UD: NOT living in the Bible Belt.
In front of Black Market Bistro this morning.

‘“People who get in there and are trying to make money on the side: Why bother being a professor?” said Stanton Glantz, a UC San Francisco professor.’

“If you want to be a private doctor, be a private doctor, but if you’re a teacher, be a teacher,” [a university lawyer] said.

Und so weiter. It’s easy to find observers puzzling over the stubborn tendency of people who want to make a lot of money to also want to be professors. From the perspective of high-profile medical researchers who have developed lucrative ties to pharma, continuing to be a shittily paid professor (a few hundred thousand a year, versus millions from sitting on do-nothing corporate boards, pushing sketchy drugs and devices, and receiving all manner of other underhanded forms of payment in exchange for conferring an aura of legitimacy over what pharma does) would seem an obvious waste of time. And yet in many cases you don’t get to that coveted position of legitimacy-aura-conferrer without also first having gathered unto yourself the selfless idealistic purely intellectual aura academia gives you. You have to gird yourself with the symbolic capital of the university before you can generate real capital by passing yourself off as the neutral not-profit-motivated objective evidence-based independent respected expert pharma needs to gain FDA approval for oxycontin.

It’s a kind of Catch-22: You have to keep being a professor for pharma to want to use you as a classy unimpeachable kind of thing; but being a professor is a Real Fat Pain in the Ass. Universities are thrilled you’re bringing in a lot of corporate-sponsored research money, of course; but universities can’t look like the pharma-whore you are. They’ve got that whole… lemme look back over that list I just wrote… that whole selfless idealistic purely bumpadah bumpadah to keep going or they lose their non-profit tax status and a whole lot of other goodies. Universities have to make sure that they don’t look like institutions set up to house the profit-making activities of medical entrepreneurs, so they cook up rules to monitor how much outside money you’re making plus how much time you’re spending doing business off campus. Since many medical faculties are making money hand over fist by moonlighting for pharma, they rather resent the intrusion.

The way they deal with this intrusion is by the simple expedient of ignoring outside income/outside time reporting rules. It’s not as though only a few miscreants do this; chairs of departments do it. At some schools, everybody’s doing it.

Take this guy.

One UC Davis professor of veterinary medicine allegedly ignored the [reporting] requirement. In 2014, the UC Regents sued Dr. Jack Snyder in state court, accusing him of making — and keeping for himself — more than $1 million in unreported income from clinical work and consulting in multiple states, including California, Montana and Hawaii. Snyder, who is known for his expertise in equine surgery and has provided veterinary care for equestrian events at the Summer Olympics, frequently missed scheduled meetings, clinical shifts and laboratory classes without receiving prior approval, the complaint states.

In court documents, Snyder denied the allegations and said the university had not been harmed in any way.

Parker White, a lawyer who represents the university in the pending case, said the university does not discourage faculty from doing work outside the university, but it wants to take the profit incentive out of it. The primary responsibility of veterinary faculty should be their teaching and clinical duties, he said.

“If you want to be a private doctor, be a private doctor, but if you’re a teacher, be a teacher,” White said. “He’s not here showing the students how to be doctors.”

Synder left the university shortly before it filed suit in 2014. Last year, the federal government indicted him for filing false tax returns and tax evasion.


Online Classes: Not Only Skeazy, But Funny!

UD‘s been telling you and telling you that most online classes are trash, trash, trash. Easy to cheat in SO many ways. You can of course pay someone to take them for you. If you do take them, you pretty much learn nothing. It’s a big ol’ ripoff, but no one cares. Students obviously love them; universities make bundles off of them at very small cost. It’s win/win/win/win/win! — if you’re a cynical nihilist, which I guess a lot of people are.

The shabby absurdity of online reveals itself, most recently and most amusingly, in the latest chapter of the endless college admissions scam, which is rapidly filling America’s luxury lockups with our wealthiest amoralists. Karen Littlefair (there’s something wonderfully eighteenth-century-drama about that last name) bought her Georgetown University son out of the bother of actually taking courses by handing Rick Singer thousands of dollars to hire someone to pretend to be the little shit.

Littlefair paid Singer’s college counseling business, known as “The Key,” to have an employee complete online classes in her son’s name, the criminal information states. She ultimately paid Singer’s company about $9,000 in exchange for an employee taking four classes, and Littlefair’s son graduated from Georgetown in May 2018, prosecutors said.

