All well-provisioned universities need access to an Emergency Title Reserve, a list of names they can immediately slap on a professor with a named chair when the original name on the professor’s chair suddenly becomes… well…

Take Mary Waters, the socially conscious Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard until it turned out Zukerman had stolen around fifty million dollars from the United States government. When it looked likely Zukerman would go to prison (that is in fact his current primary residence), Harvard was able to scrounge around in its ETR and come up with the name of some schmuck willing to sit there until he or she was needed (Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do or die).

Zukerman stole from the poor to give to the rich, as did the fascinating Esformes family, long one of the filthiest nursing home operators in Chicago, but now, in the person of Philip Esformes, “charged … in what has been touted as the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud case.” These named chair donors don’t think small – if you’re going to steal from America’s struggling taxpayer, steal tens – hundreds? – of millions! Then spread it around among the deserving rich so you can get your name emblazoned in some hoitsy-toitsy joint like Harvard, the University of Chicago…

Nothing says whitewashing like a university chair. If Bernie hadn’t suffered a reversal, hands down there’d have been a Madoff chair at Yeshiva University.

So Nir Uriel, once touted as the Esformes Chair in Medicine at Chicago, has been re-named the Block Professor.

UD of course has nothing against universities scrambling to dump crooks and replace them with saints. She has only two comments to make about this.

1. Better make sure the second-in-command is pure as the driven snow. It would be positively Rube Goldberg to have to keep giving their professors new names.

2. Instead of just quietly doing it, UD thinks universities should announce the change. Disclosure matters, and there’s a way of writing this sort of news release that makes it honest and unembarrassing.

For many years the University of Chicago has been pleased to be the recipient of financial generosity from the Esformes family, which endowed a professorship in our medical school. We have, however, now removed the Esformes name from that chair, because members of the family have been accused of Medicare fraud.

In response to campus outrage and embarrassment over the Carmen Puliafito scandal, the University of Southern California has announced the immediate release of the following adjectives:


“Watch this space,” announced President Nikias, “for additional adjectives as appropriate.”

Update, Puliafito Pileup.

Pileup because the scandal looks likely to take down the president of the University of Southern California, plus other high-ranking do-nothings.

“The mood on campus is one of stunned depression,” a USC physician said in an email to me, asking me not to use his name. “Students are upset that this was allowed to happen at their medical school, while the faculty are flabbergasted as well as embarrassed.” The physician said that in his opinion, Puliafito should have been immediately suspended in March 2016 [the meth incident] and an investigation launched.

“By allowing him to continue to practice,” he said, “patients’ health was put at risk.”

“On balance, while the grievor’s record of service has been excellent and while the cost to the grievor of discharge is undoubtedly heavy, I find that there are insufficient mitigating factors to warrant interfering with the penalty of discharge in light of the very serious nature of the grievor’s misconduct.”

That’s Canadian. Here in the USA, we’re more straightforward:

Fine prof, and it’s too bad she’s going to lose her job, but she’s a liar and a thief, so out she goes.


A professor at York University committed extensive benefits fraud, and then tried to lie her way out of it. She submitted

more than 100 false benefit claims totalling more than $8,000 for paramedical services, including physiotherapy and massage, on behalf of herself and her family. She did so by altering electronic copies of genuine invoices for prior services…

Massage! Why didn’t I think of that when filing false benefit claims??

[Her] conduct as her scheme unravelled worked against her. When the benefit administrator made inquiries about her claims, she fabricated and submitted additional fraudulent invoices. After further inquires, she denied she had ever submitted the electronic claims at all.

What a tangled hot stone massage we weave…

Tyranny of the Strong

When you’re an Ivy League professor who writes a sloppy, error-ridden, yet prize-winning book, you don’t expect a bunch of nonentities to crawl out of the woodwork and call you on it. It won a prize, after all.

Thus, Charles Armstrong, author of Tyranny of the Weak (a book about North Korea) was clearly caught off guard when some dude with some weird Hungarian name who teaches at Korea University complained that Armstrong seemed to have made up some of his sources and plagiarized parts of his text and other stuff like that. Armstrong went right on the attack:

I have, as far as I know, never offended him. I’ve known him for years, and appreciate the work he’s done. His book appears in my bibliography. I don’t understand why he would come after me this way.

Must be professional jealousy.

Plus it’s all the nonentity’s fault because he didn’t follow proper academic protocol:

Dr. Szalontai never communicated his concerns or criticisms directly to me prior to these various posts on different blogs. Why direct communication, a common professional courtesy and practice in academia, was not the preferred form of expression remains a mystery.

Another scholar, commenting on this response, noted:

The Columbia professor attributes improper academic conduct to Szalontai. That tells you all you need to know. … [N]o honest scholar who had accidentally lifted dozens of items from a colleague would dream of scolding him for not complaining courteously enough.

But Armstrong is not through transferring blame to others. He also – like so many haughties before him – blames the servants.

The book’s narrative was constructed through multiple transfers of notes, some made by my research assistants and others done by myself. This too, in retrospect, may have resulted in some inaccuracies.

You just can’t get good help these days!

Armstrong tried most of the traditional techniques people try when they get themselves into his position: He painted himself as a victim of mysteriously malign forces; he attacked the messenger; he attacked his research assistants. The only (very popular) move he didn’t try was the bit where you reveal that while writing the book your wife died, your cat died, you suffered recurrent bouts of impotence, and you developed a drug addiction. He didn’t go for that one.

Anyhoo. He just gave back the prize.

Some commentary from one of his colleagues at Columbia.

Voice of the People

From comments accompanying a petition urging Marshall University to retain engineering professor Andrew Nichols, who has just pled guilty to an elaborate, years-long (2009-2011), tax fraud conspiracy.

I think there is a lot not known.

