UD’s heart goes out to this Yeshiva University student who has discovered that unlike virtually all other American universities, his university operates under strict Omertà.

The guy writes an opinion piece in the school’s newspaper wondering about this – in particular, he wonders about Yeshiva’s … curious …board of trustees, recent haunt of Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin… Current haunt of the notorious Wilfs… And all-’round, COI-infested, $500 million-losing risk-taker…

You really think these big-money boys wanna talk to a pipsqueak like you? Bugsy Siegel maybe they’d talk to. Only he’s dead. You they won’t talk to.


Update: The Forward takes note.

“While awaiting his rape trial, a [Loyola University student] played 3 years of college golf. Now, Ben Holm is headed to prison.”

Par for the course.

Nice Jesuit school too. They must be in contention with Baylor for Most Hypocritical Religious Institution in the Land.

Christian Morality at the Highest Levels

In 2011, Baylor University football star Tevin Elliott was suspended from school for academic misconduct, but was reinstated after university president Kenneth Starr intervened on his behalf.

… Elliott soon faced more serious problems. In 2014, he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison after a trial in which four Baylor students testified that he sexually assaulted them. Three of those incidents took place after his reinstatement in August 2011.

Keeping people like Elliott in school “… was my moral view of what the president of the university does,” Starr said.

Kenneth Starr, president of America’s foremost Baptist university.

As for all those pesky gang rapes (Baylor has recently reached settlements with two of their victims), ‘“I personally have doubts that there were gang rapes,” he said.’

Madoff Redux…

… with the same extensive ties to Yeshiva University.

Today’s highest-profile arrestee, Mark Nordlicht, even shares Madoff’s biography. Both had fathers who were financial crooks. Both were deeply involved with Yeshiva University, as were many of their associates. And of course both ran/allegedly ran virtually identical Ponzi schemes.

UD is certain that if the Lord had granted Nordlicht the length of time he granted Madoff, Nordlicht would, like Bernie, have been able to do fifty rather than a measly one billion dollars worth of business.


A brief review of the latest batch of YU-affiliated miscreants.


“We have to start to become embarrassed by this. There has to be a huge re-set in the Orthodox community.”

Start here: Your most public institution – Yeshiva University – is an increasingly criminalized location. Admit this and start cleaning it up. Remove Wilf’s name from the campus. Remove Rennert’s name from the campus. Strip of their degrees YU graduates who go to jail for massive financial crimes. And don’t strip quietly. Make a public statement repudiating them.

Find a president who doesn’t hide your affiliation with Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin, but who owns up to it and says that you’re now ashamed of it, and ashamed of the greed that made you decide to make those men campus heroes.

Admit that it’s time your university stopped making the news for all the wrong reasons. Admit that your hypocrisy – a pious Orthodox face hiding a cynical self-serving face – has done terrible damage to the school and has somehow got to end.

Subject all of your trustees to financial review by outsiders, with an eye toward conflict of interest and fraud. Then get rid of most of your trustees.

That’s what a huge re-set looks like. At least the beginning of one.

Yeshiva University should offer a Master’s degree in Getting Your Name Dragged Through the Mud.

The American university that put Bernard Madoff on its board of trustees and made him (wait for it) treasurer has never – in the life of this blog, anyway – been out of the gutter news. Sex scandals, money scandals, an entire campus named after a convicted fraudster, a Moody’s rating so low as to be beyond belief…

I could go on. All of which means that this blog has never been able to lose sight of Yeshiva.

YU’s constant corruption is doubly interesting in the context of its pious self-image. It joins company with Baylor University and Liberty University as a national epicenter of religious hypocrisy.

Actually, YU is triply interesting — because of the pathos (it shares this with the other two schools I just mentioned) of there being many good and thoughtful and authentically spiritual people on campus. You can go to the campus newspaper and read their Job-like endless plaints.


Okay, so one of the school’s longest-serving leaders resigned in 2013, and here’s the most positive appraisal I can find of him.

Now the guy’s son, once a member of the university’s Board of Directors, has been arrested for voting fraud and bribery. Yeshiva once again gets prominent ugly mentions in the national press.

The Baylor University School Hymn

[Sing along.]

Free from the law — oh, happy condition!
Rapists have fled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law but saved from the fall,
Starr hath redeemed us once for all.

Once for all — oh, rapist, receive it;
Once for all — oh doubters, believe it;
Cling to the boss, the burden will fall,
Starr hath redeemed us once for all.

There is the boss your burden upbearing,
Pious white suits your savior is wearing;
Never again your sin need appall,
You have been pardoned once for all.

Now we are free — there’s no condemnation;
Baylor provides a perfect salvation:
“Come unto Me,” oh, hear its sweet call,
Come, and it saves us once for all.

If your university’s name is “Liberty,” but the school is in fact tightly controlled by a tinpot dictator who has…

… most recently censored – nay, suppressed – an article in the student newspaper critical of Donald Trump, I’m afraid you deserve all of the ridicule you’re going to get.

