The latest Garrett Park Bugle, with UD’s thoughts on…

… government (“Boring is Good”).

Dave, a reader, sends UD a promotional video from the University of Moncton…

… – ou peut-être il serait mieux de dire Université de Moncton – which is generating controversy. Apparently some people on campus think it insults the dignity of the school by featuring students (actors, maybe) kissing passionately… uh, French kissing – in the library stacks…

It’s altogether a tonguey ad – lots of tongues hanging out of the mouths of students as they gambol about or play hockey or paihrfohrmuh zair wilduh enduh crayzee Franche roque moozeekuh…

But the ad – plus this morning’s metro ride to Foggy Bottom – has UD thinking about something else entirely. She notices that in this video everyone is beautiful. Some students are insanely beautiful, and some are merely somewhat beautiful, but everyone is beautiful. On the crowded metro this morning, she took a seat and her blazingly blond daughter stood near her; and near her daughter stood a staggeringly beautiful young man, the sort of person you kind of have to look at even though it’s a little impolite. The dude was chiseled: Closely cropped black hair, long elegant face with dramatic green eyes, aquiline nose, full lips, and cleft chin… UD thought Okay, the metro is the domain of the young and restless, the super-ambitious full-bodied hot-blooded denizens of DC … But these two are exceptionally beautiful…

But then La Kid and the guy left the train (UD had already, gazing at them, melded their DNA to produce a race of amazing specimens), off to their separate jobs, and now onto the train scrambled (see post immediately below) six random dudes, a group of friends, also in their twenties… And all of them were beautiful!

So is it just me? Am I seeing the world through rose-colored glasses? Or would turning on a camera anywhere at a place like the Moncton campus produce a steady array of beauties? Have I gotten to the point in life where the mere fact of being young makes you beautiful?

“I am a current employee with Treetops [Hotel]. I personally saw distruction and aftermath with my own eyes! It’s very sad that to see my place of employment in scrambles.”

This is from the comment thread of an article about some pillaging University of Michigan fraternities…

Scathing Online Schoolmarm likes very much the word “scrambles” here. It’s the kind of mistake (distruction and other mess-ups are less interesting mistakes) that makes you think about language, about why people reach for certain words when trying to express certain things.

The writer probably meant shambles – to see my place of employment in a shambles – but also somewhere in his or her head was perhaps not merely scramble (which can have meanings having to do with making quick and sometimes desperate moves, which I suppose has some mental connection to what the marauding lads did), but also scrabble (which similarly can mean panicky random movement). This person’s place of employment will have to scramble, and it will have to scrabble through a lot of trash, to fix the mess the UM group made.

Was trample in there too? Was the desire that these visitors from one of America’s most icky football schools scram in there?

“People who get upset over someone getting food stamps from the government should be very upset about a football coach getting a taxpayer subsidy equal to 20,000 months of food stamps.”

Our beautiful tax-exempt universities. We so want to keep them that way. Because they use the money we give them to give seven million dollars a year to football coaches! That is beautiful. That is so… university-y

…[I]t is certainly reasonable to ask about the size of the salaries at nonprofits that are being subsidized with our tax dollars.

What? Why? Next you’ll ask why Harvard University is sitting on a 32.7 billion dollar endowment. Point One: None of your business. Point Two: It’s a goddamn nonprofit, that’s why! Don’t you know a nonprofit when you see one?

We get very competent people to serve as Cabinet secretaries for $200,000 a year. Suppose there were a cap on the pay at any organization with nonprofit status at $400,000 a year. After all, if an organization can’t find someone to work for it at twice the pay of a Cabinet secretary, then maybe it isn’t the sort of organization that taxpayers should be subsidizing.

The nonprofits will scream bloody murder if any measure like this is even considered. Undoubtedly, many of the nonprofits committed to reducing inequality and poverty will be yelling loudest.

Point Three: You sound like a socialist.

More dispatches from the university’s front porch.

[A]s an out-of-state transfer student [at Louisiana State University], I was not quite ready for the insanity that ensued during football season. I was shocked at the number of students I saw around me that were consistently vomiting, and I had never seen so many students be carried out on stretchers before.

