The place has been, for decades, a perfect shitstorm. You name what’s wrong with American universities, and it’s super-wrong with SDSU. Overpaid presidents? SDSU’s last non-interim president was so greedy an outraged state legislature and outraged citizens forced the SDSU trustees to make some changes. Bankrupting themselves through sports? An earlier president seems to have spent his entire term throwing all of the school’s money at a football team that played to empty stadiums. Homicidal fraternities?
Ah. Homicidal fraternities. Ever since an arsenal of big guns and a cache of big drugs were discovered at its frats (six were involved in a 2008 conspiracy so extensive and professional as to draw the involvement of the DEA) SDSU has held the distinction of being the site of one of our nation’s largest college drug busts. The conspiracy began to fall apart with the death of a student from a cocaine overdose…
… Which might explain why yesterday, in the wake of another frat-related death – he was a wee freshman who’d just gotten there – SDSU has done something less homicidal schools don’t do after each of their after all pretty routine frat drinking deaths: It has suspended fourteen fraternities.
I mean, fraternities being what they are, a bunch of them at SDSU were already being, er, scrutinized for the distant possibility that something untoward might be happening at them… But now! I mean, if you’re going to start killing nineteen year olds weeks after we’ve taken them from their parents and invited them to come here and study I mean, really!
UPDATE: Suspension: It’s in the air! Washington State University – another ridiculous sports-obsessed school – has also decided that their frats are getting a little much.
The rich-shits-cheating-and-buying-their-kids’-way-into-good-colleges story is old news by now; but turns out it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
[Parents from high schools with large numbers of cheaters] were concerned that colleges would start banning all kids from the tainted high schools as a matter of principle.
It did not help matters when a boy [from one of the most notorious cheater schools] who had been rejected from Georgetown emailed [that school] to say he had been accepted to Harvard and wrote: ‘Fuck you. I’m going to Harvard.’
At a time when there is so much actual injustice around us — third-rate schools, mass incarceration, immigrants dehumanized — it’s bizarre to see student activists inflamed by sushi or valorizing a shoplifter. This is kneejerk liberalism that backfires and damages its own cause.
His son was failing on the SAT, woe-oh
Kid was never getting into USC, woe-oh
No one would have known that today was yet to show
A tragedy, woe-oh… surfin’ tragedy
He’d pay for his kid to keep his head held high, woe-oh
He’d pay a quarter mill… the assistant coach would lie, woe-oh
Little did he know that today was yet to show
A tragedy, woe-oh… surfin’ tragedy
Skilled at surfin’, he was the best
There wasn’t a wave he couldn’t finesse
Rick Singer told him he could do the same
With the bribe ’em into college game
The sun is setting on the Earth today, woe-oh
The tide as it sets seems to say, woe-oh
You should’ve stayed at home
But how could you have known
Your destiny was to be
Surfin’ tragedy, surfin’ tragedy
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. could be talking about Oberlin College. But he’s talking about Harvard’s capitulation to students seemingly unable or unwilling to understand the rights of accused people to legal representation. Sullivan is representing the vile Harvey Weinstein; because of this, students demanded that he be thrown out as faculty dean of one of the school’s residential houses as he made students feel “unsafe.”
Sullivan writes that he is “willing to believe that some students felt unsafe,” but UD ain’t willing. It is beyond pitiable to fear that a vile person’s attorney is going to hurt you, and UD‘s going to go on record believing that any undergraduate woman impressive enough to get into Harvard (assuming she got in legitimately…) simply can’t be that pitiable. UD does these trembling babes the honor of assuming that their real motive is to keep national attention focused on the issue of sexual abuse, and they saw an opportunity here.
… UD thinks a little caution is in order.
But this is America, land of the bold, where mere undergrads majoring in biology can open ponzi schemes and use them to finance the Vegas strip club lifestyle one associates with people in their thirties at least.