Why hasn’t Trump compared himself to Jesus yet?

Scathing Online Schoolmarm notes that politicians in very deep holes often tell their followers that they suffer for the world like Jesus. Proto-Trump Silvio Berlusconi once complained

that he feels like what he called “the Jesus Christ of Italian politics”.

“I’m a patient victim. I put up with everything. I sacrifice myself for everyone,” he said.

Trump has the Jesus language down, but hasn’t yet actually pointed out his similarity to Jesus.

I take all of these slings and arrows gladly for you.

He’s practically, but not quite, there. SOS doesn’t know what’s holding him back. Let’s see if SOS is right that in a day or two Trump will be telling us that he’s the Jesus Christ of American politics.

Bravo, Liberty University Students. Your president, a true son of Jerry Falwell…

… has responded to your strong and principled repudiation of Donald Trump with shameless condescension, and with the desperate panic you’d expect from someone who recognizes he has a real mutiny on his hands. It all makes for great reading as well as great reassurance about the future of American freedom.

We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him. … He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose… Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe, and does not have our support. We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school.

Their hereditary sovereign’s response has drawn a scathe from Scathing Online Schoolmarm.

I am proud of these few students [There are many of them, and they include faculty and alumni.] [And by the way no one cares whether you’re proud of them or not. You on the other hand should be ashamed that a significant number of people on your campus are way not proud of you.] for speaking their minds but I’m afraid the statement is incoherent and false. [Nothing’s more incoherent than an evangelical Christian leader who’s all in for Donald Trump.] I am not ‘touring the country’ or associating Liberty University with any candidate. I am only fulfilling my obligation as a citizen [You’re a university president as well as a citizen; and in your presidential role your clamorous enthusiasm for Trump definitely does associate your school with him. Or, in the words of one of your students, “[H]e’s giving Liberty University a bad name… People associate our degree with the worst presidential candidate in modern history.”] to ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’ by expressing my personal opinion about who I believe is best suited to lead our nation in a time of crisis. This student statement seems to ignore the teachings of Jesus not to judge others but they are young and still learning. [“Now c’mon over here you godless young’uns and first lemme pat you on the head for being so brave and speaking your minds and all! But I’m afraid you are going right to hell and will definitely not have a place at the heavenly table with me and Mr. Trump.”]

The Curious Case of Yeshiva University…

… gets curiouser and curiouser. One of America’s most amoral and at the same time most morally self-righteous institutions now turns to the task of replacing as president a man who raked in millions in compensation while presiding over its financial ruination at the hands of corrupt trustees and other powerful campus figures, starting with Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin. Prominent Yeshiva buildings and programs bear the names of figures like Ira Rennert and Zygi Wilf. Several of the, er, friends of Merkin and Madoff remain in prominent positions on Yeshiva’s notoriously conflict-of-interest-ridden board.

Financially, the school is struggling like few other universities of its size and age in the country. Moody’s continues to rank its bonds as junk and recently determined that the school has a negative outlook. In the past five years, the school has been warned twice (in 2012 and again in 2014) by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education about the possible loss of its accreditation.


Eight years into the university’s financial crisis, Y.U.’s financial problems give no sign of abating. Two years ago, the school lost $83 million. Last year it lost another $84 million. And six months ago Moody’s reported that it expects the school’s financial condition to continue to deteriorate.

Yeshiva leaders represent so much greed and mismanagement that according to Moody’s the school may have to fold. If it folds, this will be due not merely to gross irresponsibility, but – just as importantly – to the ick factor. The gulf between Yeshiva’s self-presentation as a pious institution and the squalid reality of its financial dealings and some of its backers has grown so wide, the school has so profoundly and insistently disgraced itself, that you just have to laugh. It has become a hopeless joke. A tragic joke if you happen to care about the survival of modern orthodoxy in America.

Given this background, UD understands why Yeshiva is thinking of appointing as president a managerially clueless but possibly actually religiously serious person.

Assuming it is trying to survive, Yeshiva is faced with two sort of impossible choices: It can appoint as president a powerful, brilliant, and maybe even honest money manager who might be able wrestle the corrupt board of trustees down and get the school on a roughly legitimate financial footing.

It seems to have chosen not to do this, which means the board continues on its merry institution-destroying way.

Yeshiva University has gone the other way – it has decided to work on its moral reputation. And, I mean, okay – it certainly needs to do this. But it will end up with a nice Queen Elizabeth on the throne and the same bad boys behind the throne.

There are no indications that [Ari] Berman has the experience or even the drive to radically alter how the school functions in order to move it out of the crisis it now finds itself in. While it might be nice in theory to have a president with a PhD in Jewish thought at the helm, the selection of an MBA might have actually guaranteed that the school would be able to matriculate future Jewish thinkers and leaders.

To make matters even nicer, the seemingly endemic corruption and parochialism of Yeshiva’s culture continues unabated with Berman.

Soon, the trustees now guiding the university, including Berman’s uncle, the influential communal leader Julius Berman, will vote on the nominating committee’s selection.

