“Really what needs to happen is that colleges and fraternities can’t look … the other way and then act all shocked when someone dies,” he said. “For every death there are multiple hospitalizations before that and sexual assaults and horrible behavior. They need to change the environment — it’s a public health issue.”

The carnage is not only unsurprising, as John Hechinger notes; it’s more than acceptable, and a great recruiting tool. Along with a rising death toll, there’s been a “50 percent increase in [Greek] membership in the last decade.” The synergy between colleges and universities advertising campus enclaves where sadists can gather unmolested, and fraternities signalling to the same applicant pool the deeply satisfying pleasures of Men in Groups, has over the years grown and thrived and – most recently – been captured on tape, so the whole nation can now enjoy pausing and repeating over the slaughter of eighteen year olds.

UD sees no reason why we should pretend that this arrangement doesn’t make almost everyone happy. Enough with the faux outrage. Watching grieving parents rage is part of the fun.

Universities advertise blood on the gridiron and blood in the frat house because that’s how you attract a valued demographic. Blood lust makes generous alumni.

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[F]or the University of Michigan, Greek life is a liability.

Renée Graham wrote for The Boston Globe last week that “(f)rom hazing deaths to racist parties, fraternities and sororities are incubators of behavior ranging from objectionable to criminal.” And though I promise I’m not trying to be anti-fun, it’s a compelling argument. When was the last time a fraternity made national news for something even marginally wholesome, not for killing a pledge or hosting a blatantly racist party?

Many students go into Greek life in the fall looking for parties, camaraderie and memories to last a lifetime. A nontrivial number of them, though, appear to find the kind of camaraderie that would leave them to lie on a couch for nine hours, dying from alcohol-induced asphyxiation. I realize universities value the sort of alumni loyalty that’s built at fraternities and sororities, but it’s time to [ban them at Michigan].

This is from a strong and well-written student editorial in the UM newspaper.

But this guy forgets the history of his institution. UM is overwhelmingly football and frats now, and it’s too late to change that.

Hiroshima, Mon Kapoor

Unlike benighted Yeshiva University which, when stories of the arrest of their esteemed trustee/treasurer Bernie Madoff broke, went into full silence, denial, web-erasure, Bernie who?, we’re a victim mode, the University at Buffalo, on receiving today’s atomic bomb about mega-donor and (wait for it) pharmacy school namesake John Kapoor, quickly and admirably issued a statement.

That’s the way you’re supposed to go when something grand and consequent and deeply embarrassing happens to your university: spit it out. Acknowledge it. And then when – inevitably – you have to blast the Kapoor name off of the building his massive fatal peddling of fentanyl has turned into a sick joke, you have as it were laid the groundwork for the blasting.

There’s a long description of the Kapoor caper here. To save time, here’s UD‘s paraphrase of it, a sentiment out of Norman Mailer:

THE SHITS ARE KILLING US.

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Thanks, dmf.

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Inaugurating the building soon to be renamed the Kermit West Virginia Memorial Hall.

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[Kapoor’s] Insys even made a video featuring a sales rep dressed as a giant fentanyl spray bottle, rapping and dancing to a song that pushed the idea of getting doctors to prescribe higher doses…

The Triumph of the American University.

We did it! We made the NBA look pure!

“There’s a reason I coach in the NBA. I never wanted to be a college coach,” [Golden State Warriors Coach Steve] Kerr said. “I don’t immerse myself in that stuff. The NBA is very pure.”

Thank you, University of Louisville, and all your great affiliated institutions.

“[A]n incomprehensibly long string of scandals.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education hoovers up all the University of Louisville scandals – financial, sexual, sportal – of the last few years (it’s a lengthy article) and pronounces the whole bloody thing incomprehensible.

Not only is the current implosion of UL not incomprehensible, UD will now draw up a menu of options your school – should it want to imitate UL – can choose from in order to get there. Or get close to there. Your mileage may vary.

1. Be a public university.

2. In a southern state.

3. In a corrupt state.

4. When I say corrupt, I mean corrupt all the way down, from the governor to pretty much everyone else who lives in the state. I mean madly flagrantly insanely corrupt.

5. Appoint tyrannical greedy presidents and fail to find – over many years – any way to get rid of them. Make sure the trustees are chaired by the president’s closest friend.

