

On one level, it’s too bad.

I mean, it was predictable that having made the incredibly stupid decision to book a vile person for a George Washington University concert, the school would have to turn around and cancel; but on the other hand, this may be the last time UD sees the name Action Bronson and the phrase Spring Fling in close proximity to one another. Like Pol Pot Tea Party or Adolf Hitler Ice Cream Social, Spring Fling with Action Bronson has an amusing ring to it. She is grateful to the GW Program Board for adding it to her little trove of linguistic treasures.

Spring Break: The Agony and the Ecstasy

After last year’s broad daylight beach rapes, confiscation of huge numbers of illegal fire arms, and mass shootings, Panama City Beach was finally shamed into enacting some liquor and crowd control laws.

“People are falling off balconies, going home dead, going home paraplegic. Is that the community we want to be?” [one resident] asked. “Panama City Beach had depended for decades on this revenue, and to [enact new laws] overnight, that’s a big thing to do. But how do you continue when people are getting raped, shot, killed?”

The obvious answer was for Panama City Beach to think of spring break in a new way… To think of it as like a demolition derby or like the climbing of Mount Everest: Of course there will be … some… unpleasantnesss… but no great and noble enterprise is without its risks.

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But no. PCB went ahead and outlawed drinking on the beach and lots of other stuff that makes crowds of people murderous. And this year spring break at PCB barely exists. Everyone’s gone somewhere else.

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And that’s the ecstasy part! If you’re Daytona Beach, take a bow!

Spring’s First Bud!

Er, I mean blood.

Spring Break is quite the American tradition. We bring to it our nation’s own very special way of celebrating the renewal of life.

The University as Cascading Failure

Some universities – like some doomed airline flights – generate one little disaster after another until the whole place crashes.

True, most universities don’t actually crash; football games and fraternities endure, and classrooms have people in them. But we all know the universities that have sort of had it, like the University of Louisville, whose embedded brainless good ol’ boyism dooms it to scandal after scandal for all eternity. (Put “Louisville” in my search engine if you can stomach it.) The U of Smell, as it’s now known, has become a smutty joke.

The latest news out of Texas A&M, aka Rancho Manziel y Perry, is maybe a smallish story, maybe even a routine story about routine racism at a school known for it. The latest thing is a bunch of Texas A&M students harassing some non-white high school kids who were visiting campus to see whether they might want to attend a school that seems to boast a significant number of people who really really dislike people who look like those high school kids.

Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi … It’s real out there down there. They don’t, like, hide it, or talk in code or anything. Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong, seems to be the approach.

One lesson from the recent university shootings:

Don’t turn people away from your party. That seems to be what happened at Northern Arizona too. And in the years UD‘s been covering university shootings, she can recall several other examples.

Another theme she’s picked up on is the vast size of some of these parties. Hundreds of students and non-students, and lots of drinking and drugging. Things get way out of control.

“More than a few frats have figured out that they’re supremely – UD would even say unbeatably – well-situated as far as the drug trade goes.”

If I may quote myself. It’s not just the notorious cases, like Cal Poly and San Diego State. More and more frats are discovering that their secrecy, their clean cut college guy front, and their ability to form themselves into tight loyal gangs, means that organized crime of all kinds can flourish in-house. The drug trade is simply the organized crime of choice.

Problem is, drugs bring another crime: the crime of violence. These frat boys pack guns. There’s their drug gang and your drug gang and… you know. Maybe you even live in Chicago.

Serious university drug markets almost always center in and around the frats. Unserious university drug markets, like those at preppie schools like Wesleyan, tend to be a bunch of unarmed deadhead friends making a bit of money selling stuff to their roomies. But serious university drug markets, like the one at the Delta Chi fraternity at Northern Arizona University, do not fool around.

Why hasn’t Northern Arizona University shut down Delta Chi, with its history of drug sales? Some of its members, according to reports, were involved in some way in the shooting (one person dead, three injured) that took place yesterday on NAU’s campus. It’s too soon to know if the shootings were drug-related, but let’s say that they were. Why was Delta Chi still in operation?

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Correction: In the original post, I mixed up the University of Arizona in Tucson and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I’ve now corrected that, thanks to a reader who noticed the error.

This photo lacks a background showing the microwaving of a kitten…

… but the captain of Pace University’s football team has managed to squeeze a lot of striking if slightly incoherent stuff into this picture… the Confederate flag… the Ku Klux Klan… the Nazi salute…

Some students got hold of it and complained, and now Tyler Owens is suspended from the team.

I think before doing a major official wee-wee on the White House lawn, the school should … Well, as the joke about the strong brew in an Australian town has it, the koala-tea of Mercy is not strained. Give the jerk a break.

Ok, so I love the Barbie Jeep.

American ingenuity at its best.

Plus she’s way quotable.

“Most people don’t find the things my friends and I do very funny, just immature, so I didn’t expect to get this big of reaction.” [SOS did some light editing on this statement.]

A GW Student is Missing in South Africa.

He had gone swimming “in the East Cape Province on Sunday, on the country’s ‘Wild Coast,’” and has not been seen since then.

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Nicholas Upton has drowned.

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