Take the money and run

[P]rosecutors showed graduate students in [Yujie] Ding’s lab at Lehigh University did all of the work to develop an atmospheric sensor for NASA, while Ding and Zotova pocketed most of the $700,000 through a shell company to which the contract had been awarded.

Of the myriad thieving engineering professor stories UD has covered over the years, this one has it all: romance (Ding’s co-fraudster was his loving wife), slavery (what are graduate students for?), endless, fun, court machinations by the accused (“You have one of the best attorneys in the city,” [the judge] told Ding. “It appears you are attempting to delay this matter.”), and just, you know, even by the standards of thieving engineering professors, one of the most comprehensively sucky human beings that the human comedy, la condition humaine, the human animal, has to offer.

No one at Lehigh’s bothered to take his faculty page down. Could be they’re waiting until after sentencing. Ding “faces a statutory maximum of 120 years in prison,” and maybe Lehigh wants to add this impressively high number to his profile, but is waiting for it to be official.

“It’s an easy equation: Get the stadium, get better players, build a better team, win games, get into a better league and make more money. Spend that money on making a better university.”

America’s dumbest state builds a stadium.

Eighty Years Old: But Not Too Old To Have Rape Jokes Told About You.


Okay, now you’ve …

really gone too far.


To mark this day in North Carolina’s history, the town of Morehead has been renamed Lesshead.

“Although Freud said happiness is composed of love and work, reality often forces us to choose love or work.”

And then there’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Asked by a judge why [his secret Parisian] flat was rented under an opaque setup, Strauss-Kahn said: “I was a politician, I was married. I needed a discreet place to meet politicians, and to meet young women I wanted to meet.”

Yeshiva University’s wildly overpaid president, who has presided over that institution’s fall to Moody’s junk status….

… announces that he “will not engage with the media further in …regard” to the school’s famously terrible financial situation. Everybody’s talking about it.

Further is strange. He has never engaged with the media. And he never will. Yet another winning strategy from an institution full of winning strategies.

He will, however, whisper, just in the ear of Yeshiva insiders, just for their sake, that Yeshiva is great, fine, rolling in dough, very very fiscally prudent. Couldn’t be better.


CBS: “A university spokesman declined CBS 2’s interview requests, but issued a statement claiming inaccuracies in Weiss’ report. It wasn’t specific.”

There goes President Richard Joel earning his salary again.


Though he clearly wasn’t hired for his math skills.

Happy Valley’s New Savior and the Comfort Women

Shucks, says the pure as the driven snow guy Penn State has brought in to coach football and remove the taint of its past, I can’t take credit for our terrific recruitment so far.

“It has very little to do with me… It’s the staff, it’s the players, it’s the tradition, it’s the history, it’s the fans showing out 72,000 at the spring game. … It’s the whole package. That’s why we’re being successful. We’re just, I think, doing a pretty good job of painting that picture of the vision of what Penn State can be and what it will be… I had a lot of confidence that we would be able to do a good job of finding those guys, attracting them to Penn State and getting them on board to join our family.

The family, the family, always the family. And what a family. Startlingly dysfunctional. But you bring in a guy like James Franklin, and you’re bringing back solid values. Like for instance at his last job, at Vanderbilt, after four football players were accused of raping a student, he apparently called the student right away:

[Attorneys claim] the victim was contacted by Franklin [and Dwight Galt, also now coaching at Penn State] during a medical examination four days after the rape to explain “that they cared about her because she assisted them with recruiting.”

[Attorneys] went on to say that at some point, “Coach Franklin called her in for a private meeting and told her he wanted her to get fifteen pretty girls together and form a team to assist with the recruiting even though he knew it was against the rules. He added that all the other colleges did it.”

So Franklin means it when he says he can’t take credit for his recruiting success – at least his success at Vanderbilt. If it weren’t for the Comfort Women in the Vanderbilt family (and who knows what he’s got cooking in the Penn State family?), the magic wouldn’t have happened.

[I]f Franklin had a role in organizing a hostess program, that is a new development in the entire story.

What is probably clear is Penn State has either done an extremely thorough vetting process and determined there is absolutely nothing to be concerned with in the long-term, or the school totally swung and missed on the biggest black cloud that could potentially linger over the new head coach. Given the position Penn State has been in since 2011, the margin for error is barely existent.

Penn State. Never a dull day.