6. Make sure these presidents – and their many greedy administrator cronies – are too busy buying real estate with the endowment or ripping off the program they’re supposed to be running or whatever to give a shit about your sports program.

7. Hire, at staggering salaries and with punishing buyout conditions, corrupt coaches and athletic directors.

8. Respond to all dissent within the institution, and all looming audits, and other stuff like that, with rage, paranoia, and threats.

9. When interviewed by the local press, present yourself (we’re talking the president here) as a local hick made good, a hayseed pulled up by your own bootstraps and by the glorious power of our lord and savior.

10. Once fired, everyone – president, administrators, athletics staff, program directors – files lawsuits. This, coupled with the now massively overextended sports program, bankrupts the university forever.

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UD thanks Wendy for the image.

“[A] contract worth almost $5 million per year… Rest assured, we are still closer to the beginning of this sordid story than the end. Details will come out. People who knew the double life [Super-Christian Ole Miss football coach Hugh] Freeze was leading will come forward.”

Athletics and the med school: At many universities, these are the big ticket items, featuring massive salaries and high-profile staff, plus smarmy rhetoric about teamwork and making the world a better place through selfless scientific discovery and character-driven winning traditions.

So what if these same two locations may be shot through with conflict of interest, other forms of personal and financial corruption, and even criminality?

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

And… I dunno… On the eve of the anniversary of Woodstock — (Has UD already told you she’ll be in Woodstock for her birthday later this month, at the Bear Cafe, and as her carful of family and friends approaches that hippie town she will slide this into the CD player and make everyone sing along?) — on this sacred anniversary, UD will simply echo Janis and say Get it while you can... Honey, get it while you can.

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Your basic Five Million Dollar Man don’t have no truck with hippies. When Hugh Freeze coached women’s high school basketball, he was so incensed at a player wearing a Grateful Dead shirt that he had to stay in the room while she took it off. That’s how dedicated he was to Just Say No.

One woman [says that] Freeze forced her to change shirts in his office, claiming her Grateful Dead shirt violated the school dress code because it “represented drugs.” At the time, [she] was in eighth grade; according to her, Freeze did not leave the room while she changed.

“Coach Freeze pulled me in his office and told me that my shirt represented drugs. … I said, ‘I’ll go change in the bathroom,’ and when I said that he said, ‘No, you’re going to change in here so I get the (Grateful Dead) shirt and you can’t have it back.’

He didn’t do anything sexual. But I stood in the corner and faced the wall when I did it and I changed out of my shirt. No privacy.”

Five mill and free nubile body viewing… And all the while you’re being billed as a saint and a miracle man. Get it while you can! Over in the med school, Carmen Puliafito’s also getting his… As long as he can… And both Ole Miss and Southern Cal are dumbfounded at what the heads of their football program and med school are up to…

‘Overall enrollment is down 25 percent, and undergraduate enrollment is down 32 percent in one year, the largest decline of any public university in the state. The 86 freshmen includes both full-time and part-time students — smaller than a kindergarten cohort at many Chicago Public Schools.’

For twenty years, the state of Illinois has been on the verge of doing something drastic about Chicago State University. Through seven million CSU presidents, fourteen million embezzlement scandals, twenty million expensive whistle blower lawsuits, and thirty-seven trillion misappropriations of taxpayer-provided funds, CSU has kept on keeping on. And now comes its most amazing accomplishment: The reduction of a university to a Samuel Beckett play.

Go to its campus and see the windy nothingness of Waiting for Godot. No one is there. Occasional buildings rot among the weeds.

Wait a few moments and onto the stage wander Vladimir and Estragon, two trustees who for the last decade have been sniping at each other about what’s best for the school. Listen in on their endless irritable exchange, an exercise in hilarious self-delusion about the Endgame their project has become.

Chicago State University poses the question: Can a university exist without students?

And the answer is: Actually, yes.

As long as the people of Illinois are willing to continue subsidizing a university run solely for the faculty and administration – ultimately of course run solely for the administration, because someone has to do the job of eliminating all of the faculty positions – there’s no reason why CSU can’t go on forever. Or at least for a very long time. The trick will be to eliminate faculty positions… very… slowly… In order to justify the continued existence of the administration. When you run out of faculty, simply hire more faculty – you need an administration to do that – and then gradually eliminate that faculty.