Yet these are precisely the students who eventually turn into the university’s most generous alumni.

One way for universities to save money while retaining loyal alumni would be to forgo the costly football thing altogether and simply, at the Welcome New Students party, spike the punch with Ipecac.

Then, after students have puked their guts out, beat them up.

He’s B-a-a-a-a-ck!

Or he will be soon. UD has been waiting with bated breath for Arthur Porter - former head of the McGill University hospitals – to be extradited back to Canada (he’s been in a Panamanian prison for a year or so) to face corruption charges. His wife has already pled guilty to money laundering; he faces charges of having drummed up the money (22.5 million!!) via bribes from the company he chose to build a new hospital for the university.

Porter’s a real character; he has much to teach us about the varieties of responses available to people accused of massive corruption.

He has, for instance, claimed to be on the very brink of death from cancer for about three years. And he’s a doctor! He should know!

UD knows there’s more where that came from.

Background on Porter? Type arthur porter in my search engine.

Once you’ve had all the trouble Chapel Hill has had, you can’t be too careful.

So UNC has hired Gene Chizik as defensive coordinator for its football team.

… Selena Roberts, a former writer for The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, reported that Auburn [University] committed several NCAA violations under Chizik’s watch.

Several former Tigers players told Roberts, among other things, that during Chizik’s tenure Auburn changed grades to keep players eligible, and that the school offered thousands of dollars in effort to keep potential NFL draft picks from leaving school.

UNC: Clean as a whistle going forward!

Sloppy Editing in Foreign Policy

Houellebecq’s treatment of Islam is now far more nuanced, even admiring,” writes Robert Zaretsky in a Foreign Policy essay about contemporary France.

Six paragraphs later, he writes: “Houellebecq’s perspective has grown more nuanced, even admiring.”

It’s not a big deal that Zaretsky didn’t catch it, but where are FP’s editors?

“American universities, he says, have become playpens for empty legacies of the rich; there is no recognition that the historical trend has run in the opposite direction.”

Well, hold on there.

In a wonderful account of Michel Houellebecq’s now-notorious novel, Submission, Adam Gopnik talks also about Éric Zemmour, author of Le Suicide Français, the much-read attack on the contemporary liberal democratic state (“The tenets of [Zemmour’s] faith,” writes Gopnik, “are simple: liberalism, cosmopolitanism, and international finance are the source of all evil. Liberal capitalism is a conspiracy against folk authenticity on behalf of the ‘internationalists,’ the rootless cosmopolitans. The nation is everything, and internationalism is its nemesis. The bankers cosset us with narcotics of their civilization even as they strip us of our culture.”). One of Zemmour’s claims is up there in this post’s headline: Our universities are playpens for the rich.

UD would like to suggest that Gopnik is broadly correct about the historical trend: Our large and often impressive public universities (the University of California system, the University of Texas, the University of Maryland, and others) continue to be powerful engines of social mobility. But many of our best private universities remain to a notable extent wealthy enclaves (so much so in some cases that national attention has been drawn to them), and many of our worst universities are middle class and poor enclaves.

You don’t help the working poor by spawning hundreds of trashy online for-profit schools; you don’t boost the middle class by shunting them into pointless party schools.

At the other end, the weird vacant surfer guy some newspapers have dubbed “the Princeton killer” “went to Buckley School in New York, then moved on to Deerfield Academy and then [one presumes as a legacy admit] Princeton in 2003. But it took Mr. Gilbert two extra years to graduate from college. And since 2009, his friends said, he led a fairly aimless life that involved surfing, yoga, many hours spent at the gym and parties.”

Read all about it.

The bracing air of pure hypocrisy…

… is as rare as it is beautiful.

A University of Vermont professor, who took an academic leave to direct a $540 million development project in Senegal — and funded by the United States — is among the top 100 delinquent taxpayers in Vermont.

Taxes from thee, but not from me; and to make it even better his academic specialty is anti-corruption and building civil societies.

[T]he state Tax Department has sued [Moustapha] Diouf twice in recent years in an effort to get him current with his state taxes.