I think he was the scale goat for this mess.

[H]e was dragged into [legal issues] by crooked people.

He shouldn’t lose his job over something that happened years ago !!!

[He has remained] focused, positive, and effective … during this difficult time.

Not like he murdered anyone.

Marshall has no good professors in engineering and he is the best.

“Finally! A Heartfelt and Accessible Account of the Truth of Our Sisters’ Lives.” — The Muslim Brotherhood.

Positive reviews are pouring in for Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies, a new textbook. An excerpt from it about the burqa:

Everywhere, such veiling signifies belonging to a particular community and participating in a moral way of life in which families are paramount in the organization of communities and the home is associated with the sanctity of women.

It’s a beautiful sentiment, and UD loves the thought of young American college students encountering it in our classrooms. There are particular communities in the world so moral as to elevate women to the status of saints. They actually sanctify them. Here in the United States, families are not quite so paramount, and indeed we fail to think of women as exclusively restricted to home and family life. Here we not only think of women as having lives outside of the domestic sphere; we let them drive cars and take jobs and walk around outside without male handlers. Clearly we have much to learn from moral communities in which women are housebound saints allowed outside in desert heat under the condition that every inch of their divinity is covered in thick black cloth.

Know Hope

The Adelsons have consistently maintained their innocence, and they have not yet been charged with anything in connection with the [Dan] Markel murder. But that doesn’t mean they will never be charged; as prosecutor Georgia Cappleman pointedly noted last month, there’s no statute of limitations for murder.



Spencer’s Fair Queen

Spencer’s Fair Queen

More than most, Fair’s full of the living fire,
Kindled within to make the nazi feare:
No feare of noise to make while he perspires,
Not loath to spit upon his training gear.
Through your disdain blindsided guest
Denies his name and utters not a sound.
But you will not allow mad minds to rest
In fascist hopes on race war futures bound.
You stop his thoughts and pinion him within,
You stop his tongue, and teach his gym to freake,
You quick’n the storme his passion did begin,
Strong through your cause as you your vengeance wreake.
Dark is the world, where your rage shined never;
Sad is he borne, that may behold you ever.


“In 1932, some German people were probably saying between bites of wiener-schnitzel, ‘this is some fucked up shit,’ and then didn’t do anything.”

Christine Fair

Wow. I know this blog has a Beware the B-School Boys category, but …

… wow.

Oakland University [business school] professor Joseph Schiele is charged with seven different counts including possession with intent to deliver, felony firearm and operating a drug house.

… [T]ips from Oakland University [in Rochester Michigan] students started to pile up in January 2016. Students were reporting something suspicious was going on at the professor’s home.

An array of drugs was on offer, including ketamine.

“Oh my goodness … ketamine? I was thinking like Adderall or weed, or something. That’s a big jump. Wow,” said student Nichole Hill.

The coverage includes a way scary mug shot. Professors typically do not look this scary.

This story is shocking on many levels, but the most shocking appears in the headline. A B-School professor is Giving Drugs to Students.

Not selling drugs to students?

“When a lot of the fake peer reviews came up, one of the reasons the editors spotted them was that the reviewers responded on time.”

How to spot research fraud.

The Hurt Locker

An envelope containing a bundle of bills amounting to 200 million won ($177,000) was found in a student locker at Sungkyunkwan University campus in Suwon, Gyeonggi.

The owner happens to be a professor of Sungkyunkwan University and husband to attorney, Choi Yu-jeong, who was arrested last year for her involvement in corruption.

The life science student association at the Sungkyunkwan University Natural Sciences campus in Suwon was undergoing spring cleaning on March 7 when they discovered a locked locker. Unable to identify the owner, they forced open the locker.

Inside they found a yellow envelope containing 1,800 50,000 won bills and 1,000 100 dollar bills. The student association immediately notified the school and reported this to the police.

… The attorney, Choi, was charged for having received 5 billion won each in legal fees from Jung Woon-ho, former Nature Republic CEO, and from another individual named Song for bribing the judiciary. Choi was sentenced to six years in prison and 4.5 billion won was confiscated, leaving the possibility of future discoveries.

As always, camera-work played an important part.

Specialist in Price-Setting Sets Own Tax Prices

She stares abstractly into the middle distance in her official University of Minnesota economics department photograph, avoiding your eye. Students report a similar social avoidance, with some claiming she neither holds office hours nor responds to emails. Since 2003, even the Minnesota Department of Revenue has gotten the cold shoulder from her.

… Beth Elaine Allen, 64, is estimated to owe the state more than $50,000 in outstanding taxes, penalties and interest over a five-year period. Charges say Allen failed to pay income taxes since at least 2003, but due to the statute of limitations for tax crimes, charges are limited to years 2010 to 2015.

A strange case, methinks. After her moderately priced condo was foreclosed on a few years ago, she moved to a $94 a day residence inn; she pays $700 a month to store her belongings. At the residence inn, police found “a 2013 Mercedes-Benz, 19 letters from the Department of Revenue and 60 letters from the IRS and Philadelphia Department of Revenue.” Apparently she spends “thousands on travel, restaurants, grocery stores, liquor and wineries.”

The university did it. Suck it up: It’s capitalism. They’re after me because I’m Indian.

Yet another engineering professor seems to have set up a private business in order to steal university/grant funds. So routine is the phenomenon of engineering professors accused of setting up private businesses through which to steal money that UD has proposed stationing armed guards in front of engineering offices to save time.

No point in covering all of these stories – there are too many of them. But this Norfolk State professor is a chatty lad whose broadly dispersed outrage inspires UD to make an exception.

In this case the missus set up a business selling lab supplies at an insane markup to her man, with the university footing the bill. Auditors had the nerve to discover that the address for Missus Lab Supplies is the professor’s home.

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