Rinse. Repeat.

It’s but a trifle here…

… yet this chronicle of university life would be incomplete without recording the New York attorney general’s comment on our sketchy president-elect.

In 2013, my office sued Donald Trump for swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of ​millions of dollars through a scheme known as Trump University. Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeal​s​ and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university. Today, that all changes. Today’s $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.

UD says: This is true leadership. Having been shown the way by the highest office holder in the land, the rest of this country’s attorneys general can now go after their states’ fraudulent universities.

This moving story is, for UD, about two things:

1. The importance of going to college.

[Derek Black] decided he wanted to study medieval European history, so he applied to New College of Florida, a top-ranked liberal arts school with a strong history program.

2. The importance of simple, unafraid compassion.

Matthew decided his best chance to affect Derek’s thinking was not to ignore him or confront him, but simply to include him.

One sentence that sums up the spirit of inquiry at the University of Alabama.

What does Tim Williams’ arrest on a misdemeanor gun charge in Tuscaloosa early Thursday morning mean for Alabama at the outside linebacker position?

University Diaries can’t tell you how much it means to her…

… that a university is the very cornerstone of this presidential election.

Historians of the American University…

… can thank Judge Gonzalo Curiel for opening the annals of Trump University, a landmark postmodern school. Until the inauguration of the University of California Goldman Sachs, Trump U. will continue to stand as our nation’s most cutting-edge institution.

“No one earns $100 million. You steal $100 million.”

With Fran Lebowitz’s words in mind (UD, you recall, interviewed Lebowitz not long ago), let us once again, very gingerly, sidle up to the Sketchy Benefactor problem — the problem with your university taking hundreds of millions of dollars from people who… eh… meh… bleh…

Take Michael Milken. Start with him because he’s local – I mean, local to ol’ UD, because he bought her university a very beautiful building which houses a very fine school of public health, which he also bought for us.

If there is a poster boy for the redemptive powers of philanthropy, it’s Michael Milken. In 1993 the former junk bond king of Drexel Burnham Lambert emerged from a minimum security federal prison after serving 22 months of a 10-year sentence for securities fraud. He seemed a new man — partly because he had abandoned his toupee — and this revised Milken took advantage of his freedom by dedicating himself to giving back. (His finances quickly recovered after he paid the $600 million in fines and restitution; his current net worth is estimated at more than $2 billion.) In the decades since, he has donated consistently and significantly: more than $60 million to teachers and $50 million to George Washington University’s school of public health. His Prostate Cancer Foundation has raised $210 million. There is plenty of evidence that these good works are sincere. Is it also useful? Well, when news of a new SEC investigation into whether Milken’s involvement with Guggenheim Partners had violated his lifetime ban from the securities industry, Milken’s official denial in Fortune magazine read like a recap of his past 20 years of giving.

So no problem with Milken’s name being all over the GW landscape because he paid his debt to society and though in a perfect world we might prefer not to be associated with someone who had to do that in the first place, okay. But what if, while no longer flagrantly stealing, he’s still a sketchy person who when cornered on alleged continued sketchiness points directly at my university and what he gave it in order to exonerate himself?

Yes, GW’s had to deal with sketchy performers and sketchy honorary degree recipients lately; but this is small-time one-off stuff compared to (switching universities here) putting Steven Cohen or Bernard Madoff on your board of trustees or plastering sketchy names all over your most prominent buildings.

I mean… Seton Hall!

Or, staying with Catholic schools here, there’s the lawsuit against Georgetown University for failing to put a donor’s name on a building he bought just because the donor was convicted of insider trading. A long lawsuit between the guy and the university ensued, and if you go to the campus today you can take in the Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center — although, curiously, when you click on the Google link to an article in a university publication titled GEORGETOWN LAW CELEBRATES THE SCOTT K. GINSBURG SPORT & FITNESS CENTER, the connection times out. UD‘s gonna guess they caved, they settled with the guy, they put his name on the building and grimaced through its christening, and then they removed from sight all online references to having celebrated any of this…

Anyway, it’s an old story. Lure of lucre. Lure of respectability. UD only brings it up because of the very strange ongoing latest Caspersen story. The sketchy Caspersen family has a long and important donor relationship with Harvard, and as the alleged actions of the father and now the son tarnish the name more and more, there’s the question of how much tarnishing-by-association Harvard will tolerate. It’s not merely that the Caspersen name is prominent on campus; it’s that in virtually every news article about Andrew Caspersen’s court dates and bail amounts Harvard prominently appears.