It’s seems so … little fair that sonny boy could be said to have… graduated from Georgetown, a university far too busy dealing with its naughty basketball team, a lawsuit from another Varsity Blues bogus degree holder (Georgetown revoked the degree, but the dude sees no reason why he shouldn’t hit them up with a zillion dollar lawsuit to get it back; and UD is certain wee fair Littlefair Jr. will feel the same way) , fallout from their AMAZING tennis coach, Gordie Ernst, and – UD predicts – their royal-heads-of-Europe scandal) to worry about the legitimacy of some scamster pipsqueak’s degree… But it gets better. I promised some laughs.

One of the classes required video conferences with the professor. Littlefair wrote that her son would be out of the country and that Singer’s employee “should have a stand in for [my son] that is highly briefed.” The Key associate confirmed she would “take care of the meeting” if the son was unavailable by using a “fellow male colleague” to stand in for Littlefair’s son, the documents state.

Littlefair also sent an email asking Singer to do “one more online course” in spring 2018 for credit at Georgetown, and the Key associate then secretly took an online class in her son’s name offered by Arizona State University. The credits were then sent to Georgetown and credited to Littlefair’s son on his academic transcript, the court documents say, helping him graduate.

In April 2018, Singer’s company sent her an invoice for $3,000. She responded that she thought she’d be given a “discount” because the “grade [Key associate 1 earned] was a C and the experience was a nightmare!” according to the criminal information.

Singer replied that he would not discount the invoice because the “process was a nightmare for all.”

Those fucking online courses! Their pathetic efforts to insure that highly paid fakes aren’t taking them for scuzzy people otherwise engaged overseas make them a nightmare for all. And… mes petites! … You gotta admit that when it comes to Thrifty Little Mama Littlefair… Well, allow me to quote Albee’s George: There isn’t an abomination award going that she hasn’t won.

For the next four months, Inmate Littlefair will follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart and shed sweetness and light upon the meth heads in the next cell.


UPDATE: “[Georgetown officials] are now implementing measures to prevent cheating and plagiarism in online courses…” Good luck with that, Jesuit fathers! Why do you think there’s a nationwide industry in online college scams like this one? Tell me how you’re going to prevent cheating and plagiarism? Do you realize that not only students taking online courses, but people hired to give them, cheat? It’s just as easy for some disembodied entity, hired by some school to present a series of screens to students, to fake her identity, ja? Pocket the money – give ten percent of it to some high school grad drudge who’ll actually handle 200 online humanoids for you – and head for Cozumel.

I’m telling you, the whole thing’s trashy. Ask Arizona State University, which specializes in the con and happily passed along one of Littlefair’s bogus courses to Georgetown.

But although it’s a national scandal, it’s far too useful and lucrative for schools and students to give up the racket. Entire football and basketball rosters would be gutted if it weren’t for bogus online courses! Instead, universities will implement all sorts of expensive, real free-thought-enhancing security measures: Mandatory fingerprinting; pinchy devices on the fingers to check your pulse or sweat glands or something … And please stick your head in this facial recognition machine, after which Mr Ness from the FBI wants to ask you a few questions. Breathalyzer, sperm sample, and inner-cheek swab go here.


UPDATE on the Big Daddies of online education, which most universities emulate in their own online programs: the for-profit companies:

“People just laugh in my face.”

Chloe King, an absurdly accomplished GW student…

… with whom UD has been chatting on and off about East Timor as part of prepping her for scholarship interviews, just won a Marshall.

Not that I’ve been to East Timor. While Mr UD was part of the United Nations Transitional Administration there, UD and La Kid stayed on nearby Bali, living it up and entertaining Mr UD when he got time off. Chloe was there more recently, doing environmental work.

Because Mr UD told me a lot about it, I was able to ask Chloe very specific questions about the complex politics of that island. Naturally, she aced them all.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm asks: Was the word “offstage” necessary in this sentence?

Mr. Grigolo also cultivated a rebellious image — “The Bad Boy of Opera” was the name of a short film Bruce Weber made about him for Italian Vanity Fair, and he was known to race motorcycles and drive sports cars offstage.

SOS, over breakfast, said it was unnecessary. Mr UD disagreed: “The word clarifies that he’s not a really, really bad boy. He keeps his sports car driving offstage.”

