Is it the University of North Georgia…

or the Wynn Resorts board?

Wow. Killing Fields City.

Sitting at my desk writing a lecture about Blood Meridian, I just watched, from my front windows, an enormous hawk stand on my post and rail fence and look for a few minutes at the half-eaten body of a rabbit that I earlier this morning watched a crow pick at.

That was certainly a long sentence.

Let’s rewrite it McCarthy-style (the hawk has since descended, picked up the body in its claws, and taken it halfway up an adjacent tree).

She wrote the lecture and looked out of the window and a hawk was there and it watched the body of the crow-picked rabbit and looked around itself and then it floated down and lifted the dead rabbit in its talons and took it up to a tree and began to eat.


(Looked like this. Without the snow. Plus maybe that’s a squirrel.)

Now that we’re paying attention to fraternities as a system, and not as occasional freak show newspaper articles…

… it was inevitable that organized body counts begin to appear. Here’s one. With a nice photo.

Snapshots from Galway


In the space of three days, La Kid
went from San Diego to DC, and
then from DC to Galway, Ireland.

She’s there now, with her man.

Veritas et Phobias

I’m old enough to remember a time when college students objected to providing a platform to certain speakers because they were deemed politically unacceptable. Now students worry whether acts of speech or pieces of writing may put them in emotional peril… [W]hile keeping college-level discussions “safe” may feel good to the hypersensitive, it’s bad for them and for everyone else. People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled.

America to Kentucky: Bind Up Our Nation’s Wounds!

Be as Philip cutting through The Forest of Thorns and heal the pains of thought!

Our native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with a pale cast of professors. Your state’s universities lead the nation in ruddy red-blooded, black coal’d, athleticism. As it is said:

Among the top seeds in the March Madness NCAA men’s basketball tournament is the University of Louisville. The public university is known nationally for almost nothing except its ability to translate its success on the basketball court into money.

As it is said:

Ladies and gentlemen, sports fans of all demographic ages, Nike jersey and sneaker sizes, your University of Kentucky Wildcats!

Finally, a team without false collegiate pretense, a team that plays on courts stripped of scholastic varnish. Finally, a team fronted by a major university that knows we know that this team now annually has the same relationship to college as pigeons do to stone soldiers standing in town squares.

No team, as politicians vowing partial truths say, is “more transparent.” No team has made it so clear that its full scholarship recruits aren’t “student-athletes,” but assembled to spend seven months using Kentucky as a luxurious basketball facility.

Kentucky, your universities are luxurious basketball facilities. They are almost nothing but sports-revenue generators. You waste barely a spikelet of bluegrass, barely a burp of bourbon, on the weariness, the fever, and the fret, of consciousness. You are the nation’s true Sleeping Beauty.

UD thanks John.

A black Chrysler 300 and a luxury golf cart, or heads will roll!

The brief, bittersweet presidency of Thomas Elzey.

Hawk in the Rain

A red tailed hawk waits. It waits and waits. It sits high up in one of our big old trees, staring down at a tree stump under which a rabbit sits frozen. Ten minutes ago, while Les UDs ate lunch, they were startled by the hawk rushing out of nowhere onto a crazily running around rabbit.

Wait. Hello. There are two hawks up there, roosting in slightly separated trees, staring at the stump.

For the last few weeks I’ve seen hawks flying overhead in our backwoods. I think they may have eaten the squirrel that for hours was madly circling in our driveway yesterday. Animal Control said it had probably been hit by a car and its brains were fried. (Hm. It occurs to me that the squirrel might have been beaned by one of the hawks… My manners are tearing off heads… ) Eventually it circled into the street and died along a curb – these hawks must have dined on that and decided more than ever that chez Soltans was the place to be. Mice, rabbits, and squirrels galore, some of them just lying there dead for the taking.

Its thrilling to see the hawks – they’re massive, beautifully feathered. The current setting – light snow along the trees, broody skies – is positively mythic. But now UD gets to worry about their hitting her upside the head while she’s walking her small (but not too small – I think she’s safe) dog on her property.

“The U of M has sued Weiss to recover its own costs.”

How do you get to this point?

How, in one of America’s more enlightened, compassionate states, do you get to the point where that state’s university sues the grieving mother of a son who killed himself while enrolled in one of that university’s drug trials? That mother, Mary Weiss, did everything humanly possible to try to get a son she knew was too mentally fragile to have given consent to be dosed with a new antipsychotic (they’re almost never really new; they’re slightly fussed with so that manufacturers can charge more) taken out of that trial. But the big money from AstraZeneca was there in the psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota, and the amazingly positive results they needed for their next advertising campaign needed to be delivered, and Weiss’s son would have to play his part.