The scheme – call it a kedge fund – couldn’t have worked without a supportive community of drunks/the mentally challenged/fellow criminals. It takes a village.
… beachy municipalities with wall to wall bars and little law enforcement attract really big vicious crowds. As one traditional spring break town after another says enough to the carnage, larger and larger groups of drunk fucks concentrate in smaller and smaller spaces, to the point where South Beach, and the handful of other still-certified SB locations, are absolutely choked with traffic jams police stops drugs guns fights biker gangs and open-air rapes for as long as two months. Residents seem to think this isn’t the best way to welcome in the spring, and even the merchants who in the past haven’t minded the grossness because it brings in so much cash have begun to respond to the city council’s pleas that they close up early or stop feeding infinite liquor to everyone who shows up or whatever.
UD wonders, though. Bestiality will have its way, and our enterprising country should be able to produce one or two cities/towns willing to make a name for themselves as crapulous destinations of last resort. I’m putting my money on Myrtle Beach.
… and there’s finally a heroine! – is Olivia Jade Giannulli, who has been honest from the start about the pointlessness of college for a subset of Americans. Have you ever bothered checking how many successful actors and actresses have even attended college? These are people who start auditioning while they’re young and just keep going, and it’s clear that Olivia – a product of Hollywood – is one of them. Sans blague, UD finds this tweet of hers incredibly to the point, canny, and worthy of immortality.
it’s so hard to try in school when you don’t care about anything you’re learning
She is absolutely correct. The reason Olivia’s folks are doing the perp walk right now is that you don’t get to raise people who don’t care about what colleges teach and then desperately try to get them to commit years of their life to colleges. That way lies admissions-fraud. People who attack Olivia as ignorant for writing things like this are quite mistaken.
Do you think that because UD runs a blog about universities she thinks everyone should go to one? Just the opposite. As Olivia says of her wildly successful parents: “Mostly my parents really wanted me to go because both of them didn’t go to college… I think they did fine.” Virtually no one in her world goes to college – check it out if you don’t believe me — check out your favorite star’s bio — and though maybe some of them might in theory get something out of it, that’s just the way it is. Hollywood is otherwise engaged, and in fact it’s pretty common for likely screen stars to drop out of high school. Big-time athletes and actors are on fast tracks; athletes forced by silly rules to be in college for a year or two are, many of them, joke students. College is kind of an absurdity for lots of types of people.
Olivia is acutely aware that her Hollywood ma and pa forced her to go to college for social and sentimental, rather than intellectual, reasons. She rightly resents having to cool her jets for four years (or more! if she really intends to graduate) as she gets older while barely pubescent competitors strut their stuff.
So don’t give Olivia a hard time for being spoiled and taking up some striving brilliant first-generation immigrant’s place at USC; she’s been quite clear that she doesn’t want to be there and that the striving immigrant is more than welcome to help her engineer her escape (it can’t come soon enough!).
A Time magazine columnist agrees with UD that sadistic male cults should be restricted to heavily policed ‘ultras’ football arenas and trailer parks for bikers. Not a good fit with universities.
Becoming kinder, safer places would do such violence to their legacy that it would mean altering their organizations beyond recognition.
And that in itself would be a cruelty.
UD quoted this University of Iowa student’s comment – to a policeman – in an earlier post (the policeman was trying to remind the fraternity member that in the wake of more than ordinary frat-carnage, Iowa fraternities weren’t allowed to put on private drinking events, even though some brazenly continue to do this) because it’s so pithy a summary of the fraternity/sorority situation at many American universities (“the party school is itself a business.”). As UD has often pointed out, the routine response of schools to routine death and near-death at their frats is temporary shut-down of this or that group, or totally ignored sanctions. This article looks at the problem in depth.
… trying not to stare at the Greek letters branded into the arm of a fellow student across from her at a seminar table. What could this degrading mark mean?
UD had much to learn about fraternities.