‘“It’s not even coded antisemitism. It’s not a dog-whistle. He’s saying this. Out loud. To a room full of Jews,” Danya Ruttenberg, an American rabbi and author, wrote on Twitter.’

A Room Full of Jews

(sing it)

A room full of Jews
A room full of Trump:
"I'm getting everyone all pumped
Oh God you fucks
You only care about your bucks
Dear Mister Jew
You will jump
When I say boo

I know you quite well
Don't like you at all
My name is Donald. Donald Trump.
And you're all chumps
I have a lot more left to say
You: Make no sound!
You are lost
I am found"

I was just trying to help her with…

… her chest voice.

“In 2013, … [Gordon] Freedman prescribed [a] patient about 85,427 oxycodone pills — an average of 234 pills per day.”

Why is it that our most assiduous doctors, our physicians most devoted to the well-being of their patients, are the first to go to prison when an oxy-panic breaks out? Why is it that clinicians on the cutting edge, people willing if need be to try fentanyl, people even willing to kill a patient or two, mavericks in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and guilty of honest services wire fraud, are constantly being hounded by the Justice Department and federal prosecutors and judges and juries?

It makes UD angry on behalf of former McKesson CEO John Hammergren, simply a more … ample Gordon Freedman, a man whose company “in 2006 and 2007 … shipped more than 5.66 million opioid pills to a single pharmacy in a tiny town in rural West Virginia.” Quietly retired on his eight hundred million dollars in compensation for a few brief years of stupendous national drug distribution, Hammergren now has to worry that, like Gordon Freedman, he will be punished for his health-care zeal.

Tufts Desacklerizes.

Time to tidy up the place.

Gohmert? UD has a limerick for him, too.

She has already shared with you the limerick she wrote long ago about Jonathan Turley; now that Louis Gohmert has popped up in the impeachment proceedings, UD brings back an old limerick she wrote about his frustrated efforts to have the National Portrait Gallery remove a bust of Margaret Sanger.

A congressman famed for his anger
Wants museums to bust Margaret Sanger.
Their refusal leaves Louie
– At zero for two-y –
To calm himself down with his wanger.

“The usual argument is that athletics makes Eastern [Washington University] more attractive and increases enrollment, and that just hasn’t happened,” [the chair of EWU’s economics department] said, noting that the football stadium is rarely filled to capacity. The athletics department, he said, “is just a big hole that you dump money into.”

It admits virtually everyone who applies; it has a 20% four-year graduation rate. Solution? Spend huge amounts on athletics.

Since everyone’s talking about the legal, uh, situationalist Jonathan Turley…

… for whom lying about consensual sex is way impeachable, but bribing an ally desperate for military aid in a hot war is no way impeachable, UD thought she’d share this limerick she wrote years ago about Turley.

Turley is an avid defender of polygamists.

A colleague of UD‘s named Turley
Wants one boy to have many girlies.
“My thing on polygamy
Makes UD quite sick of me,
And even my wife has turned surly.”

O Lord, Thou Workest in Mysterious Ways.

First in thy wisdom you granted our Georgetown University Jesuit community a tennis coach who bribedeth rich parents over lo! many years for many millions of dollars and draggedeth our name into the mud. Then you sent us Kevin Broadus, a basketball coach, who had fully demonstratedeth his – O Lord – troubling recruiting policy at SUNY Binghamton but thou sentest him to us anyway. It was thy will, and thy will be done.

And now as we enter the Christmas season, amid annual singalong Messiahs and other forms of fervent prayer, we can only watch in despair – but undaunted faith – as three more hotly recruited basketball players rob and threaten students who perhaps came to our school because they are actually serious Catholics.

But what can we do, O Lord? “Despite being served … restraining orders last month, the three men played in Georgetown’s Saturday game against the University of North Carolina.” We can only follow thy will, which is that these three men continue to play basketball for us. Surely in the fullness of time your… sporting… intentions for us will be revealed.

‘Teva Discusses Plans for Diversification of its Business’

Top management is slated to fan out to prisons across the world to promote generics while serving their sentences for bribery, price fixing, and violation of the Controlled Substance Act.

Or… whatever. If you prefer to read an entire article which discusses the incredibly corrupt pharmaceutical giant without once mentioning that they’re in spectacular legal (not to mention financial) trouble, go to this curious publication.

Seven Stanford Coaches, Six Fake Test Takers…

… Five Briberies! Four Bogus Apps…

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE





Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
New York Times

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days.
The Electron Pencil

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