Julius Berman is Exhibit A for what UD is talking about in this post. Notoriously, Berman presided over a holocaust victim restitution fund that for sixteen years was massively embezzled.

[Isi] Leibler singled out Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman and Executive Vice-President Greg Schneider for particular criticism in a recent Jerusalem Post opinion article. Leibler, a former World Jewish Congress official who lives in Israel, wrote that instead of launching an independent review following the fraud, the two men orchestrated a “Stalinist” board resolution that absolved the Claims Conference of all blame.

“Such contemptuous rejection of all managerial accountability in the wake of such a massive fraud would be inconceivable in any public company or government body where resignations or dismissals would have been mandatory,” Leibler argued.

See what I mean? You just have to laugh. Yeshiva University is irredeemable.

University Students: A Captive Audience

Some professors look at a room full of students and see propaganda dupes, army recruits. Teaching for these people is rallying the troops, reminding them every Tuesday and Thursday of the cosmic justice of the cause.

There are more agitprop profs around than you might think. UD has covered a ton of them on this blog, including a very curious Canadian physics instructor

Slightly more benign versions of the rabble-rouser are professors who are running for state rep and who give their students extra credit for leafleting on their behalf, and professors who have found personal liberation via this or that guru and want to burble to the kids about it for two and a half hours a week. And of course there are professors who simply steal money from the sitting ducks. Details here.


Universities need to be vigilant about all of this, er, extracurricular activity; but it’s often hard to know what’s up, and students will tolerate amazing amounts of shit from professors before they complain.

When things get way over-the-top, however, students will complain, as they did a number of years ago at UD‘s own George Washington University. A visiting professor’s course, Arab-Israeli Conflict, turned out to be Israeli Wonderland. According to students, she virtually never mentioned the Arab world, let alone bothered arguing about/against it, and instead sang the praises of the land from which she came. She left the university.

And now there’s the course Berkeley shut down. And then reopened. I think.

Berkeley has a deal where undergrads can teach one-credit courses. This course was one of those.

Here’s the first article about it. After complaints by Jewish groups about the allegedly doctrinaire, relentlessly anti-Israeli nature of the course, the school suspended it. But then they reinstated it. But (the article’s last line) a “new version [of its syllabus] now goes to the Academic Senate’s course committee for consideration.” UD is confused.

Anyway. A Berkeley prof’s defense of the course is a little shaky, seems to me.

The student instructors “are not going to be teaching [some of these courses] from a balanced, cautious perspective — they’re impassioned,” she said.

“It’s as if I were to say, ‘Let’s consider U.S. history through the perspective of Native American genocide,’ … “There are people who’d say, ‘What about George Washington?’ Well, they can teach that course, too.”

Balance is for the cautious! Let your passions rule!

Is it Berkeley, or is it To God Be the Glory U?

Holey Thesis

A Catholic university said the president of Mexico met the requirements for graduation with a law degree, while acknowledging parts of his 1991 thesis were plagiarised.

Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City issued a statement late on Sunday, saying the thesis submitted by then-student Enrique Pena Nieto – elected president in 2012 – conformed with the standards of the time.

“The thesis introduced original ideas” and used outside ideas with and without citations, the statement said. “The (current) general regulations of our institution are not applicable to former students.”

“Notre Dame will kick off its 128th season of football Sunday in a primetime match-up at Texas. This life-long Fighting Irish fan is finding it difficult to care very much.”

Like Catholic, football-obsessed Boston College, Notre Dame of all places is beginning to show signs of spiritual strain. More and more fans confess that the school’s squalid football program – which slimes along its merry way accompanied by a tireless chorus of We’re godly from the school – is so squalid, so hypocritical, that they just can’t do it anymore. Notre Dame is a choir boy gone rancid, and while most of the congregants have decided through an effort of will to grip their hymnals ever tighter and ignore the stinky lad, some have become overwhelmed by the smell. They may still buy tickets to the games, but they’re “finding it hard to care very much.” They’re finding it hard to forget six player arrests in one night, and blahblahblah you know the picture. You know it from forthrightly filthy programs like University of Miami, and you know it from equally but not at all forthrightly filthy Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is Blanche DuBois flouncing around a dump, twirping about her moral purity and her clean bright Southern manse. You just want to look away.

Headline of the Day


Friday Night Saturday Morning

Buy a drink and pull a chair
Up to the edge of the dance floor
Bouncers bouncing through the night
Trying to stop or start a fight

Six University of Notre Dame football players got in so much trouble between last Friday night and Saturday morning that UD is worried they won’t be ready for church today.


But that’s the least of it. Six players is a lot for a team to lose, and there’s a season of football to be played.


No, no, calm down. They’ll all be back on the field in minutes. America’s most famous Catholic university offers compassion to its students who carry loaded unregistered handguns, beat up policemen, and resist arrest. After Friday and Saturday, there’s Sunday, when you receive forgiveness.


So. Six Notre Dame FB players arrested overnight. One more and [Coach] Brian Kelly gets a free sub, I think.

Rick Gregg

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