It’s currently the most dangerous city in the US…

.. and you can go to school there! The last time this blog glanced at the University of Louisiana Monroe, in 2010, it quoted a member of the campus community complaining that “We spend a disproportionate amount of money on academics.” At the expense of…? Hey whaddaya think… Athletics adds so much to the… ambiance… of Monroe:

[ULM football player] Kerry Starks, 21, grabbed Abriona Kirt, 26, by the throat with both hands and attempted to drag her out of Hammers nightclub in Monroe by the hair. He also allegedly caused an estimated $400 in property damage by punching out the rear windshield of Kirt’s vehicle with both hands.

Kirt was also placed into custody by Monroe Police after police say she pepper sprayed Starks in the back of the head while he was in handcuffs. Both subjects appeared to be intoxicated …

Oh, and if Yale returns the Sackler money…!

Corey O’Hern, director of Undergraduate Programs for the Sackler Institute and a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, emphasized the importance of the Institute in fostering collaboration between departments at Yale. According to O’Hern, there is a lack of grants supporting such research on the national level. “The funding, independent where it’s from, has been crucial to developing this interdisciplinary research and training,” said O’Hern. “The thought of it going away is scary, stressful and sad.”

Corey? Do you know what Yale’s currently hoarding in its endowment? Do you know that your university sits on thirty billion dollars? If you don’t realize that Yale doesn’t need Sackler money, I find that scary, stressful and sad. Just ask Andrew Kolodny:

Despite benefits from the Sackler Institute, Kolodny maintained that Yale has a moral impetus to rename the program. “Yale University, if they are taking money from the Sacklers, they are taking blood money,” Kolodny argued. “That money came from the marketing of the Sackler family’s activities which led to millions of people becoming addicted and thousands of people dying.”

“I think Yale University can afford to give the Sacklers back their money,” he added.

Refreshing Honesty from a Member of Yale’s New ‘On What Grounds Do We Sandblast Names of Donors from Our Buildings, Named Professorships, and Programs’ Committee

‘… David Blight, a history professor and a member of the committee … said the Sackler program is just one of many potentially unsavory names at Yale. The renaming of Yale Commons as the Schwarzman Center following a donation from Stephen Schwarzman ’69, a private equity manager who served briefly on one of President Donald Trump’s business advisory councils, also spurred contention on campus this year. [UD wouldn’t take his name off a building for that reason; but surely Yale could find gross shit out about Schwarzman unrelated to Trump…]

“The reality is, as you know, this is how major universities function. Almost everything here has someone’s name on it,” said Blight. “My first reaction, I’m afraid, is skepticism, because behind great wealth there is always going to be an awkward story. Behind great wealth there will be a crooked path of some type, whether that wealth was made in fossil fuels, pharmaceuticals, real estate or finance.”’

Yes, it’s icing on the cake that the guy’s name is Blight.

He doth speak the truth. Almost all the major moneybags – David Rockefeller comes to mind as one of the highest-profile, at Harvard – are unsavory, and plenty of them go beyond that, well in the direction of Sackler criminality. I mean, Steven Cohen? Pretty much anyone at Yeshiva University? Don’t get me started. Blight’s right that going down that road means noisy incessant sandblasting.

Fulminating Fraud.

When it’s a way of life in two communities, you get these amusing outcomes.

Controversy swirling around the [amnesty] program [offered to the welfare-fraud-ridden Orthodox Lakewood New Jersey community] has not waned in the last year.

In October, the Asbury Park Press revealed that despite [New Jersey Comptroller Philip J.] Degnan’s public statements that the program would recover all benefits wrongly paid to residents, it recouped less than half and left $2.6 million on the table.

Degnan said he did not know until the final days of the amnesty offer that a rogue employee was offering discounted repayment terms to residents.

But confidential documents obtained by the Press say at least four employees and top-level managers in the office knew and signed off on the negotiated settlements.

The employee who led the amnesty program, Andrew Poulos Jr., claims in an ongoing lawsuit he was fired last year and made a scapegoat for the program while his superiors, who also knew about the deal making, were allowed to continue working. The superiors denied knowing about the discounts, the comptroller’s office has said. 

