Hoyle’s Phallus

Professor Hoyle, late of the University of Canberra, seems to have liked to rape his students. His alleged M.O. was to call them into his office and tell them they were in big trouble for downloading porn and/or plagiarizing, but they could make that all go away if they fucked him.

UD was interviewed yesterday…

… by a reporter from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Subject: Mental health problems among university professors. Of course she’ll link you to whatever article arises from it.

Elitist Snob, Loser, So-Called “Professor,” Just…

jealous of Donald Trump’s success.

A Break in the Dan Markel Case

UD thanks Wendy for alerting her to new evidence that Markel’s ex-wife’s brother may have been behind his contract killing.

Investigators believe the killing of Dan Markel stemmed from the “desperate desire” by his ex-wife Wendi Adelson’s family to relocate her, taking the couple’s children to South Florida.

Investigators also believe that Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charles Adelson, was “personally involved” with the girlfriend of Sigfredo Garcia around the time of the murder.

“[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.


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.


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


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.


The woman was his ex-wife.

The seemingly insoluble murder of Florida State University law professor…

… Daniel Markel may be on the way to a solution. A career criminal has been arrested, which leads one to wonder whether this was a murder for hire.

Background here.


The 2014 faculty recipient of the Chatfield College prize that goes to the instructor who most “exemplifies the academic spirit and values” of the college not only looks like this (which is fine; remember the Prof or Hobo? quiz), but just got arrested with molto drugs and guns.


No. Not awkward. Maybe it’s just marijuana for individual use.

But he does seem to be selling large quantities of it…

Are the guns awkward?

No. Not awkward. He’s in a dicey line of work and needs protection and they’re probably all legal. This is America.

Real-life, or Nabokov?

[Professor] Tom Ferguson met [Professor Lloyd] Shapley … through their mutual interest in Kriegsspiel, a variation of chess where a player only sees his or her pieces on the board, but not an opponent’s. Acting as a referee, a third person provides information about the legality of each move as the game progresses.

UD takes the train up to Boston again today…

… to be with her relative who’s recovering from surgery. She will blog all along the way. She will in particular try to say something meaningful about professors who say outrageous things and professors who say outrageous things.


Somewhere north of Philly. I seem to have said what I wanted to say in this post’s comment thread.

Another Strong Vice-Presidential Candidate for Donald Trump.

And drawn from UD’s own university.

Wen oh Wen do you take a professor’s university page down?

Does Washington State University exist? Last week, one of its engineering professors (natch) was arrested on way-serious federal fraud charges, and not only does Haifang Wen still offer his steely gaze on behalf of that university, but WSU spokespeople, when asked about our nation’s latest engineering department fraud (it’s as common as oxycontin abuse), say Huh? Dunno.

As longtime readers know, UD has proposed stationing armed guards at the doors of all university engineering professors (this would be easy at Texas universities, whose students could be offered work/study arrangements) in order to try to head their fake companies and pretend employees off at the pass… I mean, far be it from UD to malign an entire field, but in the many years she’s been blogging about universities she’s been amazed at the constancy with which engineering professors take federal research money and deposit it directly into their personal checking accounts.

UD has also proposed, since these guys make so much shit up, that they be transferred to Creative Writing, where they can be useful teaching students how to write fake investor letters. Wen in particular had a mind-blowingly elaborate series of fictions going.

UD thanks Seelye.

The University of Louisville’s Whormitory: A Teachable Moment

Bravo, Theresa Hayden. She teaches Human Trafficking at the U of Smell, and since a form of HT is happening right under her nose (one of many smells emanating from the U of Smell), she has decided to add to her syllabus the book chronicling the provision of women for campus basketball players and recruits and the recruits’ fathers in the players’ now-notorious dorm.

The book’s co-author is the madam who, in association with an assistant basketball coach no longer (ahem) at UL, coordinated the buying and selling.

Because it’s a required class text, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen does not appear as one slender singular upright copy among many other texts in the store; multiple copies loll sideways in the course stacks, making a striking statement…

From lemons Hayden has made intellectual lemonade; within a culture of smutty conspiratorial silence (similar to the silence that hushed up Peyton Manning‘s university past and the more recent rapes at Baylor University) she has taken a principled stand that will help her students absorb with dispassion the enormity of what the president of their university has allowed the institution to become. She has done what professors do.

“A California judge who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs compared Trump University to infamous con man Bernie Madoff, writing ‘victims of con artists often sing the praises of their victimizers until the moment they realize they have been fleeced.’”

Could Republican voters be the next awakened fleecees?


In other Trump/university news: A foreign university has already revoked a Trump honorary degree. Now an American university – Lehigh – has begun talking about the whole honoring Trump thing.

