Today I was on campus to have lunch
with a Canadian student getting ready
to start law school at Osgoode Hall;
to pick up a student’s final exam from
Disability Support Services; and to
check out a third student’s photography exhibit.

Here the photographer talks about her project:

An image from the show.

On my way back to the Foggy Bottom metro,
purple irises bloomed between buildings.

The Right Call

Parents have made a number of attempts to sue the universities where their children commit suicide. These suits usually fail, as they usually should.

[T]hough colleges and universities bear some responsibility in protecting their students from harm, “universities are not responsible for monitoring and controlling all aspects of their students’ lives.” A key factor is whether a school or its employees could reasonably anticipate harm coming to the student from the school failing to take steps to protect him or her.

“[Han Duy] Nguyen never communicated by words or actions to any MIT employee that he had stated plans or intentions to commit suicide, and any prior suicide attempts occurred well over a year before matriculation,” the ruling states. “There was no evidence that [his professors, whom he sued] had actual knowledge of Nguyen’s plans or intentions to commit suicide. Both were academics; neither was a trained clinician.”

The Bloom is Off Soros

His Open Society Foundation, under unceasing harassment from Hungary’s paranoid, reactionary government, will leave Budapest and move to Berlin; his Central European University, also based in Budapest and also under unrelenting official harassment, will stay. For now.


Berlin’s gain.


But UD must say… I mean, on the matter of Hungary… On one level she’s forced to admire the belligerent and thoroughgoing regressive approach to global coexistence coming out of that country. It’s the Saudi Arabia of Europe.

“[His dog] must have disabled the safety on the gun in his belly band and stepped on the trigger.”

The only part of this story UD doesn’t believe is the part where this guy, shot in the leg by his dog, has his gun safety on.

A person dumb enough to keep his gun on his belly while at home playing with his dog is far too dumb to figure out how a safety works.

Multiply Einstein by millions of Americans and understand how gun daddies are always killing their babies.


UD thanks dmf.

A disgusting organization with no legitimacy…

… sets itself up as a moral arbiter of Greek soccer fans.

On this side, ladies and gentlemen, FIFA – arguably the world’s current most corrupt high-profile organization – and on the other side, waves of psychotic Athenians. Will FIFA expel the Greeks for their years of gunplay and bloodshed and bombings?

Oh, sweetie. Wake up and smell the money.

UD’s Mother

Mitzi, with one of her award-winning
English Cocker Spaniels.

Bad Day for the NRA

Even red-as-a-baboon’s-butt Oklahoma won’t let you carry unlicensed.

And then there’s the Fuck the NRA ad everyone’s talking about.


And about that fuck. There happens to be a perfectly unprotested, completely legitimate charity called Fuck Cancer.

The NRA is a cancer.

We shouldn’t therefore be surprised to hear citizens saying Fuck the NRA. Lots of Americans have been explicitly saying Fuck the NRA for quite some time – long before this congressional candidate said it in his ad. The same red-hot anger that produces Fuck Cancer produces Fuck the NRA. Both kill a lot of people.

I’m sure the NRA’s new gunrunner president can handle Fuck the NRA. It goes with the territory.

The Intellectually Disabled American University: Washington State

WSU’s athletic department’s deficit ballooned to more than $50 million the past several years [AD Bill Moos] was at the helm, and in 2018, it grew another $9 million…

This is in addition to the university’s $30 million deficit outside of athletics that has already led to budget cuts. Oh, and the school now needs to take on a $30 million project to install a computer system so employees can be paid on time, among other crucial university functions.

… The university tried punching above its weight in the Pac-12 by building a shiny new football operations building and hiring expensive coaches.

… Many are still mourning the loss of the university’s performing arts program due to budget cuts.

They don’t come no dumber than WSU.

Kinky Kinky Kinky KU

You don’t need David Lynch to tell you that it’s always kinkiest in the heartland.

Quotation of the Day

Amanda Petrusich, on the suicide of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison:

Frightened Rabbit was virtuosic when it came to expressing the odd anxieties of an early, hungover morning, when a person wakes up and has to reckon with herself, again — the relentless ennui of being, and being, and being, and being.


Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.

They’re dropping like flies at Herriman High.

Utah has long been one of America’s suicide-friendliest states, and now in just a few short months seven students at a high school there have killed themselves.

Says here parents should lock up their guns! I guess the idea is that if you have simple 100% fatal devices all over every countertop in your house, your moody impulsive fourteen year old might just grab one!

But even if you did go to the trouble of locking up your extensive arsenal, there’s the fact that Utah is also one of America’s friendliest open carry states. UD was there not long ago, and was pretty unnerved to see big ol’ guns bouncing off of people’s jeans while they walked through supermarket parking lots. You figure your moody impulsive fourteen year old might get ideas every day, simply by walking around town. I mean, it’s inspiring.


The statistics are pretty shocking. If there’s ever a Book of Mormon 2, it would need to feature half of the original group of young missionaries going back to Salt Lake City and blowing their heads off.


Fascinating comment thread here. Most commenters put the blame on religion. But there’s this:

If you have a teenager and a gun in your house, choose one and get rid of the other.