What can UD say?  It’s Jersey.  

The man famous for saying “Without God, We Are Nothing”…

… turns out to be quite something.

Yes, US universities suffer from “the Greek system.”

But get a load of the Greek system.







A Rich Country Full of Rich, uh, Chaps

Here are a couple of live ones: Ira Rennert and Michael Simons.

Both are already endowed with insane riches and honors: Business schools are named after Rennert; he lives in the largest private residence in the world (or close to it). Simons is a much-honored, tenured professor of medicine at Yale.

Yet Rennert’s unbridled greed and bullying and rule-breaking mean he spends his life in courtrooms unsuccessfully defending his nefarious practices. When he loses (and he loses most of the time) he turns around and sues his lawyers for failing to defend the indefensible.

Plus there’s his money for West Bank settlements.

Simons has produced important work in cardiology, and as a named chair at Yale he sits at the absolute pinnacle of the academic world. But after admitting to general sexual harassment of women at Yale, plus a more specific thing —

In addition to the sexual harassment, the university committee found that Dr. Simons had exercised “improper leadership and compromised decision-making” with regard to [a] researcher’s husband, also a cardiologist. Dr. Simons, who is married, began making advances to the researcher, Annarita Di Lorenzo, in February 2010, in a letter, and continued his pursuit despite repeated rebuffs. She left Yale in 2011. Her husband, Dr. Frank Giordano, who remains at Yale, said Dr. Simons froze his professional advancement.

— he lost his named chair. He got to keep most of his other goodies, but he did lose the chair.

Except not really. I mean, he lost one chair, but his cronies at the school found another one sitting around, and so Simons was a named chair again! But then people were outraged that Yale was continuing to confer this very high honor on, uh, this chap, so the cronies removed him from the second chair. (“To lose one chair may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”)

So of course Simons is suing Yale to get this, that, or the other chair – some chair, any chair – back. Because, you know, life without a chair!

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

America, my beloved. Lawsuit city. UD madly loves her country, but there’s a lot of … wealth … in it.







‘Billion dollar Medicare fraud. Jesus. The number of lives that were ruined due to that much fraud is horrifying.’

A commenter at Deadspin gets to the heart of what matters in the University of Pennsylvania bribery story.

The University of Miami continues to this day to proudly take … well, dirty hardly does as an adjective for Esformes money, does it?







‘Why is FAU letting Tracy teach this class? Do they know what he really is teaching?’

There’s a reason they call it Find Another University.

Really. Sincerely. If you’re looking to attend a university, find another university.







Addiction in; Donation out…

… is the slogan of the opioid-mad Sackler family, which takes its massive dope-earnings and ploughs them into high-profile gifts that glorify the Sackler name.

“It’s amazing how they are left out of the debate about causation, but also about solutions,” Allen Frances, [a retired] Duke psychiatrist, said of the Sacklers. “A truly philanthropic family, looking at the last twenty years, would say, ‘You know, there’s several million Americans who are addicted, directly or indirectly, because of us.’ Real philanthropy would be to contribute money to taking care of them. At this point, adding their name to a building — it rings hollow. It’s not philanthropy. It’s just a glorification of the Sackler family.” According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, more than two and a half million Americans have an opioid-use disorder. Frances continued, “If the Sacklers wanted to clear their name, they could take a very substantial fraction of that fortune and create a mechanism for providing free treatment for everyone who’s become addicted.” Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, created the Nobel Peace Prize. In recent years, several philanthropic organizations run by the descendants of John D. Rockefeller have devoted resources to addressing climate change and critiquing the environmental record of the oil company he founded, now called ExxonMobil. Last year, Valerie Rockefeller Wayne told CBS, “Because the source of the family wealth is fossil fuels, we feel an enormous moral responsibility.”







The Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients…

… boasts on its board one of America’s most notorious opioid distributors: John Hammergren. As CEO of McKesson, he has flooded West Virginia and similar defenseless states with so many opioids that over the last ten years, while helping to destroy the lives of thousands of Americans, he has brought home seven hundred million dollars in personal compensation.