The professor initiating discussion about the Trump degree at Lehigh University specializes in draining away gunk in order to stabilize environments.

“Speeding, without destination, after dark…”

Ravi Shankar, until recently a creative writing professor at Central Connecticut State University, writes about his favorite activity: driving at very high speed until he hits something and/or gets arrested.

I mean, the poem whose first line appears as this post’s title doesn’t really go on to describe

driving with a suspended license, and …evading responsibility for an accident that he fled from… two DUIs, operating with a suspended license, reckless driving over 85 mph…

(And that’s only his driving offenses! He’s also into shoplifting and credit card fraud and other stuff.)

No, no, the poem goes on, dutifully, pretentiously, emptily, to gush about a double rainbow. Shankar’s a bad poet (you can read some of his work here), which one would think would add up to two strikes against the guy in terms of being given permanent employment by a university: He writes bad poetry, and he’s always in courtrooms or jails. And he will always be in courtrooms and jails because there are quite a few cases pending against him. Plus I guess he’s still driving! Whatever.

Maybe he’s a helluva teacher! Hm, let’s see.

No midterm. Paper worth 50% at the end. I had him for a three hour class on Mondays and we always got out early. Did not give too much homework and we had to watch a movie one class. When it came time for the final I felt like I barely knew any of the material. However, if you want an easy 3 credits do good on the paper and go to class.

[He] missed 5 out of 15 classes (yet if you miss 3 you fail) & had us buy 100 dollars worth of books which were barely used (money down the drain). He liked my poems but was pretentious n rude to students whose work he didn’t like. If you go to him for help, he will ignore you.

Cut him some slack. Do you have any idea how many court appearances we’re talking about?

Great class, when he shows up. Had to meet online a few times, poetry is not the kind of class where online classes are really helpful.

Online, films, missed classes, routine early dismissal, no midterm – No wonder Bernie Sanders is calling for free public university education. This should definitely be free.

Maybe Bern can also look into professors assigning a hundred dollars worth of useless books.

And maybe Bern can figure out how this guy – who was promoted while in pre-trial confinement – got promoted.

UD dearly hopes someone recorded the discussion among his colleagues.

He’s a madman, a wildman, a Hunter S. Thompson right here in New Britain!

I love his scofflaw ways!

An artist, a bad boy, our own Robert Lowell…

Robert Lowell?

Robert Lowell went to jail for evading the draft.

He’s thrillingly sketchy, a swaggering anti-bourgeois with a lot to teach us and our students about going against the grain.

A lot of people would just say ‘career criminal’ and drop the guy, but what if they’d said that about Jean Genet?

Despite the university’s effort to keep him, the criminal renown of Shankar reached the stick-in-the-mud state legislature, which has today engineered his exit from the school.

“I like things that explode.”

Not just supernovae, but the explosion of his own and others’ careers, seems to attract Christian Ott, a Caltech astronomer. Ott has a fiery – and fire-y – personality.

Casey Handmer was a grad student in Ott’s group until June 2013, when he was fired partly because Ott didn’t want him to keep his bicycle locked up inside. “Either you accept my rules or you go look for another advisor,” Ott wrote him by email. “Your call!”

“As his student, did I have an obligation to manage his moods and pussyfoot my way around the extent to which a grown man is unable to control himself?” Handmer told BuzzFeed News. “I hadn’t come to Caltech to join some weird cult where you have to do whatever the leader says.”

Ott has now been suspended from Caltech, having been found guilty of sexual harassment. The details of not one but two cases against Ott have been shared in all their grotesqueness with BuzzFeed – indeed, the details were provided by the two harassed women, who are annoyed that Ott’s suspension will probably be temporary (he’s tenured). Here he is with one of the women:

Ott began messaging her late at night online, where they talked about their shared insecurities about work. Sometimes their chats were casual; he’d recommend that she read Charles Bukowski or listen to Leonard Cohen.

The recommendations transmit his subversive yet sensitive ways, which she should emulate… But eventually he fired her too, because he loved her too much. Not that the student understood his motivation; she just felt rejected by her mentor.

[She] didn’t find out about Ott’s feelings for her until June 4, when Caltech’s Title IX coordinator called her into her office and presented her with a stack of 86 poems Ott had posted about her on his Tumblr page.


UPDATE: Since the Ott story has already inspired one of my readers to poetry (see comments), I thought I’d try my hand.

The Is/Ott Problem: Some Questions

Is Ott
The sort of lot
By whom we should we taught?

If not
Why ought
He have been so sought?

Once caught
Wouldn’t one have thought
He’d be sent to trot?

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