‘Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university, but it’s a football school. It should at least have the decency to distance itself from the Baptists and the Christian “do unto others” rhetoric.’

Yeshiva University. Baylor University. Our nation’s flagship religious hypocrisy campuses.

UD Sends Love and Kisses to Fellow Members …

… of her “fringe and vociferous group,” Women of the Wall. Recall UD, featured here in the Forward (scroll down to her smiling and her holding her prayer shawl), at a rally outside the Israeli embassy on behalf of religious freedom in Israel.

And, well, WOW. We won.


(Your blogueuse.)


Chelsea Clinton: J’ACCUSE!

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin sharply attacked the American Jewish Reform movement during Sunday’s government hearing on the compromise regarding a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Western Wall, saying that Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to her Jewish partner, officiated by a Reform rabbi and a priest, shows the extent of assimilation among Reform Jews in the United States.

“… [A] man who calls himself a reform rabbi is standing there with a priest and weds Hillary Clinton’s daughter, and no one condemns it, thereby legitimizing it.”  

D.H. Laurentian

UD‘s Canadian friend Jack sends her news of another Acting Out university instructor. The Acting Out person is almost always a middle-aged guy whose sense of himself as uniquely possessed of difficult and shocking truths that must somehow – anyhow – be conveyed to students has gotten way out of hand.

Like this guy a few years ago at Columbia University who taught physics by “stripping down, curling up in a fetal position and letting ninjas harass him while a projection of the Twin Towers falling and the Holocaust played on the television.” Or this guy – at Leeds University – who also stripped down to convey important truths about events management. There was also a Canadian who taught physics by talking almost exclusively about hidden political “power structures” and then giving all of his students A’s.

And now there’s this other Canadian who teaches intro psych by having his students sign a contract in which they promise to let him use all the naughty words he wants, in exchange for which students will be exposed to such “advanced methods of problem solving” that they will no longer be “duped by social-political agendas.”

Or – as he puts it in another section of the contract – after taking his course, the student will “be minimally influenced by unpleasant experiences.”

Students must read a list of the naughty words and then sign off on them.


Some of the writing in the contract is mysterious.

If I require special needs I will not approach the professor in order to maintain my anonymity but instead arrange a convenient meeting with the professor and the Special Needs Office.


Sample exam questions, some of them anecdotal (Students at Laurentian’s med school were told to stick their fingers in a corpse’s rectum and then lick their fingers…) also appear in the contract.


For UD there has always been a pathos to the Acting Out professor. This is a man who has, after years of confusion and repression, liberated himself – politically, sexually. He’s excited about this, and wants to share it with students. As James Merrill put it, these men are “sharing pain like fudge from home.” Pain (“unpleasant experiences”) has been for them, and will be for their students, superseded by pleasure, so that by the end of the semester everyone will be like Joel Osteen, bursting with the joy of a new life.

Good Christian School Rejoice!

Good Christian school rejoice!
With heart and soul and voice.
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! News!
Settlement is reached today.
Lots of cash has been dispensed
Ukwuachu won’t play defense.
Settlement today! Settlement today!

Although he never played a game
He’s brought our school yet more infame
Than we endured with Elliott.
News! News!
We covered up as best we could
Til justice caught us up but good.
Smile, Smile and silent be!
Wait out this ignominy.

“[W]here does the money really go?”

A Jewish Week writer thinks about end of year charitable giving.

Yeshiva University president Richard Joel received a $1.6 million deferred compensation payout on top of his $738,180 salary despite the university’s $150 operating deficit…,

… I’m sure [Joel thinks he] is underpaid and doing the Lord’s work, but how many of [Yeshiva’s] contributors realize that their donations are going to pay salaries they could only dream of and bonuses that probably exceed their own income for at least this year if not more?

“[M]any lower-ranked institutions are paying millions to their president each year. Yeshiva University (164) president Richard Joel earned $2.5 million.”

A president who drives your university into junk status and gives Bernard Madoff an honorary degree doesn’t come cheap.

Why is this man…


How to Assure Generational Crime Within the Orthodox Jewish Movement

You start at a lower level than Yeshiva University, haunt of too many financial criminals and close-to-criminals to count (put YESHIVA in this blog’s search engine to sample merely the Madoff and post-Madoff eras); you start in high school, where Sheldon Silver’s son-in-law, himself a convicted Ponzi schemer, apparently taught economics to the lads.

