Does this taste funny to you?

[Ben] Edelman had little to gain here. He’s a very well-paid professor and consultant; $4 is not particularly significant to him. It certainly isn’t worth the time Edelman spent in trying to obtain it. Edelman’s time is extremely valuable, to the tune of at least $800/hr, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Spending any more than about two minutes on this refund makes this a losing proposition for Edelman. But he has made a career of examining predatory practices places like Facebook and in the airline industry. He probably believes sincerely that fraud in all forms should not be tolerated, and that as he goes about his life, he should use the full muscle of his education, experience, and privilege to set things right, so that other people are not taken advantage of.

A New Republic writer defends Harvard’s terror emailer, and in so doing provides a fascinating window onto postmodern American culture.

It would never occur to this writer that anyone demanding eight hundred dollars an hour – at least eight hundred dollars an hour – as a consultancy fee — over and above his Harvard salary — is pretty disgusting long before he begins intimidating local merchants who make him lose four dollars. Obscene levels of personal greed (“[W]e don’t say very much about greed, not comfortably at least. Perhaps that is the inevitable price of an economic system that relies on the vigor of self-interested pursuits, that it instills a kind of moral quietism in the face of avarice, for whether out of a desire to appear non-judgmental or for reasons of moral expediency, unless some action verges on the criminal, we hesitate to call it greed, much less evidence of someone greedy.”) are incredibly socially destructive.

But no – we should admire this man because he is, writes the New Republic guy, “a roving pro bono consumer protection unit.”

What a generous soul! This selfless guardian of the just distribution of wealth sets aside email time to harass restaurants that overcharge him by a pittance. All Hail Edelman.

Blended Classroom

Not sure how I missed this one.

Student shames president of dangerously drunk and disorderly Keene State College.

In the aftermath of the Pumpkin Riots, Keene State’s president says:

While she recognized students were involved she pointed out that this sort of behavior happens all over the country and many of the rioters involved “had no affiliation” with Keene State students.

Although it’s obviously not true that college riots so violent towns have to call out SWAT teams and national guard troops happen all over the country, the president of Keene has to say this, because she runs a business-model party school founded largely on the provision of liquor. She also runs a school so broadly notorious for alcohol and riots that its riots draw participants from all over the state — which allows her to point out, self-righteously, that not all the rioters were Keene State students…

A student in the audience at this public discussion stood up:

“Keene State was part of the problem,” said John LaFord. “No more of this, ‘we weren’t involved, ‘ or ‘it was other people,’ who did this. We did this. …We were part of the problem and it’s about time we recognize what we did, what we’re doing and what we are all going to do to fix it.”

This naive lad doesn’t understand how business-model party schools work. The president needs to take him aside and explain the school’s business plan.

You don’t fix Keene State. You keep running the drunks as long as you can get away with it.

“[T]he fraternity members who mocked and interfered with an anti-rape rally don’t just need sexual assault prevention training. They need mental health exams.”

The local paper goes there.

For a long time, UD went with stupidity as an explanation, because business-model party schools like San Diego State University have to admit a lot of stupid people. Then – for similar party school reasons – UD went with wasted, because being drunk certainly helps make it possible for men to hurl eggs and dildos at women …

(By the way: Remember what UD told you about a similar civil war at the University of Virginia, where frat boys are destroying anti-violence exhibits and, when asked to stop, loudly threatening the people asking them to stop? As with San Diego State, don’t expect the pro-rape forces to surrender without a fight. And those SDSU frats don’t fool around: The last DEA raid on them uncovered a number of guns, plus an impressive cash reserve. )

But it’s occurred to her that the editorial board of U-T San Diego is probably right: Group psychosis looks most plausible.

Let’s put it this way: Drug-running, gang-banging, eat-my-puke pledging fraternities are tailored to appeal to some of America’s most promising sociopaths-in-training. If you want to understand these people, read the chapter in The Story of O when O is brought to a become-a-slave sorority, and instantly goes from a psychopathic masochist to a psychopathic sadist.

UD wouldn’t think of denying that the personal traits honed in some of America’s highest-profile fraternities can be traded up to a career at Goldman Sachs. And, uh, Lehman Brothers…? She understands why predatory capitalism is called predatory capitalism. She sees perfectly well the through-line between secretive all-male sado-masochistic loyalty and this blessed bountiful land.

She just wonders why this form of social interaction dominates so many of our universities.

It’s never too soon to do the math.

This UVA fiasco may have put Virginia taxpayers on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in damages from civil lawsuits.

… What did UVA officials know and when did they know it? Under state law, the UVA Board of Visitors is fully responsible for all areas of campus life, including student safety. Many students have been expelled for violating the honor code. But how many for rape? …

UVA’s leaders made a fatally flawed choice for years. Because of that, Virginia taxpayers now face huge financial risks, not to mention suffering a terrible blow to the state’s reputation.

[Eh. When your last leader was the soon to be imprisoned Governor Vaginal Probe, there ain’t much rep to lose.]

… Bottom line: Virginia forgot to take care of its own on state property, at a place of learning where young minds are to be educated, not where bodies are to be sexually tortured.