If Pirandello were writing this tragedy, he’d have titled it Six Characters in Search of Psychotics.

Or … Take the name from a recently released documentary: The Hunting Ground.

Mothers, lock up your children. Pharma’s sniffing around.

The lawsuit that the University of Minnesota initiated against Weiss was about bullying her into dropping her legal efforts against the university. The bullying worked.

What didn’t work was UM’s effort to pretend nothing sordid happened here. More than a few pharma-subsidized university trials are sordid, since there’s big money at stake, as well as pressure to produce the results all that money’s paying for. Things might not be quite as blatantly sordid as Star Scientific and Novartis and Joseph Biederman … The cynical determination to overdiagnose and overmedicate every person in America might not be quite as thunderingly obvious… But, as at the University of Minnesota, the deal was pretty clear to anyone able to see.

Now that the Minnesota state auditor has discovered what anyone able to see could see, that university has a big, big problem.

Here at University Diaries, we don’t cover diploma mill grads unless these people are outstanding, extensive, users of diploma mills…

… and unless these same people have achieved high-level jobs in education and related fields.

Cindy Holguin, CEO of a New Mexico charter school, seems more than amply to fit the bill:

Holguin is … fighting back against allegations regarding her qualifications to lead the school as CEO.

[D]egrees held by Holguin from Belford University, … a proven diploma scam, [are] invalid and did not meet standards set by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Holguin told the Current-Argus the only degree she used in applying for her position was an associate’s degree obtained from the Carlsbad campus of New Mexico State University in 1995.

The university was unable to find a record of that degree when requested by the Current-Argus.

In addition, Holguin said she has an MBA from New York State University Online from 2007.

Holguin said she would not cite her degrees from Belford University, saying those were not degrees she was “proud of.”

The I didn’t cite them or We didn’t use them in assessing her qualifications for the job are classic diploma mill-revelation moves… Yes, yes, she got two PhDs from East Ipswich Institute of Holistic Theology… But those are totally irrelevant to her work as superintendent of schools, so they don’t count… I got those degrees when I was a single mother subsisting on dog food and I was desperate…

But Holguin, if these reports are accurate, goes way beyond that. According to my count, she’s got at least four degrees, and it’s possible that none of them exists. I’ve never heard of New York State University Online. New Mexico State University has never heard of Cindy Holguin. And for all we know, there are several other degrees she’s not proud of and doesn’t list for certain jobs…

This is one of the most impressive diploma mill hauls UD has seen, and she’s seen a lot. She has speculated on this blog before about how this happens – how you accumulate not one or two but four or five bogus degrees. Her theory is that once you enter the twilight zone, the outer limits, of university degrees, you are in danger of being lured even deeper into the universe. Why stop at Calaspia when you can take your spaceship to Deltora and then Eternia?

“[W]hat happened at SU does not require one minute of Congressional time.”

If this gross miscarriage of justice doesn’t require the concerted attention of our elected representatives, I don’t know what does. UD would like to know what the commenter quoted in my headline thinks is an important use of our government’s time. Here you’ve got one of our nation’s great men, a great coach, dragged through the mud by some rogue organization…

Representative Katko is worried that Syracuse University’s fate raises “serious concerns that the NCAA standards are not applied in a uniform fashion nationwide.” Since virtually all big-time sports programs do what SU does, UD agrees with the congressman; but he needs to think about the logistical problems involved in suspending or shutting down all of America’s competitive basketball and football programs. To say nothing of what this will do to national morale.

Welsh Leak

Proud national emblem!

Beware, My Foolish Heart!

Yet another I Do But I Don’t true confession.

The lads are up to their pupiks in heartbreak.

When will it end.

The Zoning Board Responds Compassionately to …

… a hardship.

“Remember the mission of the university. Though that may differ slightly depending on whom you ask, we must make academics the foremost priority at OU. This is not accomplished by diverting the largest portion of the general fee to pay for six-figure coaching salaries while graduate students struggle to pay rent.”

Beautifully written, a model of reasoned concision.

But, at a school like Ohio University, ornamental only. Geisha-prose.

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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

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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.
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University Diaries by Margaret Soltan is one of the best windows onto US university life that I know.
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More magazine, Canada

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