Silver, whose piety is splashed all over today’s headlines, is a proud son of Yeshiva University – honorary degree recipient, commencement speaker.


A look back: Jeffrey Goldberg asks why.

This Thanksgiving Day, the Florida State University Community Gathers Around its Tables to Thank God for its New President, John Thrasher.

America’s rapeabilliest campus prayed for a president able to deflect relentless incoming sexual assault claims, and God gave it the perfectly named Thrasher — a man willing to spend his twilight years (he’s in his seventies) thrashing back and forth like Bonnie and Clyde in their 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan as one sex-bullet after another smacks him pow right in the kisser.

As they pass the turkey, students, faculty, administration and alumni can reflect with gratitude on the way Thrasher’s long career as a Florida pol and lobbyist, er, seasoned him for the curious job of chief academic officer at a school with virtually no academics and virtually non-stop rape claims.

FSU is the star of a new film; it’s featured in big splashy New York Times articles; and just this morning, as FSU football fans begin to dig in to the bird, news outlets all the country are headlining the just-released content of court papers that detail special treatment for football players accused of rape, the fear of retaliation on the part of victims, and… you know … just the whole stinky stewpot of a school that wants everyone to shut the fuck up so it can watch men bash each others’ heads in.

And sure – things are closing in on FSU. Even the DOE is after them for mishandling the assault claims. But did Bonnie and Clyde give up? Did they run and hide and try to live respectable lives? No! They were what they were unto the breach! Sic Semper FSU and amen!

Paul Berger, a Writer for The Forward, has been able to make a career out of following…

… the amazing greed, hypocrisy and incompetence of Yeshiva University’s president, Richard Joel. The financial and moral ruination of that university at his and his friends’ hands (these include the current board of trustees and some former trustees, like Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin), its reduction to a Moody’s basket case, represents one of the most stunning university stories of the decade. Berger has been right on top of it throughout.

This is a university that has named one of its campuses after the Wilfs. Its Entrepreneurial Institute bears the storied name of Ira Rennert.

The latest dispatch from Berger captures two out of three Joel attributes: greed and hypocrisy.

As his college’s finances continued to crumble last year, Yeshiva University’s president, Richard Joel publicly took a pay cut. Then months later, he privately pocketed a deferred compensation payment of $1.6 million.

That payout took Joel’s total compensation for 2014 to $2.8 million, among the highest packages for college presidents nationwide.

… In the year that Joel received the $1.6 million payment, Y.U. ran an operating deficit of $150 million, according to recently released tax records.

That same year, Y.U.’s endowment fell by $90 million, the school was forced to sell $72.5 million in real estate, and Y.U. entered into negotiations to spin off its prestigious but money-losing medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The investor ratings service Moody’s demoted Y.U.’s debt rating to junk status in January 2014 and it has not been raised since.

When you think of the various sorts of noise students and faculty are making at universities across America lately, it’s staggering to consider the almost-total silence at Yeshiva, where people who care about things like spirituality, ethics, and the value of serious study have allowed themselves to be ruled by cynical hedgies for years and years. UD feels confident Yeshiva’s next president (Joel retires soon, with full honors) will maintain its legacy of robbing the school’s mouse-like professors and students.

“I think of Baylor as a pro football team with a Bible college attached.”

Well, yes. We all do.

The Bible thing allows you to differentiate between West Virginia University, where locals call Morgantown “a drinking town with a football problem,” and Baylor, which seems to have low rates of alcohol consumption, but shares UWV’s burning commitment to recruiting the best players regardless of, er, violent propensities.

At both schools there’s an unsettling conflation of football and the school’s spirit of choice (alcohol, God). And at both schools, whether they regard their players as Christian Soldiers or Frat Boys on Steroids, violence appears to be totally okay.

Goes without saying that guns and gangs (Baylor’s home, Waco, is in the headlines for biker/police shoot-outs) make up much of the rest of the social fabric at these locations.


And don’t forget sex. Nobody competes with the University of Montana and Grizzlyville (used to be Missoula, but the football team is the Grizzlies) for broad-shouldered sexual assault. But Baylor’s in there trying.