Well, that last phrase certainly gets it said. Well done.

Just for comparison purposes: Post-Sandusky, Penn State has (so far) paid out roughly sixty million.

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

Update: On Penn State, a reader points out:

$60 million is just the victim restitution. Another $80 million in costs, and $36 million still due to the NCAA fund.

“The union claimed Farahi has driven up the university’s debt and cares more about appearances than education.”

They made this scurrilous claim in the aftermath of Kean State University’s president having tarted up his cv something wild.

Now that he’s used tuition and taxpayer money to buy a $219,000 table, I suppose we can expect them to say the same thing again.

Too Much Even for West Virginia University

All fraternities and sororities at West Virginia University were suspended Thursday after an 18-year-old freshman was found unconscious and not breathing inside a fraternity house, just a week after a different fraternity was suspended after 19 pledges got into a street brawl, university officials and police said.

And of course there was the matter of that massive, massively destructive student riot last month. Etc. Etc. Do a “West Virginia University” search on this blog if you have a lot of time and a strong stomach. It’s cute to call a university a “party school,” but at perennial top-ten party school WVU what it really means is huge numbers of permanently pissed, violent students (and, in some cases, pissed coaches) who end up torching Morgantown and fucking up freshmen whose bodies haven’t adjusted to prevailing blood alcohol levels.

Still. It’s interesting to see that even WVU has a tipping point.

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

But don’t get too excited. A temporary cease-fire has been negotiated between the two primary factions – the university and the fraternities. Left out of negotiations so far are both the government and citizenry of Morgantown, which will have to be included in any future agreement.

Further, there are very likely to be conflicts within Morgantown, for instance between business interests (large numbers of students with near-fatal addictions to alcohol attract large numbers of bars) and public safety advocates. Any attempted crackdown on alcohol will also mean a very unhappy sports program, which understandably fears a falling-off in game attendance if students are no longer allowed to get drunk enough to burn down Morgantown.

On top of all of this, the numbers crunchers at WVA will have to be consulted, since they can provide crucially important estimates not only of riot-preparedness costs, but settlement expenses arising from wrongful death suits filed by parents. It will be the money managers’ job, moreover, to remind the university (see Penn State and Chapel Hill) that public relations firms tasked with the almost-impossible job of making squalid universities smell like roses do not come cheap.

‘Some saw the dean as being dismissive when he announced the formation of a new task force on gender equity, saying it was necessary because some women felt there were problems. Dr. Daniel C. DiMaio, a genetics professor, said it was not just women complaining. The dean replied, “O.K., Dan and some women think there’s a problem.”’

Yale med’s Dean Robert Alpern and some men think there’s not a problem, and they’re boys, which means they’re in charge.

So they’ll make the decisions, thank you very much.

Some women best keep their traps shut. Dean Alpern can protect his friends and fail to protect his enemies just as effectively as I’ll Kiss Your Lips in Liguria and Kick His Ass in New Haven Michael Simons can.

In his fine early novel, Great Jones Street, Don DeLillo gives a vicious little domestic terror group the name Happy Valley Farm Commune….

… one of a number such acid jokes in his chronicle of a rock star’s withdrawal from the madness of postmodern culture.

UD was reminded of the Happy Valley Farm Commune when she saw the name of the University of Nebraska fraternity whose members gifted a freshman with the alcohol that killed him (blood alcohol content .365).

The name of the place? FarmHouse Fraternity. Sweet.

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

Interesting to see UNL keeping up the traditions of their big hero, Richie Incognito.

“The locals call Morgantown a drinking town with a football problem,” Playboy said. “We call it a seven-year plan with the …

possibility of parole.”

With Mr Football – the inescapable Gordon Gee – as president, with a drunk coach, with more liquor outlets in town than you can shake a couch-burning matchstick at, and with all its money spent on the stadium and a new “inspiration” room for the team (There’s too much West Virginia University filth on this blog for individual links: You’ll have to put West Virginia University in my search engine and settle in for the night.), WVU is jest about America’s trashiest school. Nestled in the heart of pillbilly country, WVU’s got something to offer every dead-head town-trasher in the nation.

West Virginia University: After you drink your way through football games, it’s time to hit the streets and set fire to Morgantown.

‘Another student, who grew up in Keene, said he wasn’t surprised by the behavior that happened over the weekend, and is disappointed at the college’s culture. “These things are going to keep happening and not change unless we do,” he said. “We have truly hit a low here.”’

First post-riot thing Keene State should do: Make Craig Brandon’s book about the school and his escape from it required college-wide reading. Students need to know the history and culture of their school before they can do anything about it.

Adjunct professor Lori LaBrie, a Keene resident, said there are people who live in the neighborhoods around the campus who aren’t college students.

If students want to do something to help the college’s relationship with the community, they should stop holding parties until 3 a.m., racing cars up and down the streets and setting off fireworks, she said.

“It’s terribly frustrating to people here, and really disrespectful of other residents,” she said.

That’s Keene State, long before the pumpkin wars.