Update: A reminder that Penn State knew what it had in Franklin.

‘”If you look at America’s great universities, you’ll see that they all have the three A’s in common: great academics, great arts and great athletics,” said UNT president Gretchen M. Bataille in a release.’

She left out audit.

“If you rank all administrators listed in the report, the top 10 are all coaches or athletic administrators, and 15 of the top 25 are.”

There’ll always be an Arkansas.

Do you like being infantilized? Do you like being condescended to?

Then this letter, from Richard Joel, president of junk status Yeshiva University, is for you. Appreciate its thoroughness, candor, and clarity about that school’s calamitous situation. Appreciate its reality-based approach to the disaster Joel and his trustees – past and present – have brought upon the school.

“Moody’s Downgrades Yeshiva University Five Notches to B1”

This just in.

As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, Yeshiva University’s financial collapse was not the work of a day. (Go here for background.) It took a special mix of trustees Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin, decades of indifference to the sexual abuse of students, and, more recently, a useless, self-righteous, and highly compensated president, to kill the school. Yeshiva’s board of trustees remains dominated by outstanding moral specimens like Zygmunt Wilf (“the judge decided that the Wilfs showed ‘bad faith and evil motive’ in a case she said was unlike any she had ever seen in New Jersey.“). Wilf and his fellow trustees have been so riddled with conflict of interest that the board seems to have been little more than “an investment club.”

How much lower can Yeshiva go?

Yeshiva, UD feels confident, is capable of falling much farther. Indeed, she anticipates that the school will have to close.

“[T]he larger issue is clear to anyone who pays taxes in Massachusetts and follows sports in New England: UMass upgrading to the top level of college football was a terrible idea.”

Well, at least Massachusetts taxpayers are also paying for a new law school the state doesn’t need. That’s some consolation.

A Simple Parable of Greed.

It started with Bernard Madoff (it’s his anniversary!) and Ezra Merkin, and the world of vicious greed they brought to Yeshiva University. By the time these two venerated trustees of the school were brought down, Yeshiva had not only lost over a hundred million dollars to them; it had lost its reputation. Yeshiva is after all a religious school, and is held to high moral standards. Now it was in the gutter.

Yeshiva tumbled yet further with revelations that sexual abuse of students at a Yeshiva school had taken place for decades and been ignored, denied. A class action against the university will cost it hundreds of millions of dollars by the time Yeshiva decides to settle.

Throughout these and other scandalous instances of mismanagement and moral turpitude, the school has been led by a man who is one of the highest compensated university presidents in America. So there you have greed again — a greed shared with other top administrators at a school that presents itself as an institutional embodiment of spiritual piety. Even as Moody’s has downgraded this shabbier and shabbier operation, to the point where Yeshiva’s credit rating is now in the same gutter as its reputation, this president and his top managers continued to reward themselves.

Professors? Those who are due to retire cannot retire; their retirement funds are suddenly nowhere to be found, and they will have to keep working for a long, long time.

It’s within the realm of possibility that even here they will run into difficulty. (Repulsive details of the human cost of robbing your school blind here.) Yeshiva may have to close its doors.

In her mail this morning, UD got the Knight Commission’s Database on …

academic vs. athletics spending at American universities.

A newspaper in Alabama has wasted no time in noting that, for instance, “[University of Alabama Birmingham] spent less per student on academics in 2011 than four years earlier, [while its] athletic spending rate per athlete increased 30 percent.”

Hyuk. That’s how y’all stay Alabam’.

And, uh, at least it’s money well spent!


Even when not factoring in athletic scholarship costs, a pricey category for schools that can rapidly increase, the athletic spending rate was still higher than academic spending. A big factor was the growth in coaching salaries, which increased on average by 54 percent among the five major conferences, compared to 24 percent for all FBS schools.

The database defines academic spending per student as direct and indirect costs associated to educating students. Examples include expenses for instruction, department research, student services, and a portion of academic, institutional and operations support. It does not include spending related to other university activities.

“On the UVa McIntire School website, Morris is listed as an expert in information technology, human-computer interactions and decision-making using information technology.”

An associate dean at the University of Virginia – apparently a computer expert – “used his UVa email address in making a 2010 online payment to the peer-to-peer [child pornography] network and last year logged into his account from a school IP address, according to the affidavit.”

No bail was granted. He’ll go on trial soon.

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