As Alfred North Whitehead reminds us, “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.” Thanks, citizens of Kermit!

It must give the scholars at CSIS a warm feeling to ponder this major source of their funding (Hammergren is also a big-time donor). UD thinks the CSIS leadership should visit Kermit and give every one of its corpses a big fat kiss.

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

To make it all even prettier, Hammergren chairs a CSIS task force on family health!

While you’re enjoying 60 Minutes, and following today’s news about Tom Marino (currently suffering from withdrawal), remember that opioid-loving drug czars may come and go, but people like Hammergren, given respectability by seemingly respectable academic outfits like CSIS, go on forever, destroying entire towns and setting health care policy.







‘The Audacity of Blaming Sex Addiction’…

… is an article in The Atlantic about Harvey Weinstein.

These are … problems of power and status that manifest as a violent disregard for others — a failure to acknowledge the autonomy of women or a problem accepting it and a compulsion to revoke it by force. So it feels especially jarring to hear that same person professing a lack of agency in these acts.

Whether you refuse to let women out of the house unless they cover every inch of their body with a black sheet, or refuse to let women transact business with you unless they take off their clothes and go down on you — whether it’s All clothes off! or King-sized sheet on! — it’s quite the same thing: The violent revocation of women’s autonomy.

The only thing that differentiates American from French culture in these matters is that when Dominique Strauss-Kahn (an uncannily identical twin to Harvey Weinstein) was himself finally outed, bigshot philosophers defended him.

[Bernard-Henri] Lévy says … that the man he calls a friend of 20 years, “bears no resemblance to this monster, this caveman, this insatiable and malevolent beast now being described nearly everywhere. Charming, seductive, yes, certainly; a friend to women and, first of all, to his own woman, naturally, but this brutal and violent individual, this wild animal, this primate, obviously no, it’s absurd.”

BHL is a smart guy, but he seems unable to grasp that you can be an articulate, enlightened economist, or a sensitive maker of art films, and a primate.







Even at this early stage in the Penn State frat hearing, you have to admire the brothers’ all-American pluck, their sheer determination, to break laws and hurt people.

There’s a great, all-American saga playing out at that already-notorious campus, Penn State.

With multiple layers of monitoring (cameras, a live-in chaperone, a security firm), this alcohol-free frat went out and spent $2,000 on liquor and proceeded to haze to its heart’s content.

As everyone now knows, one of its pledges slowly and hideously, on camera, drank himself to death – all under the watchful yet indifferent eyes of the frat guys.

Watchful yet indifferent eyes – that seems the general theme, no? Was anyone monitoring what the cameras recorded? There are allegations at the hearing that the chaperone simply advised the guys to destroy some incriminating evidence. The security firm dropped in for a pointless cursory visit; it found no kegs because they were upstairs and the security people didn’t bother going upstairs for their three-minute stay (nice work if you can get it).

Are you, like UD, putting this picture together?

1.) An approved Penn State fraternity — Penn State, a university desperately needing to repair its public reputation — under three layers of surveillance because it’s so irresponsible.

2.) A night of total, unchecked, fatal debauchery.

3.) Defense lawyers blaming it on the victim, the national fraternity, and Penn State.

4.) A protracted and very ugly trial looming.

Ask yourself: What the fuck does Penn State think it’s doing?







Road Kill

[The fraternity brothers] were trying aggressively and affirmatively to make sure that Tim did not get help because it was against their interests,” [Timothy Piazza’s attorney] said. “They knew that if they were caught with liquor, if they were caught with a young man who had fallen down the stairs all those hours later, that it was going to be a problem for them. He was the unfortunate road kill in this adventure by these young men who thought that they were above the law.”







‘On March 30, Penn State permanently banned Beta Theta Pi from campus, accusing it of a “persistent pattern” of excessive bad behaviors. “Penn State took action. But the public will wonder and they will need to address why it took this death for the university to shut down the chapter [where] there was an apparent history,” says Glenn Selig, chief strategist at the national PR firm, The Publicity Agency.’

No kidding.







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