Junior Mariano Perez said Sunday morning he was denied his regular student discount at a local coffee shop. He said he didn’t disagree with the decision, in light of what had just happened.

Freshman Heather M. Fougere said she walked into Cumberland Farms on Main Street Sunday wearing a Keene State College sweatshirt. While there, an elderly couple glared at her, then looked away, she said. She kept her head down, she said.

The Scarlet KSC! I wouldn’t wear those letters for awhile.

People trapped in Keene State Hell are going to do what they can by way of reaction to the destruction of their town, and there’s always the marketplace…

UD feels confident students will continue to find a discounted welcome at the liquor outlets.

And if you go to Yeshiva University, you get to walk all day around Wilf Campus.

But then, you also get to contemplate the glorious history of other Yeshiva trustees besides Zygi Wilf, like Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin, if you go to Yeshiva University.

Yes it’s a fine school, a religious school, and you know that “religious” means a finer moral compass…

But wait… What’s this headline?…

The Broken Moral Compass of Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf

This morning, after seeing which way the wind was blowing, the Wilfs released another statement, finding other principles that allowed them to cave in to the backlash against the Vikings. After “further reflection” and input they “appreciate and value” from the community – not to mention the loss of sponsors such as Radisson and Nike pulling AP jerseys off its shelves – they suddenly realized getting Adrian Peterson away from the team was actually what he wanted: “Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.”

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, the Wilfs continue to stall, delaying payments to the two partners who sued them in 1992. Apparently, 22 years is not quite enough “due process” for the Wilfs, who were already upbraided by the judge in uncommonly harsh language, when she found against them and said they acted with “bad faith and evil motive.” Nevertheless, the Wilfs have engineered yet another delay in paying the nearly $100 million ($84.1 million in damages plus $15.1 million in attorneys’ fees) for what the Star-Ledger describes as having “cheated their partners … for more than 20 years.”

Yeshiva University: Its main accomplishment in the last few years has been avoiding legal responsibility for what everyone agrees was decades of sexual abuse of their high school students. Now there’s something to be proud of! Meanwhile, there’s the likes of Zygi Wilf on their board of trustees; there’s the school’s abysmal Moody’s rating

Tax Syphons, Law School Edition

Scummy for-profit universities are by now a notorious national scandal; Paul Campos reminds us that that you can get the same thing in a law school:

[S]chools accredited by the American Bar Association admit large numbers of severely underqualified students; these students in turn take out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans annually, much of which they will never be able to repay. Eventually, federal taxpayers will be stuck with the tab, even as the schools themselves continue to reap enormous profits.

It’s the very same scheme as the college scheme we’ve followed on this blog for years.

Campos features an amazing story that could have come out of North Korea (or, even worse, Chicago State University). The worse a university (the worse a country), the more repressive it is, particularly about threats to its propaganda machine. A candidate for dean at arguably America’s worst law school (one of the for-profits) not long ago tried to give a truth-telling presentation to its faculty. As the candidate spoke about the school’s astonishingly, cynically, low admissions standards, the school’s president stood up and told him to stop immediately, to leave the room, and if he didn’t leave, the president would call security.

The life of mind’s a beautiful thing, ain’t it? America can be proud of its ABA approved law schools and their commitment to the robust exchange of ideas…

I mean, to be sure, if fellow travelers, fair weather friends, and enemies of the state happen to appear among us, it is not only our right but our duty to rise up as one and eliminate them from our midst…

Low-ranking not for profit law schools, Campos points out, are pretty much just as brazen in their sordid profit-taking.

A glance at New England Law’s tax forms suggests who may have benefited most from this trajectory: John F. O’Brien, the school’s dean for the past 26 years, whom the school paid more than $873,000 in its 2012 fiscal year, the most recent yet disclosed. This is among the largest salaries of any law-school dean in the country. (By comparison, the dean at the University of Michigan Law School, a perennial top-10 institution, was reported to make less than half as much, $420,000, in 2013.)… Richard A. Matasar, a former dean of New York Law School, was, until his resignation in 2011, quoted regularly in the national press about the need to reform the structure of legal education, even as he collected more than half a million dollars a year from a school with employment statistics nearly as poor as those of [for-profit law schools].

Well, folks, this is what it takes.

I mean, if you’re wondering just how far you have to go to catch the eye of an accreditor, take a look. Decades of arrant criminal mismanagement and outright theft to the point where they’ve basically killed the institution. That’s what it takes.

And, you know, it’s not as though we’re talking revocation of accreditation or anything. It’s only probation because (cough) we’re just starting to get a little concerned here…

I guess they noticed the Pinson trial or something…

Background on South Carolina State University here.

How to parcel out all of a university’s money among yourself and your friends.

Way to go, Yeshiva.

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

Of course, there’s a teeny bit of collateral damage.

Classy of Yeshiva’s president (“One portion of spending that increased more than three times was the president’s compensation: according to documents the school filed with the IRS, where [the previous president] had earned just under $344,000 in his final full year as president (2002), in recent years, [Richard] Joel’s total compensation has reached $1.2 million.”) to make jokes about the situation.

Very Marie Antoinette.

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