Terrific, thoughtful piece in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill student newspaper…

… about the sordid sell-out (“probably the most damaging thing I’ve seen personally”) its curriculum turned out to be in the exposure of its world-famous athletics scandal. The article is, in the words of Roger DeBris, drenched with historical goodies, including the altogether too fine irony of the provost lecturing UD‘s buddy Jay Smith on the ever-so-important business of curricular integrity:

I strongly believe that University leaders can and should maintain oversight over course offerings, which includes the right to participate in individual course selection decisions. [While faculty have the right to teach, investigate and publish freely,] the exercise of these rights should not interfere with the overriding obligation of an institution to offer its students a sound education.

This from the school whose leaders for twenty years oversaw hundreds of totally bogus courses. This by way of explaining why Jay’s course in the history of the scandal and the corruption of university sports generally just… wouldn’t do… wouldn’t be up to the strict intellectual standards of… oh, let Jay say it:

It’s so great. It’s a great irony, that we had such lax oversight for so long, that completely phantom classes just fell off the radar of the dean’s office and were allowed to propagate, and proliferate, for two decades. And that a course that, in part, examines the culture and the mechanisms that made that failure possible, and puts all of it in historical context, is regarded as suspicious.

It’s the Blanche DuBois syndrome down there, y’all. I mean, when you’re a totally broken down ol’ thing and not only do you not know it, but you’re flouncing around all superior-like…

Jeremy Safran, a psychology professor at the New School…

has been murdered in his Brooklyn home, during what police think was a botched robbery.


A hip student hangout at Duke
Plays music that makes us all puke.
You get niggas and bitches
And pistols and snitches
Along with your onions and cuke.

‘It’s safe to say Young Dolph’s music isn’t the best setting [for] a coffee shop…’

Hot New Hiphop notes the incompatibility between lyrics like

I showed her a Xanax, she hurried up and took
I fucked her so good, she got up and started cooking
Rolling up big blunts, out a pound of cookies
If you ain’t got 40 bands, then you can’t book me
Pulled up on the side of your bitch, she wouldn’t stop looking
That bitch good as tooken, good as gone
I guarantee tonight my nigga, that bitch ain’t coming home
I got money to count, I got bitches to fuck
I got packs to flip, pistols to bust

and a public cafe.

One of Duke University’s cafes was playing this song for its customers when a vp of student life walked in, got wind of the pistols bitches and niggas, and took it up with an employee. The woman apologized and turned off the music, but the vp was really pissed and called the store’s management, which fired the woman and another guy who was also working the counter while the Xanax and the fucking so good wafted o’er the air.

The vp says he did not ask for them to be fired; he didn’t apparently ask for anything except for management to note that children and other non-violent, non-misogynistic people enter Duke’s establishment. The firing was management’s call.

UD doesn’t think the workers should have been fired. She does think that the cultural centrality of hiphop – like UD, I’m sure you’ve heard lyrics worse than these in public establishments – makes these incidents inevitable, and that universities need to think about whether this music is a good look for them.


UD thanks dmf.



I’ve been in public places with young kids around and thought, yikes, that song is a lot. I certainly wouldn’t go babysit for friends and throw on Dr. Dre with their 4 year-old. But even if you think the standards should change, the approach of calling out random people helplessly embedded in profane U.S. culture, as if upbraiding them is a righteous project, is not the way forward…

UD (see above) agrees; and yet think of that phrase: helplessly embedded… Really? Does that mean no one employed in a public setting has the capacity/responsibility to reject disgusting lyrics? Are we all helplessly embedded?


Another Update: The shop owner has now apologized for firing the employees. Good move.

The story is going national, which is also good. Attention must eventually be paid to the matter of – quoting from the article above – our helplessness relative to vile lyrics in public spaces.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE





It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
Professor Mondo

There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

You can get your RDA of academic liars, cheats, and greedy frauds at University Diaries. All disciplines, plus athletics.
truffula, commenting at Historiann

Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
Dissent: The Blog

[UD belittles] Mrs. Palin's degree in communications from the University of Idaho...
The Wall Street Journal

Professor Margaret Soltan, blogging at University Diaries... provide[s] an important voice that challenges the status quo.
Lee Skallerup Bessette, Inside Higher Education

[University Diaries offers] the kind of attention to detail in the use of language that makes reading worthwhile.
Sean Dorrance Kelly, Harvard University

Margaret Soltan's ire is a national treasure.
Roland Greene, Stanford University

The irrepressibly to-the-point Margaret Soltan...
Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Margaret Soltan, whose blog lords it over the rest of ours like a benevolent tyrant...
Perplexed with Narrow Passages

Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here...
Outside the Beltway

From Margaret Soltan's excellent coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal comes this tip...
Money Law

University Diaries offers a long-running, focused, and extremely effective critique of the university as we know it.
Anthony Grafton, American Historical Association

The inimitable Margaret Soltan is, as usual, worth reading. ...
Medical Humanities Blog

I awake this morning to find that the excellent Margaret Soltan has linked here and thereby singlehandedly given [this blog] its heaviest traffic...
Ducks and Drakes

As Margaret Soltan, one of the best academic bloggers, points out, pressure is mounting ...
The Bitch Girls

Many of us bloggers worry that we don’t post enough to keep people’s interest: Margaret Soltan posts every day, and I more or less thought she was the gold standard.
Tenured Radical

University Diaries by Margaret Soltan is one of the best windows onto US university life that I know.
Mary Beard, A Don's Life

[University Diaries offers] a broad sense of what's going on in education today, framed by a passionate and knowledgeable reporter.
More magazine, Canada

If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
Notes of a Neophyte