Anyone with the intestinal fortitude to examine the deep structure of Baylor – as in, how do you actually produce places like Baylor and Waco? – will tend to gravitate toward the school’s board of trustees, where a Bobby Lowder-like figure name of Buddy Jones seems to run the school and the town.

Buddy’s real enthusiastic about Baylor. Back in 2012, when they won a few games and all, his response was this:

“We like to use biblical analogies, and this is a year of biblical proportions,” Buddy Jones, a regent at the university, told the New York Times in 2012. “As we would say in Christendom, it’s like an early rapture.”

When his vision of the proper role of the booster was threatened by the alumni association, Jones (then chairman of the board of trustees) wrote to a fellow zealot that he couldn’t wait to

put on camp (sic) and load my weapons and go hunting for BAA game. Licking my chops.

Buddy’s official trustee statement has a rapturous boy/girl thing going to explain the nature of the school:

“Baylor’s uniqueness is her commitment to quality higher education by adapting to the 21st century, while never straying from her deep roots in God’s word and her role in his plan for mankind.”

Was Buddy the genius behind the groom’s cake at his daughter’s wedding?

[The cake was] an edible replica of Baylor’s … new stadium with a saluting bear in the middle. But perhaps the most impressive part of the cake is the video screen, which looks like it actually works. At the very least, it had a light in it that gave the illusion of working.


So much of this comes together this Saturday night, when a match-up between two of the nation’s scummiest football schools – LSU and Bama – will feature a political candidate’s prostitutes and patriots ad. Layers upon layers upon layers.

Yeshiva University’s Ira Rennert.

Another day, another lawsuit.

Background here.

Having done all the damage he can to Yeshiva University…

… Richard Joel steps down as president, leaving this junk bond status entity to … Well, what does University Diaries live for but to watch universities implode? Let’s see whether Zygi Wilf, for instance, transfers his attentions from running the Vikings to running Yeshiva, where he is already a trustee.

Negative Theology.

[College of Faith] was held to negative 100 total yards against Tusculum College in Tennessee this season, an NCAA record. The final score was 71-0.

UD thanks Andrew.

The art of self-description for your home page…

… is a little tricky. Sure, you’re promoting yourself, making yourself look interesting, etc. But you don’t want to go too far. You don’t want to look like a braggart.

Of the many home pages UD has read, none has come anywhere near that of Jonathan Sacks for throwing humility – even faux humility – to the winds and beyond. Sacks, a rabbi, has in the past lamented that

Humility is the orphaned virtue of our age… Humility — true humility — is one of the most expansive and life-enhancing of all virtues … True virtue never needs to advertise itself. That is why I find the aggressive packaging of personality so sad. It speaks of loneliness, the profound, endemic loneliness of a world without relationships of fidelity and trust. It testifies ultimately to a loss of faith…

So let’s see… On his home page, Sacks introduces himself as a “moral voice for our time.” He quotes “H.R.H. The Prince of Wales” calling him “a light unto this nation.” He quotes Tony Blair calling him “an intellectual giant.”


As a moral voice for our time, Sacks has a whole lot to say about, well, morality. Pages and pages and pages on how we should live, what’s good, what’s bad. He obviously takes his moral voice for our time gig very seriously.

And yet beyond the perhaps small matter of his hypocrisy in regard to humility, there’s the more pressing matter of where he gets his money.

His academic position is funded by Ira Rennert. Sacks is the Ira Rennert Professor of whatever. And Ira Rennert has just been for the second time found guilty of looting one of his businesses to pay for a personal residence so psychotically ostentatious (it’s the largest and most expensive private house in America – kind of the concrete embodiment of the Sacks home page) that during his first trial his lawyer “demanded that photos of it not be shown, arguing that doing so would inflame the jury.” He bought a business, forced it into bankruptcy, took all of its money, and built a house for himself with it. Two judges have told him he has to give the looted money back. Rennert will, of course, keep appealing.


Oh, and he gave some of the looted funds to Sacks.

Also to another man of heavy virtue, Joseph Lieberman, Rennert Professor of something else.

There’s a lot of other stuff about their benefactor – involving payment of taxes, industrial pollution, and eh you don’t wanna know.

And Sacks and Lieberman certainly don’t want to know. That’s their prerogative. But they should stop posing as moralists.

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