Sororities too. In the wake of a mentally unstable Northwestern university coed’s suicide, her mother is suing her sorority, and anyone else within a ten-mile range of the place, for neglect, wrongful death, etc. Turns out sororities and fraternities degrade, humiliate, and otherwise torture people who want to join them. Who knew?
UD does not wish to sound unfeeling. But this lawsuit will fail precisely because everyone knows that these organizations are the most perilously perverted locations you can find outside the pages of The Story of O. Enter them at your own risk. If masochism ain’t your thing, avoid them; and certainly if you have a history of mental fragility, avoid them like the plague.
Lots of people like to be hurt or are willing to be hurt in order to be included in a group; but lots of other people have more self-respect than this. And then there’s the category at hand: Some people aren’t emotionally strong enough to undergo protracted torture. You can’t expect the sorority to notice this. On the contrary, sororities often represent a group of women salivating at the spectacle of other peoples’ distress. If I’m not making this explicit enough: They like this kind of thing.
So who’s to blame? NU doesn’t blame the sorority. Sure, the school has suspended them for a decent interval (all schools temporarily suspend on the occasion of pledgedeath), but the place will be up and torturing again in no time. Universities typically consider fraternity carnage the price of doing business. ‘”Kids have died, the university didn’t do sh*t, I’m not really worried,” [a] police officer recalled a 23-year-old [University of Iowa fraternity member] saying [to him].’
As with most suicides, “blame” is not only hard to assign; it’s hard even to invoke as a relevant category. The lawsuit will fizzle; the only likely outcome is the elevation of the sorority’s status: That’s the place where a pledge killed herself.
UD thanks Dirk for the Iowa link.
Surely you didn’t expect UD to be optimistic about a recent uptick in legal and other efforts to keep the lads from killing each other. The lawyer quoted in my headline notes the problem: No adults in the room.
The study goes on to note that despite a schedule mainly devoted to drinking, hazing, parties, football, basketball, and lacrosse, fraternity guys go on to do pretty well in the world.
And I mean duh.
If I may quote myself. San Diego State gives off the same hopeless pointless stew of corruption vibes that University of Louisville does – and what’s most interesting is that these schools probably always will be like this. Whether it’s Piero Anversa or a fraternity just taken off suspension and just put back on suspension for being irremediably violent, nothing gets done because the people in charge are cynical greedy party-school-modelers.
You know – recall what the West Virginia University professor who studies the phenom up close — really up close — wrote:
Many residential universities, such as the so-called party schools … have become so well-known for their super-charged party environments that it would be very difficult to change the culture without negatively impacting enrollments that are now dependent upon the lure of this party scene. Moreover, many of the disruptive behaviors that I document in the book (e.g., burning couches, riots) have become “traditions” for both current students and alumni. As such, traditions are very difficult to change.
[People who live in bad neighborhoods] feel terrorized, they change their routines to avoid certain streets, they don’t leave their homes at night. In many college towns, residents are beginning to experience similar problems (albeit less life-threatening) as a result of a minority of extreme partiers who make life uninhabitable [I think Weiss is conflating two phrases here: life unendurable and neighborhoods uninhabitable.] for their neighbors.
While it is easy to see why bar and club owners are reluctant to eliminate drink specials or other promotions – after all, they make their profits from student drinking – it is more difficult to understand why university administrators, police and local town officials have not been more effective in reducing some of the problems caused by the party subculture. In the long run, it really boils down to a rather controversial reality: the party school is itself a business, and alcohol is part of the business model. Schools lure students to attend their schools with the promise of sports, other leisure activities and overall fun. Part of this fun, whether schools like it or not, is drinking. Thus, even as university officials want to keep students safe, they also need to keep their consumers happy. This means letting the alcohol industry do what it does best – sell liquor.
That’s why SDSU keeps suspending and suspending and suspending a criminal enterprise: You’re talking about a big chunk of their yearly enrollment!
Let’s just not have any bullshit about it, okay? Administrators get millions and students get maimed. End of story that will never end.