You might say Harvard’s too rich and prestigious to care. You might be right. But remember that Harvard is under constant pressure from the government and the media and even from within to account in some way for its immense accumulated wealth. Fighting an ongoing battle against releasing a nickel of its money (this cartoon is out of date; the endowment’s now worth way more than 35 billion) is not made easier by one story after another about sketchy rich people who have helped put Harvard way over the top. In the case of Caspersen’s father, for instance, if it turns out that he did in fact evade taxes on a large scale (this has not been proved; he was under investigation by the IRS at the time of his death), Americans might actually stop and ask themselves why they are both giving huge tax breaks to Harvard University and tolerating donors who are tax evaders. Is zat how Harvard got so rich that the fact of its richness has now become a national controversy? Through ripping us off via tax breaks and then ripping us off again via tax evasions?

“Nona Buckley-Irvine said that she had a lovely time at the dinner and ‘barely noticed’ the separation.”

Well, yes, there was a seven-foot high screen keeping me and my sisters away from the men… But if it weren’t there, our London School of Economics brothers would rape and ravish us and that wouldn’t be lovely, would it? I mean, for us. For the sisters hidden behind the curtain. That wouldn’t be lovely.

I thought it was a very tasteful way of keeping them from raping us. I so look forward to next year’s dinner. Maybe place the curtain a tad higher and put more layers of clothing on us.

“Oberlin hired an unrepentant bigot to teach undergraduates to write about justice and guide them in their moral development.”

Quite true, and this Tablet writer captures the real scandal at Oberlin, which is similar to the real scandal at Florida Atlantic University, and at the University of Colorado: How do hiring committees at American universities end up appointing vicious ideologues? What sort of hiring committee says We want to expose our students to sadists and knaves, and this is a sadist and a knave? How can we account for the regular emergence among the American professoriate of liars and moral idiots?

UD thinks the outcome only seldom has to do with what you might call fanatic affinity. It seems unlikely to her that there are other people on hiring committees who think the Sandy Hook massacre was a government-created charade intended to destroy our gun rights, or that the people killed on 9/11 deserved it, or that the 9/11 plotters were Jews. It seems far more likely to UD that colleges and universities end up with cretinous conspiracy theorists because their hiring committees, for some jobs, are lazy. They don’t read applicants’ writing (including blogs) with any care, or, if they do read, they don’t understand what they are reading.

At some universities, no one much cares who teaches the soft stuff – ethnic studies, communications, composition. Internal standards in these sorts of fields may be as low as they are in the courses designed for football and basketball players. Indeed, some of these are the fields into which the jocks are herded – especially communications. No one should be surprised when actually examining what some of these people write uncovers the political grotesque.

But what are you going to do? FAU and Colorado are big jock schools; it’s as important to them as it is to Auburn and the University of North Carolina to keep the course scam going one way or another. They’re not exactly going to start scrutinizing content and instructor.

As for Oberlin — damned if I know.

Universities on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Like the guys in The Hangover, Chicago State University and the University of Louisville wake up every morning amid mysterious and elaborate wreckage.

In the case of Chicago State it doesn’t help that the state of Illinois is currently without a budget; but over the last decade or so Chicago State has fucked itself up royally with no help from things like budget standoffs. One of the nation’s great drop-out factories, Chicago State goes way past corrupt to inexplicably self-destructive. It can always be found spending heavily on whistle blower cases it always loses. In order to spend even more, it’s pressing its latest losing case up to the state Supreme Court. All of this while handing out potential layoff notices to everyone on campus.

At Louisville, some members of the board of trustees are finally organizing to give that school’s grotesque president the heave-ho. The president’s fellow good old boys on the board are launching some hilarious attacks on these critics.

[Bob] Hughes alleged that the dissident trustees are elitists who didn’t go to U of L and wouldn’t send their children there, and that they are trying to replace Ramsey with someone who is related to one of the trustees.

The intellectual elite! At a university! And they won’t send their kids to one of America’s most depraved universities!

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UD thanks Wendy.

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