The first lawsuit settled for $30,320 in November 2011 and required him to pay $50 a month, records show. That would take 50 1/2 years to pay off the agreement, but did not include any interest or penalties that might be imposed. It was to cover income taxes owed from 2002 to 2009, records show.

The state sued again in November 2013 to cover taxes for 2011 and 201[2]. He reached a settlement one month later to cover both cases for $43,428, records show. He agreed to have UVM to start sending the state $500 a month in December 2015 and that would take over seven years to become current, plus interest and penalties.

“We have gone from one bumble and stumble and scandal to another.”

And although things have gotten so squalid at the University of Louisville that some members of the board of trustees have begun to complain, UD trusts that the tightly wound little ball of corruption that is UL will continue to bounce about the collegiate landscape, unobstructed by rationality or responsibility, for a long time to come.

The school people call not the U of L but the U of Smell has for years been one of the great stalwarts of this blog, generating financial, academic, and (of course) athletic scandals with Stakhanovite vigor. An important component of the U of Smell’s success has been absolute control of an absolutely worthless board of trustees, a board of trustees that spends its meetings fiddling while Smell burns. Now suddenly a few serious people on the board are threatening to sweep the BOT’s tinker toys off the conference table; they are “call[ing] for changing the focus of board meetings from ‘ritual and ceremony’ to the ‘business of the university.'”

To which UD says whoa. You are talking about changing a board of trustees whose model has been the imperial family of Japan to a board that functions as a policy-oriented unit. Forget it.

Tadeusz Konwicki, 1926-2015.

I am an individual who is not understood by his fellow men on the Tiber, the Seine, or the Hudson. They may understand faithfully translated major or minor sentences of mine, they may grasp the meaning of a metaphor, flickering moods, but they will not be able to empathize with my fate, or embrace the meaninglessness in my meaning, which will seem to them unrealistic, alien, lacking motivation, and thus completely incomprehensible. They do not understand me because I am a Pole, because I belong to a community spread out along the Vistula River, or rather to a community swarming around a great European river. But the fate of that pack of intelligent beings roaming nomadically beside a wild river, though falling under the biological laws and norms of earth, is a tangled fate, a complicated fate, a fate which causes degeneration, like every misfortune, every calamity. For that reason my daily life, my usual waking thoughts, my despair at night, the chemistry of my brain, and the physical structure of my soul are beyond the understanding of a member of a close-knit, stable, sleepy society suffering from sluggish digestion… [Such a person] finds me guilty of being incomprehensible and I feel ashamed. I explain myself, I beg forgiveness, until the moment finally comes when my patience is exhausted and I say You should thank God that you don’t understand me, and pray every day that you won’t understand me for as long as possible…

NYT obit.

My MOOC just passed…

9,000 students.

Good ol’ Kentucky. Always looking for ways to save money.

[University of Kentucky deputy athletics director DeWayne Peevy said that basketball coach John] Calipari’s $1,550-per-night suite at the Atlantis [in the Bahamas], which totaled $12,400 for the eight-night stay, was booked partly so team meetings could be held there. Peevy said that if Calipari had a regular room, UK would have had to rent out an additional meeting space at added cost.

Voluntary Transfer

A top dean at American University Washington College of Law is venting frustration over the recent exodus of AU students to George Washington University Law School, accusing his nearby rival of engaging in poaching.

“Speaking only for myself and not in my official law school capacity, I view this practice as downright predatory,” Anthony E. Varona, AU’s associate dean for academic affairs, wrote in a recent Facebook post, which was republished at TaxProf Blog on Thursday.

GW law officials deny they’re raiding AU’s student body, but what’s not in dispute is that an unusually large number of AU students are deciding that they’d rather go to GW. In the 2013-14 academic year, 54 students left AU to enroll at GW, according to its most recent disclosure data. Those students represented well more than half of GW’s total reported transfers for that year.

Getting desperate out there.


“It’s pretty striking because American has much lower entrance standards than GW, but what GW is doing is essentially laundering the credentials of their [second-year] class,” Campos said. “The LSAT and the GPAs of those students don’t count against GW’s stats because transfer student stats aren’t part of the calculation of what a school’s GPA and LSAT is.”

Paul Campos sorts through the laundry.

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